Last week, Drew students living in the suites got an email announcing that they would be fined for the fees being imposed on Drew University from the recycling center for excessive trash after every pickup. All these fees, as noted by the email, would be added to student accounts accordingly. Also stated in the email, the fee imposed on Drew is $88 a pick-up, and Drew already paid $1,056 in contamination fees during the Fall 2019 semester. To be fair, this fee would likely be only a few added dollars if not simple cents for each student. Still, this type of decision concerns me as it can start a domino effect of Drew forcing its students to pay for actions which may not even be their individual faults, which isn’t right. Furthermore, it shows how Drew is disconnected from the student body, some of whose financial budgets could be affected by this decision.
PHOTO COURTESY OF DREW UNIVERSITY
Look, I am very lucky to have a strong financial aid package from Drew, but I still work 30 hours a week in addition to being a full time student. The money that I make should not keep going into Drew University, which already gets thousands of dollars a year, each year, and millions from its students. Students already give so much money, and Drew has money in its pockets; why are students always the ones that have to take money out of their pockets rather than a multi-million dollar institution? How is that fair, especially to students for whom added fees may greatly hurt their bank account?
Don’t get me wrong, recycling is super important and needs to be a priority for all, but my suite works hard to keep up-to-date with what is recyclable and what is not. How is it fair to punish us for other people’s mistakes? And to Drew’s administration, which holds millions of dollars in its bank account, a few dollars here and there to pay for those fees doesn’t seem like a lot, but to hardworking students who already give so much money to Drew and have other financial burdens, it could mean a lot. What this decision shows is how elitist Drew is and how disconnected it is with its students.
A few months ago, I wrote an opinion piece explaining how Drew University paid almost $200,000 for Joe Biden to come speak to the Drew community and how that money could be better spent for other speakers or in other ways. Along the lines of speakers, most speakers for this year coming to Drew are white, old men who most college students can’t connect with or do not have interest in learning from. Drew University's student body isn’t a rich, white school; we are diverse on so many backgrounds and the administration hasn’t been able to see that.
Adding fees every time there is a mess up in recycling or natural disaster or dirty bathroom is incredibly unfair to hardworking students like me who pay their dues and who already work incredibly hard. Drew University has already taken money from me, why do they need more?
Ellie is a junior International Relations major with a minor in history.