Student athlete stipends:Use the money to get out of the hole

Published on June 1, 2015.
Published on June 1, 2015.

Student athletes at the University of Hawai‘i may start receiving stipends in the fall semester, a move that new Athletics Director David Matlin said will show the department is serious. But, this move will only suck more money out of a department that is expecting an almost $4 million deficit this year.

Deficit in athletics has been a trend seen in 11 of the past 13 years.  Matlin had told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that he is talking to potential donors to contribute sums to help underwrite the stipends, which would help cover the costs of attendance, in addition to looking at marketing and licensing possibilities. If he is talking to potential donors, their money should go into helping the department get out of its deficit.

Falling short

In February, the athletics department released a report that looked at options to help save money. Some options included cutting men’s volleyball, swimming, diving and the coed sailing program. If athletics is in such a bad financial situation, any money going there should be helping it get to a better place.

The department’s accumulated deficit over the past 13 years has totaled approximately $17.5 million. According to the report, the department has long faced a period of revenue shortfall, resulting in revenue that is not sufficient to support its operating costs. The department oversees 20 sports and about 475 student athletes, and yet, according to the report, it’s understaffed to support these sports and athletes.

The report also looked at how costs are expected to rise with new opportunities to spend on student athletes, and offering cost of attendance (COA) stipends is one of them.

 “Not all schools need to adopt, but the reality is this: It’s going to be used against you in recruiting. Coaches are already leery of that,” Ben Jay, previous athletics director, said in a March Ka Leo article. “It’s already tough enough to recruit in Hawai‘i.”

According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser article, nine of the 11 schools in the Mountain West plan to offer COA stipends, and one school has said it won’t offer stipends.

The stipends

A stipend could be almost $4,085 on average, and with 248 scholarship athletes, covering such stipends could cost $1.1 million to $1.2 million if all scholarship athletes received them.

The stipends would go towards helping student athletes with cell phone bills, laundry and transportation costs.

 With the university’s increased tuition rates, stipends for its student athletes could be beneficial. With taking classes and being devoted to their sports, athletes may not have time to take on a job to pay for extra expenses.

However, UH’s student athletes aren’t professionals; they’re students who have decided to commit their time to get an education at UH and play intercollegiate sports.

And although any student could use money to cover expenses associated with attending school, especially in Hawai‘i, many of our athletes — about half of them —  are already on some athletic scholarships. And although they may not be all full-rides, they are still getting paid.

Matlin previously told Ka Leo that this move would be in UH’s best interest, but with its athletics department already in a financial hole, offering stipends may make things worse.


Strategy key to budgeting for food

Published Feb. 23, 2015.
Published Feb. 23, 2015.

College students need to eat, but the food that you purchase can quickly add up in cost. What may help is to budget; plan out how much money you want to spend on food each week or month and stick to this amount.

With a $50 budget, I would stick to preparing your own meals rather than eating out.

With a $100 a week budget, you have more room to buy additional items you see at the store and can even go out to dinner or lunch. Use this money to look for higher-quality foods – especially the meats. You may even be able to make the items you buy last longer, but still, the trick is to strategize.

First, see how much you can afford to set aside for food each time you go to the grocery store. I would recommend going to the store each week, as most produce only lasts that long anyway.

Try starting with a $50 budget for the week. I like to make sure the groceries I buy correlate with eating healthy: proteins, dairy, produce, etc. Go to the store with a plan of what meals you will be making and eating so you don’t buy unnecessary items.

With $50, you have to be cautious — not to mention conservative — about what you buy, because it doesn’t give you much room to add extra items you see at the store. You also want the items you buy to be applicable to different meals and recipes so you get more out of your purchases. For example, if you want to buy chicken, find multiple recipes where you can use the chicken to make sure you use it all up within that week.

Chicken usually costs about $8 for a pack of filets. Typically, one pack should last you a week. Generally, about $10 for meats is a good amount.

Next, I would find some fruits and vegetables that can accompany the chicken in the different recipes. Set a limit for yourself on how much you can spend on these – perhaps $10. You’ll need some food for lunch, so head over to the deli section and get some bread, cheese and deli meat. Set aside about $10 for this, as some deli meats can be a bit pricey. You may also want to eat some easily prepared food such as spaghetti or pasta, and the items needed for these can last a while. Set aside $8 for these.

As for snacks, I would only set aside $8. This means if you want one of the simplest meals to prepare — ramen — you can buy about nine of them.

The rest of your budget can be used for drinks, such as water, juice or milk.

Quick Tips

When looking at packaged foods, compare the cost per volume. For example, for a jar of tomato sauce, one brand could give you a high volume of sauce for an affordable price, rather than a jar that is smaller and cheaper.

Brands don’t matter as much as you think, especially if they’ll be taking more money out of your pocket. The generic brands are often the same quality as the original ones, just a lot cheaper.

If you want to go out for a meal, try to set aside less than $20 so you still have enough to get the groceries you need. If you eat on campus, this money can be used to buy three meals.

When budgeting, it’s important to keep track of your purchases even after you make them. Using a spreadsheet in Google Drive or on Excel will greatly help you see how much you are spending and if you need to cut back in any areas.

Sample $50 grocery list

1. Chicken breast tenders $7.50

2. Broccoli crowns $2.00

3. Asian salad mix $4.00

4. Organic mini carrots $3.00

5. Deli turkey $5.00

6. Bread $4.00

7. Angel hair noodles

(2 boxes at $3.00 each)

8. Tomato sauce $3.50

9. Ramen (9 at about $0.70 each)

10. Soymilk $4

Students express their message again

Published on Sept. 22, 2014.
Published on Sept. 22, 2014.

Written by Noelle Fujii and Meakalia Previch-Liu.

After having their message removed from the front steps of Campus Center the first time, a group of students has once again chalked a message: Fix UH Mānoa.

Students from the campus Graduate Student Organization (GSO), along with  other students, wrote the words (which were determined at the time Ka Leo went to press) Sunday evening in an effort to share their message with the campus community.

“We feel that essentially we need to fix UH Mānoa; we (need) shared governance, we need to fix any barriers to shared governance, we need transparency,” GSO Vice President Rebekah Carroll said in a phone interview. “Faculty, staff, students, we’re the key stakeholders. Particularly students; there are 20,000 of us that administration is responsible to. And being responsible to us means, listening to us, and across college campuses shared governance is a cornerstone to how a campus should be run.”

GSO had chalked its message last Monday night, but it was taken down due to a miscommunication with the overnight crews, according to Carroll.

“We’ve been discussing what happened with (Student Life and Development) SLD. We’ve been in contact with them,” she said. “And then because it was washed down before, obviously, before our reservation, it something much too large to put back up the next morning…. We feel that because it was washed down before 5 a.m. nobody saw it, which means that what we were trying to express and share with the campus community wasn’t seen.”

Sunday’s message will be up for as long as GSO’s reservation of the free speech zone is good for all day, according to Carroll. GSO sought permission from another student organization to keep the sign up through Thursday and it was approved.

The loosely-formed group of students and faculty that wrote the message, according to GSO President Michelle Tigchelaar, shares the name “Fix UH Mānoa.” The group has been trying to improve transparency and accountability and shared governance on the campus.

The first chalking

Bonnyjean Manini, interim director for SLD said at ASUH’s meeting last Wednesday that she was present on the night of the chalking at the recreation center at 9:30 p.m. when the chalking had started. She said she wasn’t aware that GSO was going to be writing “Fix UH Mānoa” in chalk.

“I saw a cluster of the student and full-time employees standing around and I could sense that they were concerned about the chalking,” Manini said. “My immediate response was to go there to support that the chalking not be removed and that student voice be represented in the Campus Center, whether or not we agree or disagree with it as the workers of Student Life and Development.”

She said when GSO left, she let maintenance know about the chalking that had occurred, as work shift changes took place.

“We have people that work 24/7, so there are shift changes that are happening. I called to say, ‘Be sure that shifts will know overnight to not wash down the stairs, to let it stay’,” she said.

Manini added that she contacted GSO as soon as she discovered the chalk washed away in the morning.

“I emailed GSO immediately, the people that I had seen the night before to communicate to let them know,“ Manini said. “They didn’t come to me, I went to them to let them know, ‘I’m sorry, but it was washed out, I’m going to find out what is going on,’ and all yesterday we’ve been in communication by email.”

Manini said there’s no established protocol in SLD’s maintenance unit for chalking.

“… It’s just suppose to be washed down,” she said. “I plan to address this protocol because I feel like that’s where one of the issues is, where they just assume that they have to wash it down immediately to clean up the facilities so that it’s nice, but in this case it caused a real challenge cause the student voice was erased.”

ASUH reacts to first chalking

ASUH senator Martin Nguyen introduced a resolution Sept. 17 condemning the lack of accountability and transparency in response to the chalk incident.

The resolution was not passed at the meeting as many senators wanted numerous amendments. Senators said they wanted a clearer picture of what they were voting on, Nguyen said, and the student body ultimately decided to table the motion until its Oct. 1 general senate meeting.

“We will present a version of the bill, typed and printed out to the senate where they can have a better understanding of what their voting on,” Nguyen said. “From what I feel, everything we needed to talk about in principle was there, it’s just there were a few senators that didn’t understand what they were voting for.”