Time to reform SDC: SDC Buggy needs to be separated
You?ve seen its name on everything from pool tables to movies, from vehicles to posters. It?s everywhere; its visibility extends all the way from the Oakland apartments to the Hill residences.
No, not Microsoft, even if its chief software architect did just give the University a pretty sum of cool cash. This is another ubiquitous group with its hand in just about everything: Student Dormitory Council, or SDC.
SDC is a group with a mission: ?to help residents enjoy a positive community experience at Carnegie Mellon.? It strives to represent residents? interests to the administration, to promote opportunities for dorm life, and to generally provide a student-led oversight group in a metacurricular setting.
However, while its presence on campus is an overwhelmingly positive one, some aspects of this organization are causes for great concern, namely its heavy funding of unrelated activities and its relative lack of accountability.
When Carnival season rolls around, countless organizations get involved by building booths on the midway and entering buggies in Sweepstakes. SDC, in a position to provide assistance to residents across campus, helps out bundles here: its booth committee exists to provide funding for blitz booths put up by members of the residential community.
One would expect that, in a similar vein, SDC would work to sponsor residential entries in Sweepstakes, but alas, it is not the case. SDC enters its own buggy team every year, often with good results.
It is true that buggies take years of research to build and tune and that teams take years to train and work together. It is also true that Sweepstakes is an event that provides a tangible benefit to the residents of the Housing community.
SDC, however, sets themselves up with an unfair advantage; not only do they have a huge recruiting presence in the dorms, but they also have a huge budget from which to pool resources.
Fraternities and independent organizations all receive equal subsidies for Booth and for Buggy. SDC receives the same amount of Buggy money, but also gets other funds that can easily be redirected. No other organization can match this funding. Furthermore, their subsidy is much more loosely controlled, as it comes not from the Joint Funding Committee but from the dorm fee that every on-campus resident pays.
SDC Buggy needs to be continually checked and balanced by the extant infrastructure in student government; its budget needs to be separate from SDC?s main budget. AB already does this without major detriment to the organization; this is the only realistic way to ensure equality of opportunity for all of the entrants in the annual Carnival event.
Furthermore, the subsidy that SDC doles out for programs around campus needs to have more oversight.
Historically, SDC was a true council of student representatives of the dormitories; houses would all have their say, and the parliamentary procedure under which the organization operates would work out the true needs of the campus community.
Today, SDC General Body meetings only exist to rubber-stamp funding motions. The number of voting members at a given meeting generally hovers around a dozen, and few enough requests for money exist that SDC can easily match funds for anybody that asks.
Carnegie Mellon students need to get further involved in the group that oversees their own living spaces. SDC exists to make the residential experience better, and it only grows more effective as more students and student groups utilize this amazingly powerful resource.