Youthful USG votes on budget for semester

Written By Sabrina Bodon

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On Monday, the United Student Government (USG) met for the first time to allocate funds this semester. 

The USG Finance Committee presented each club’s initial budget request compared with the amount they would be allocated as determined by the Finance Committee, and was then voted on by the USG legislative body. 

After each club’s budget was individually reviewed and voted on, $34,351 was allocated amongst 36 clubs and organizations. The Honors Student Organization (HSO) took in the highest budget of $1,550 while the PRSSA/AdFed came in at a close second with $1,325. USG’s internal budget rested at $8,400, which brought a total of $42,757 budgeted. 

Prior to the meeting, each club sent a representative, typically their elected treasurer, to a new one-hour USG basic training course implemented this year, where Executive Treasurer Amber Mole went over how to correctly fill out a form and create an “ethical and responsible” budget. 

From there, each club used this knowledge to construct their own budget. Some clubs budgeted for in club events, like the HSO’s Book Club, while others included university wide events like the Black Student Union’s Open Mic Night, Impulse’s Dance-A-Thon, and Point Park University’s Rugby Team. 

After receiving preliminary budgets from each club, the USG Finance Committee went to work for four consecutive days reviewing each club’s specific budget, keeping in mind what an ethical budget would look like. 

“As a chair of the committee, I serve as a financial advisor to make them [the Finance Committee] think: ‘is this an ethical budget cut?,’ ‘how will this event benefit the university as a whole?’” Mole said. 

Presented as a spreadsheet projected at the front of the room, Finance Committee members announced each club, the initial requested amount, and then went through the breakdown of where the money would go according to the specified club. From there, senators could discuss the budget, asking questions regarding the budget, either on dollar amounts or on the club/event’s purpose, and receive answers from club representatives in the room or from other USG members. 

“One thing I commend our senators for doing, and even Senator Mole, was the fact that everybody in USG who had questions about the cuts we were making or if they wanted to get some general information were able to get their questions answered to make informed decisions,” USG President Blaine King said. 

Following discussion, the legislative body voted on specific budget at hand, either in favor, in opposition, or abstaining to vote. Senate members involved in clubs were prohibited in voting on funds retaining to clubs they were a part of and were directed to abstain. 

“I think a lot of people just go through the motions and say yes or no based on popular opinions. I didn’t want to say yes to anything that didn’t follow my own personal beliefs or the beliefs of the students,” Undergraduate Class Representative Jake Berlin said. 

Prior to, and during the meeting, four freshmen elected members joined the legislative body following elections held the week prior and Senator Shayna Mendez was elected as President Pro Tempore. 

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