The lowdown on EUSA’s new policy.
As of Freshers’ 2013, EUSA will be introducing a new policy, where students who are interested in joining a society will be unable to pay using cash. Instead, they will need to take the society’s details and go to the box office to pay by card. The card system already exists as an option; the new policy bans paying with cash.
This is being done to ‘protect’ first years from spending too much on societies, the idea being that people join societies without thinking and pay a lot of money for things they never go to. The box office system means they will only sign up for societies they’re sure about.
However, trying out multiple societies is fun and necessary for finding out which you’d like to stay involved with. People don’t know which societies they’ll stick with until they’ve tried out multiple events at multiple societies. The new system discourages this. It’s also a little patronising to suggest that people aren’t intelligent enough to make their own decisions about how much they spend.
The scheme is also meant to simplify admin. However, this is more than offset by the cost. Self-funded societies get most of their revenue from selling membership, and the majority of memberships are sold during Freshers’ Week. If payments have to go through the box office, this will drastically deplete societies’ finances.
Part of what makes societies valuable is that they are able to put on unique events, which are inevitably costly. A large drop in revenue would curtail events, or force societies into unsustainable debt, leading to bailouts at EUSA’s expense. It’s worth noting that many societies have trouble avoiding deficits already.
Besides financial issues, this excessively intervenes in society management. EUSA’s societies brief is to provide support, not to interfere unnecessarily.