From the Cult: Dear AMS, please waste more money

Inflation. Deficit. Fiscal quarter. 

Terms like these are always on the minds of AMS Finance Committee members. Heading it all is the VP finance, an elected executive in the AMS who does money stuff, according to my 50 hours of research. But what does that mean for students? 

One notable action from AMS finances this year was making fee opt-outs digital and more straightforward, letting you keep a whopping $24.86 if you choose not to fund resource groups and other organizations on campus (including The Ubyssey). 

Sure, resource groups have had to scale back the advocacy and support they provide for students, and sure, $24.86 is just a tiny fraction of the $773.84 in total AMS student fees for everything from health care to athletics. But after buying a laptop in AMS fees you can save enough for three items from Blue Chip — I’m thinking turkey sandwich, T-Bird muffin, 16 oz matcha latte, tax and tip. Or 24.86 per cent of something that costs $100. (Or even $24.86 worth of lipstick for a pig.) The sky's the limit (for everyone besides the groups affected, whose skies have become pretty limited).

This year’s VP finance has tried for a money-conscious streak, despite the finance office going over their allocated budget.

In the words of ABBA, “Money, money, money / Must be funny.” But, truthfully, it’s not. It’s very serious. And as much as the AMS Finance Committee does, and IDK they probably do a lot I guess, they’ve completely ignored a massive issue with the AMS’s budget and how it affects student life.

The anticipated budgetary deficit for the 2023/24 academic year was $738,766. Lots of missing cash, sure, but that’s not the main problem here. The real issue is that $738,766 is a mouthful.

Just say it. Seven hundred thirty eight-thousand seven hundred and sixty-six dollars. Now, say this: one million dollars. Doesn’t it feel like your quality of life as a student has improved because you didn’t have to say, like, nine whole words? This is why I propose a new plan: make the deficit for the 2024/25 school year a nice number like $1,000,000. This way, we normal students can comfortably talk about finances without basic numerical literacy.

Naysayers may say the solution is to eliminate the deficit altogether, which the AMS is supposedly already working on — ok, nerds. But we need to be realistic. Inflation is inflating. Costs and debt are both on the rise, and we can’t solve money without increasing interest rates and lowering the prices of bonds, but I’m already too interested and don’t want to buy a British secret agent — it just wouldn’t work. Instead of lifting ourselves out of debt, the proven solution is to just dig a little bit more to make the hole more aesthetic. 

In order to put this plan into action, the AMS would need more expenses or fewer sources of revenue. But the AMS stands for student experience (maybe, I’m still not sure). Student opinions should be considered while determining what frivolous places their money goes, so we found some people on campus and asked them how they would deplete the multi-million dollar AMS budget.

Fourth-year economics student Milton Friedman-Friedman wants more complimentary items. 

“Free waffle makers please. You can make so many things — here, look at this picture of a waffle lasagne,” said Friedman-Friedman before pulling up a photo that can only be described as a crime against breakfast foods. “Oh, and this beef-filled banana cream waffle donut.” 

Unfortunately, I was unable to conclude the interview as I ran away.

“So I figure students need guidance, right? Consider this: fortune cookies at the entrance of each building,” said first-year arts student Econo McCrisis. 

They proposed making the cookies university-specific, with phrases like “Now is the time to reconsider your major” and “You won’t get a virus pirating your textbooks.” McCrisis said this would solve a lot of their problems.

“Well, I think investing more money into student services and lowering the cost of food services is a good thing,” said third-year biology major Burt Toast. “Especially when prices are always going up, we need a union that will advocate for our needs and listen when they’re not being met,” said Toast.

Yeesh. Maybe let’s go back to the waffle makers?

“Definitely a SeaBus. It would be a lot more convenient,” said another student whose name we were unable to obtain because she took off in a sprint.

I don’t know how. I don’t know what. I don’t know who or why. But if there’s one thing I do know, it’s that we've gotta get to that milly.

From the Cult is The Ubyssey’s unofficial AMS Election coverage. For official elections coverage, visit the news section and follow us @UbysseyNews on Twitter.