Service projects should focus on in-state issues

The Student Government Senate should be commended for decreasing the amount of money approved for a two-day Greek service trip to New Orleans. The Senate voted after much debate to decrease the amount given to the service group from $4,000 to $1,500, according to an Oct. 25 Kernel article.

The service group consists of eight members of the Interfraternity Council, eight members of the Panhellenic Council and eight members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council.

The decision to reduce the sum resulted from criticism that it would be unfair to give $4,000 to the all-Greek group. The money comes from student activities funds, yet the opportunity would not be open to students outside the Greek community.

In the future, if similar Greek service activities are in need of funding, they should apply to affiliated Greek organizations. As Sen. Jackie Colgate pointed out in the Kernel article, IFC, the Panhellenic Council and NPHC all have their own operating budgets.

The chosen location of the service project was also a topic of debate.

Sen. Jesse Parrish, one of the sponsors of the proposal, stated in the article that the service project would be more effective in New Orleans, a location where participants would not be distracted by familiar surroundings.

“Who is going to want to go somewhere like Cincinnati, where they could be 45 minutes back with their friends having fun?” Parrish said. “The idea is to get completely away from UK.”

On the contrary, we believe that it is more likely the participants would be distracted by new, unfamiliar territory, especially in a lively city like New Orleans.

Furthermore, while the city of New Orleans is in great need for help, there are also many problems in our own state that have received relatively little attention. The same amount of money spent on the New Orleans trip could be used in-state to make just as significant an impact, and likely a bigger one since the cost of transportation would be dramatically lower.

The desire to aid New Orleans is admirable and the authors of the proposal should be commended for their efforts. But SG was correct to decide that they could not afford giving a larger sum with their limited budget — especially when the opportunity is only open to a limited group of students.