USG finalizes club funding appeals, internal budget

Written By Alexander Popichak , USG Beat Writer

Monday afternoon’s United Student Government (USG) meeting was held in a largely empty Lawrence Hall Multipurpose Room.

Five senators and six executive cabinet members convened to discuss budgeting and future initiatives for the governing body. Three senators and the deans of student life and student affairs were absent from the meeting.

Adjusting to previous budget issues, the legislative body approved an internal budget of $13,300. Generally, the USG internal budget is in the neighborhood of $10,000 and accounts for office supplies, executive cabinet stipends and USG-funded programs.

“It is a little bit larger than it has been in the past because of a few things that we were made aware of at the end of the fall semester such as the Playhouse tickets,” USG President Robert Bertha said. “As you know, we supply all the student Playhouse tickets each semester, and that comes out of the budget every semester.”

The budget provides for $4,000 in stipends: $250 for the Graphic Design Coordinator, $500 for each Executive Cabinet Member, $750 for the Vice President and $1,000 for the President. Each stipend is outlined in the USG Constitution.

In addition to stipends, the budget provides $200 for supplies, $2,500 for its Pioneer Community Day program, $600 in SAIL Showdown Prizes, $200 for printing, a $1,200 Club Emergency Fund, $450 for office supplies and $500 for marketing.

The final $3,650 is dedicated to student-driven programs funded by USG including the program that provides free tickets to Pittsburgh Playhouse shows, the bike rental program and the USG-sponsored water cooler on the 8th floor of Lawrence Hall.

In addition to its own budget, the legislative body added $848 to club allocations from requested appeals. USG President Robert Bertha explained at the Jan. 22 meeting that funding was tight, and the Jan. 26 student census finalized the amount of student activities fee money USG had to allocate.

Several of the granted appeals were based off miscommunications between clubs and the finance committee in clubs’ initial funding requests. One such example was the Photography Collective which was funded to attend a conference, but was not granted funding for transportation to the conference.

President Pro-Tempore Hayley Hoffman pointed out that the legislative body was not given a list of appeals proposed by the finance committee prior to the meeting.

In all, nine clubs received additional funding toward events and programs. Three clubs petitioning for additional funding were not granted that funding.

Recording Secretary Hannah Steiner said the student concerns committee did not meet this past week because it did not meet quorum, the minimum number of senators in order to hold a vote. Generally speaking, quorum for a meeting is one more than one half of the total members of a committee. While there is work for the committee, nothing could be passed on to the legislative body without quorum.

The communication committee has begun finalizing its list of student discounts to distribute to the student body. The committee plans to use one of the glass cases on the second floor of Lawrence Hall to display rotating announcements and this list of student discounts.

Senator Matt Bauman said the Pioneer Community Day committee has begun work organizing the yearly volunteer event. Bauman said the committee is reaching out to groups on campus and across the Pittsburgh region to get as much participation as possible.

Title IX coordinator Lib Rosemeyer was initially scheduled to speak to USG, but was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict. The legislative body returns to Student Center 701 next week.