Student government senators passed a bill increasing SOLO funding 33 percent specifically for weekend events in hopes of encouraging students to stay on campus.
The normal SOLO fund cap is $750. Organizations can be eligible for up to $1,000 in funding. Events must start between noon on Friday and 1 p.m. on Sunday to be eligible. The SOLO committee maintains discretion in determining if the full amount is warranted, according to the bill.
College of Engineering senator Hope Duke said she heard students complain about weekend activity, which inspired her to introduce the bill.
“I heard a freshman complaining on the phone to her mom about how no one stays here on the campus and on the weekends it’s just dead,” Duke said.
University staff are aware of activity levels on campus. Marc Burnett, vice president of student affairs, said in the 40 years he’s been here, things have been the same.
“It can be kind of slim around here on the weekends—this is one way to help alleviate that issue,” Burnett said.
Burnett admits Tech has a reputation as a “suitcase campus,” meaning students typically return home on the weekends. Destiny Fairchild, a child development and family relations major, is a senior who has lived in the same dorm since her freshman year.
“Tech has always been a suitcase campus. When I came here in 2014, I was hoping to live the TV classic campus life and experience things the way a student would on a college campus on TV,” Fairchild said. “However, I came to realization that it was the completely opposite of what I had hoped. The campus was completely empty on the weekends—not a soul to be seen.”
However, this semester seems to be different. Fairchild said there are more cars and students on campus during the weekend.
“ My only assumption is due to the lack of parking, especially with the dorms located in capital quad. People are afraid of losing their parking spaces or being forced to park farther away from their dorms,” Fairchild said.
The perception of Tech being a suitcase campus varies by person.
“I feel it’s only accurate if you make it that way,” Elizabeth Willmore, a sophomore business major, said. “I choose to stay on the weekends, and for me it’s become less of a suitcase college but my first semester freshman year, it definitely was.”
Both Fairchild and Willmore said the new funding incentive should help increase activity.