The Minerva House System begins with a budget of $258,000 divided between seven houses for staffing, fellowships and events.
Each Union student contributes $120 from tuition payments to fund the Minerva Program.
Approximately two-thirds of the total budget is saved for student-led Minerva Councils to organize events. Each house is given an average allocation of $26,000 per year.
During the 2012-2013 academic year, the Minerva System held 532 events, approximately two to three events per house per week.
According to the Minerva Program Assessment for the 2013-2014 academic year, 83 percent of these events had an intellectual or cultural component, while the rest were purely social events. This was a sharp decrease in the amount of social events compared to years past.
The assessment raises concerns over the imbalance of academic Minerva events over social ones. The Minerva Program has a “parallel mission to improve social life on campus,” and aims to enhance both academics and student life.
Co-Chair of Wold CouncilSteven Maksymowych ’18 said in response to this assessment, “I am not surprised at this statement, since the Minerva Program was originally founded to enhance academic life at Union. I personally would like to have more social events.”
Ryan Asselin ’16 agrees that there is disconnect between campus life and Minerva Houses.
He says, “The Minerva System continually faces the challenge of integrating the campus community. However, aside from a few of the large, annual events, events are only attended by small niches of students.”
He continued, “The Minerva System needs reform in its financial inspection process, so that events better everyone and not just isolated groups.”
The Minerva Program does not just use its budget for events, but also to fund fellowships and leadership opportunities.
Every year, each Minerva House sponsors a Minerva Fellow to go abroad to practice social entrepreneurship in a developing nation.
Maksymowych said, “The Minerva System can’t be judged solely by monetary value. It provides leadership opportunities for many students.”
The 2013-2014 assessment states that overall, funding for the Minerva Program has contributed to academic life, faculty involvement and student learning outside of the classroom.