For the third year in a row, the Senior Class Council will likely be forced to raise additional funds for Senior Week in May.
The exact amount remains undisclosed since the council is still calculating expenses. Last year's Senior Week cost approximately $50,000; the current senior class has roughly $20,000 at its disposal. The past two classes have charged up to $60 per student.
Senior Class President Christian Adams said that while many seniors are irked, it's extremely difficult to save enough money for senior week without sacrificing other activities throughout the rest of the year.
Each Class Council gets $15 per student per semester through junior year, and $30 per student per semester senior year. The total ends up coming out to around $14,000 each of the first three years and $28,000 senior year.
"The money that you get from each person in your class is enough—it doesn't need to be more, in terms of class dues—but if you don't spend any of that money, almost literally any of it, then you'll have enough for senior week," Adams said.
"But people want programming, people want gifts. It adds up, and you have to ask for money," he added.
Senior expenditures have included events at Sea Dogs, a pub night, a hip hop concert, sweatshirts, and the Junior-Senior Ball.
"I'm happy with the events we've done. I don't think we've wasted money," Adams said.
While the Classes of 2007 and 2008 were in similar positions, and were similarly forced to charge a fee, younger classes appear to be scaling back expenses.
Junior Vice President Francis Huynh says his class has saved about $13,000, and estimated the cost of senior week to total $30,000. Huynh noted that, in addition to gifts and events, each Class Council must contribute up to $2,000 to support Ivies Weekend. Class Councils are also responsible for smaller grants to campus organizations in need.
Sophomore Treasurer Kyle Dempsey reports having saved $4,000 to $5,000 from last year, and is even more optimistic about this year.
"We're in much better shape than all the past classes," said Dempsey. "Very, very much so."
Dempsey said that a class officer's connection to an apparel manufacturer saved the sophomore class between $3,000 and $4,000 on sweatpants alone. Still, Dempsey pointed out that the Class Council account balance lags a month or two behind actual spending, making it difficult for even the councils themselves to keep real-time tabs on their money.
"It's always kind of ebbing and flowing," he said.
First Year Treasurer Emma Nathaniel predicts a year-end surplus of $5,000. So far, the First Year Class Council has spent $400 on a pub night, while anticipates spending $600 on a semi-formal dance and $6,000 on t-shirts.
Adams said the refocusing of funds is a trade-off.
"I think that's a choice you can make," he said. "You can try to get to the end and not have spent any money the rest of the time, but then you're left asking yourself, 'What did I provide while you were here, instead of the last week before you left for good?'" he said.
Nathaniel said she was aware of the risks. "We don't want to not do anything now because we're only worried about senior week," she said.
Meanwhile, some students from all classes don't appear to have a good sense of where the money is going.
"I have no idea what my class spends money on, except for class gifts," said Jessica Lian '09.
"At present I am completely unaware of any form or kind of expenditure by our Class Council," Alex Jacobs '12 said. "However, I would be greatly interested to learn what we're actually spending our money on."
That desire seems widespread, and the Class Councils appear to understand. The Sophomore and Junior Class Councils are both in the process of building Web sites to improve transparency, communication, and understanding of where students' money is going.
"It'll have an ongoing blog about what we're doing," explained Sophomore Class President Houston Kraft. "It'll have bios on us, bios on people in the class, pictures from the events that we do, and funds."
Adams, though, cautioned that a Web site might not be successful. As Sophomore President, he tried the same thing, but with little success.
"The only people at Bowdoin who care about student government are the people who are on student government," he said.
"It's a lot of money until you're dealing with a lot of people. It's amazing how that money doesn't go nearly as far as you think it might."