GSB blows money on private shindigs while slashing your clubs

Elton Wong

From noon today until noon tomorrow, my friend Bryan Nichols and I will be homeless. We will set up camp in front of Parks Library and take donations, all of which will go to People Serving People, a homeless shelter in Minneapolis (

This organization provides shelter for up to 100 families per night, with approximately 60 percent of occupants being children. The mission statement of People Serving People is to create a safe, sober and respectful environment for families, to provide on-site access to community services such as health care, family and children’s activities, and counseling services, and to promote self-sufficiency and responsibility in their residents.

Until last Wednesday, Bryan and I were running for GSB president and vice president, and the campout was going to be one of our publicity stunts. (For our motto, we considered “idiots with a point.”)

At the GSB meeting we attended for potential candidates, we were told that each pair of students running for executive office were allowed to spend $950 on their campaign.

Only half of this money would actually come from the candidates’ pockets, because GSB would reimburse the other half using its funds, and all GSB money comes from students.

Bryan and I didn’t like the idea of taking money from the student body to convince them to vote for us, so we were going to camp out on central campus to raise money for the homeless this week.

The added benefit would be to raise some publicity for our ticket without having to spend anything.

In addition, we planned to do the campout before any of the candidates were actually allowed to campaign.

To our credit, we weren’t going to talk about our platform or even the fact that we were running while doing the fund-raiser.

As it turns out, it’s a conflict of interest to be on GSB and a Daily columnist at the same time, so the whole candidate idea was scrapped.

The campout fund-raiser will go on as planned, though, because it’s a good cause and because it’ll probably be fun too.

At least until the point where we can no longer feel our legs. But until then it’ll be a party.

We were pretty disappointed that we couldn’t run, because we thought we had some good points to make about the way GSB spends student money.

The financing of private campaigns is one example. The next time you see candidates printing out fancy T-shirts or flying colorful banners over campus, remember that you’re paying for half of it before you get too impressed.

It also wouldn’t hurt to keep an eye on the way GSB spends money on itself.

Michael Falk, TV personality and defender of the public interest, has pointed out that GSB recently spent $2,591 in student money to pay for a GSB party.

GSB spent your money on themselves. That is not cool, especially when funding to many worthwhile student organizations was slashed or seriously endangered at the same time this bill was passed.

It seems that the career politician is alive and well at Iowa State.

One of the platforms Bryan and I were going to run on was that we would ban all wasteful GSB spending. No GSB T-shirts, no parties, no “retreats” or similar stuff would be paid for with student money.

We weren’t going to claim reimbursement for our campaign expenses either. The Government of the Student Body is not a greek house, no matter what many members of the GSB clique think.

So I challenge any candidates to make the pledge that Bryan and I were going to make. Promise to end self-indulgent GSB spending once you’re elected, and run a campaign without taking any student money.

Contact me through the Daily and your pledge will be publicized.

In the meantime, everyone please drop by the library today or tomorrow morning and donate generously to help homeless families in Minneapolis.

I mean, it’s really cold up there this time of year. Usually.

Bryan and I also welcome any and all solidarity campers; you can get sleeping bags and air mattresses from outdoor rec in the basement of State Gym.

We see this as an opportunity to show that college students care about more than alcohol and football.

Maybe we’ll have a motto — something like “We may be college students, but at least we can sleep out in the snow like idiots.” Anyway, we hope to see you there. Peace out, yo.

Elton Wong is a junior in biology and philosophy from Ames.