Despite the struggling economy, the Wesleyan Student Assembly’s (WSA) endowment has continued its upward trend. The WSA endowment, which is funded by the annual Student Activities Fee and is separate from the University’s portfolio, was created three years ago with the long-term goal of ultimately reducing the Student Activities Fee, which costs each student $270 for the 2009-2010 academic year.
According to the Chair of the WSA’s Student Budget Committee (SBC) Charlie Kurose ’10, the fund is invested in four areas: $50,000 is in a bond fund called PIMCO, $40,000 is invested in the Winslow Green Growth Fund, $70,000 is tied to the University’s endowment, and the remaining funds, approximately $40,000, are invested in stocks in the local federal credit union MiddConn.
While most of the MiddConn stocks have yet to mature, one six-month share certificate worth $10,000 matured on Feb. 13, subsequently boosting the WSA endowment.
“We decided that the best thing to do with it was to tie it to the performance of the University,” Kurose said. “The return for the money is the same return that Wesleyan will make in a given financial quarter.”
The funds invested in the Winslow Green Growth Fund and PIMCO have also been successful—they posted returns of 7.85 and 1.36 percent for the fiscal quarter ending in December.
The successful return includes $43,173 left from last year’s SBC budget that the WSA voted to invest in the Winslow Green Growth Fund.
“We’re not going to pretend that we know the ins and outs of investing,” Kurose said. “We got lucky that our gains in one part of our portfolio made up for the loss in other parts of the portfolio.”
While the endowment continues to grow, the WSA has no immediate plans for using the funds.
“We are not planning to use anything in the short term,” said SBC member Aubrey Hamilton ’12. “Ideally we are going to set it aside for long-term goals. In the past, we have invested in things we believe in, like sustainability issues.”
The WSA endowment has been steadily growing while the University’s endowment has followed a rockier path.
“We posted a 0.1-0.2 percent growth in the WSA Endowment from October 2008 to September 2009,” Kurose said. “Once the endowment reaches a certain size, we can start drawing from it and use that money to reduce the activities fee. The goal is to lessen the financial burden on students in the long run.”