With the unanimous consent of the DePauw Student Government Executive Board, a compensation proposal has been released that would compensate various members of DSG for their dedication in improving the university experience for all DePauw students.
“The executive board works on so many projects and does a lot of intricate work behind the scenes to help the student body, improve things that concern students and better the university in general, and when these are full time university students at a rigorous school like DePauw, who are devoting their time to making things happen, compensation is a great way to appreciate the work being done and hold the members accountable for their work,” said Erin Mann, the PR director for DePauw Student Government. “There's an expectation of excellence and diligence that comes with a monetary compensation, which is a great way to safe-guard that members of the board are consistently putting their best foot forward.”
The compensations would be in a tiered structure dependent on the time commitment of each student, with the President and Vice President receiving $500 each, the Vice Presidents of Student Life, Academic Life, Community Relations and Allocations receiving $400 each, and Director of Public Relations, Parliamentarian and Secretary receiving $300 each. These members will be paid out of the Student Activity Fee budget, for which the 2016-2017 school years totals approximately $600,000, with $7,000 of this budget going to DSG compensations.
This payment system was decided after considering many other options, including university scholarships, work study eligibility and university stipends, but this option seemed the most optimal, for the other options have significant downsides.
“I feel it is important to have compensation for executive members of DSG to provide a higher level of access,” said Student Body President Craig Carter. The compensation has been long discussed due to the “chronically low retention rate” of DSG members, leading to executive members with little experience due to a lack of previous DSG involvement.This leads to low productivity in meetings, Carter said. The compensation would also bring about opportunities for students from a wider range of socio-economic backgrounds.
“We often have awesome individuals join DSG their freshman or sophomore year only to leave their junior year because of other paid leadership opportunities,” said Katie Kondry, the executive vice president of DSG. “Similarly, we often try to recruit other outstanding students only to have them turn down the opportunity to join DSG because of work study commitments. Many of these students could have been won over if they would have been partially compensated for the hours spent working on items for DSG. Compensation allows us to compete for these students, as their voices are important and we want to ensure that DSG is an opportunity available to any and all DePauw students.”
Another case the members have for enforcing compensation is that the executive board for student media outlets such as The DePauw, WGRE, and D3TV all receive pay for their hard work. While DSG is unique from these organizations, many students choose paid extra-curricular activities over unpaid ones.
It is also unusual for a University not to compensate executive members of their Student Government, given their impact on student life. The American Student Government Association’s website reads, “77% of schools nationwide offer some sort of compensation.”
“Compensating DSG Executives is extremely important to increasing the brand awareness of DSG,” Kondry said. “Student government is an organization deserving of DePauw's best and brightest talent.”