Warren College Student Council (WCSC) spent $30,000 of student fees on a commemorative metal seal, engraving, and bench this year.
The project was installed over the spring break at the top of Warren Mall near the Price Center ATMs. In total, the seal and bench cost $42,000, with WCSC spending $30,000. The Office of the Provost covered the remaining $12,000.
“Warren students aren’t very engaged or excited about their college,” Warren College Council President Ankit Vyas said. “We wanted to give them something where Warren has its own character and personality.”
Warren College Student Council spent winter quarter 2016 brainstorming possible projects, such as Soofa solar benches, a swing set, and college facilities renovations. The seal was initially proposed by former Warren College provost Steve Adler about six years ago, and the Office of the Provost already had a budget, plan, and contractor lined up for the project.
“The Provost office has no role in deciding how Council will use their funds,” current Warren College Provost Emily Roxworthy said. “Previous Warren College Student Councils had expressed the desire to install a seal, but the cost had always been prohibitive. “This time around, the university was able to find a vendor in the Bay Area that could produce the seal for a significantly lower cost, which allowed us to move forward with the project, finally.”
At the beginning of Fall 2015, the council had accumulated approximately $64,500 from previous years’ student fees. Since the funds were collected from the fees of previous students, WCSC believed it was best to find a permanent project instead of investing the money towards the budget spent on current students.
“Back funding is fees from older classes,” former WCSC Director of Marketing Aldrich Quijano said. “We couldn’t spend it on programming because the main goal was a lasting project due to the funds not being current students’ money.”
The council agreed the student fees should go towards a lasting project, but the council was split on which project should be prioritized. Proposals such as a new college center or commuter lockers would have taken extensive collaboration with the UC San Diego Facilities Department and would not benefit a large subset of Warren students.
“Different people had the opinion that this was a meaningless expense.” said Vyas.
However, the council spent $10,000 of back funding in 2015 and $8,000 in 2016 on Warren Live, an event for current students.
“If enough students felt it should [have gone] towards an event, then it [would have gone] towards an event,” said Vyas.
Ultimately, they decided the seal, bench, and engraving would be the best and most straightforward option for a long lasting project.
“The whole debate on where the money should go came down to what the different students viewed as the priority of Warren at the time,” Vyas said.
Warren College was initially set to host a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the installation of the seal and bench during week seven of this quarter, Earl Warren Week, but the event has still yet to happen.
Mo Elew is a staff writer at The Triton.