Last weekend I had the fortunate opportunity of attending the Association of Big Ten Students (ABTS) Summer conference at THE Ohio State University. I learned a lot about how other Big Ten student governments are structured and how they govern. This was Wisconsin’s first appearance in many years and the rest of the Big Ten seems quite happy that Wisconsin sent a delegation.
I feel I got a lot out of the trip. I learned about differences in governance from across the Big Ten and also shared ideas about new programs we may be able to implement in Wisconsin. The biggest success was setting in motion plans for a Big Ten lobby week in Washington D.C. Our plans are to flood the hill for a week in the spring with the Association of Big Ten Students lobbying on higher education issues. We also had elections for Executive Director, Assistant Executive Director, and Secretary. The new Executive Director for The Association of Big Ten Students is my good friend, colleague and fellow Badger: Academic Affairs Chair Carl Fergus. I’m excited and honored to have him representing the students of the Big Ten. Cognations Carl!
After what felt to be a successful and productive weekend I left Ohio feeling good and wanted to continue and strengthen this new relationship with the Big Ten. My mind instantly drifted to money and also what types of return on investments we would see. The chart below I think speaks volumes:
|United Council||109,088 dues paying members₁||$160,000 per year in MRF + travel costs|
|United States Student Association||N/A ₂||$25,000 per year|
|Association of Big Ten Students||349,091 undergrad students||2 conferences per year₃|
₁ Includes undergrad and graduate students
₂Information could not be found after repeated attempts of contacting USSA.
₃This year total cost for one conference was about $1000.
The real take away from this data is that ABTS is a cost effective way to interact with many students. This is not to say these should be the only criteria for determining which organizations to work with or prioritize time too. However I still think people should keep it mind.
What is your interpretation of the chart?
Does it change your opinion about the organizations listed?
What should be the next steps with Wisconsin and ABTS?