SAM conferences may not be worth expense

NW Staff

Two weeks ago, ASNMU overwhelming voted against spending $456 of student money to send representatives to Ann Arbor to attend a Student Association of Michigan (SAM) conference.

With widespread budget cuts at NMU and little time to consider the large sum of cash being spent, reconsidering spending money on SAM is a move in the right direction for ASNMU.

In theory, SAM is a good idea for Michigan students. The group allows student government representatives the opportunity to network with other schools from all corners of Michigan. It also gives them the chance to represent Northern statewide and make students’ voices heard on a larger stage.

In practice though, things have been working quite differently. With no clear progress being made after each SAM meeting and a budget that is consistently rushed, the question arises: is SAM really worth our time and money at all?


This week, ASNMU members presented a budget for the conference that was significantly less, totaling only $167. But as debate raged about whether or not to spend money on the trip at all, a few representatives considered bypassing the debate entirely by attending the conference through video chat.

While SAM has accomplished little to nothing for the students of Northern, that doesn’t mean we should abandon the organization entirely. By utilizing video conferencing technology, we could show our support for the organization at little to no cost, ensuring that student money isn’t wasted.

As stated by ASNMU president Justin Brugman, there are distinct advantages to attending the conference in person versus through a computer screen. But until SAM proves that it’s more than a bunch of students sitting around and complaining about high tuition rates, we should be wary of spending more on them than necessary.

Being sequestered away from most of the other universities in Michigan, NMU easily runs the risk of falling out of the loop in terms of higher education funding. SAM is an opportunity to make sure our voices are projected throughout the state. But with no tangible benefits as of yet, spending funds on another SAM conference is little more than money down the drain.