Top Hat

Arch Away Union Membership

By Advaith Narayan February 23, 2021

Last week, the Student Senate took one of their most important recent actions and I want to explain what it is and why it is so important.

The Arch disrupted the regular progression of the academic year for juniors and affected how they interacted with their clubs or organizations and carried out their leadership roles. The Union Constitution defines members of the Union as students who have paid the Activity Fee. You must be an Activity Fee-paying member of the Union to stay involved in clubs, hold any leadership roles in the Union, or vote during the Spring Student Government elections.

When facing their away semester, juniors had a choice to make: pay an extra semester’s activity fee to stay involved or be unable to participate for a semester. To continue serving as Vice Grand Marshal during my Arch Away semester during the Fall 2019, I paid the Activity Fee. But paying an extra semester’s activity fee is not a sustainable solution, especially when you look at how the lack of leadership continuity is affecting our Union’s clubs and the financial burden that the Arch is already placing on students. Juniors are often the ones who are taking on larger leadership roles and play a very important role in mentoring younger students. The Arch already placed an extra financial burden on some juniors, so paying an extra activity fee posed yet another unnecessary financial hurdle preventing them from being able to stay involved in Union clubs and organizations.

The Senate’s resolution was based on the fact that the total activity fee amount paid by every student is the same over the course of an academic year. Since non-Arch students are not required to pay an activity fee over the summer to continue virtually engaging in their clubs, we felt that it wasn’t fair to ask the Arch students to pay to stay virtually involved during their away semester. So last week’s resolution grants Arch students all the  privileges of being a member of the Union without requiring them to pay an additional fee. This effort was made in collaboration with the President of the Union, the Union Executive Board, and the Union Administrative Staff. It demonstrates yet another instance of embracing the principles of shared governance within the Student Government.

As Activity Fee-paying members of the Union, Arch students can now not only stay involved in their clubs, but they can also hold positions on student government, and more importantly, vote during the Spring Student Government Elections. This aspect of the change makes it a very timely issue as Grand Marshal week is coming up in about 5 weeks. I encourage you all to keep an eye out for the start of the election season and get involved if you’re interested!

If you have any thoughts or questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at