Point Park’s United Student Government (USG) opened an investigation during its Monday meeting into expanding its monetary footprint.
The resolution, adopted unanimously Monday, is the first step for the legislative body to work with university administrators in re-evaluating what funds USG is given to allocate. According to the resolution, an increase in USG-recognized clubs has sparked the conversation.
“[The] United Student Government begins its investigation to later propose new and updated funding bylaws to better assist the recognized clubs under The United Student Government,” the resolution said in part.
The resolution identifies three “points of interest” the governing body seeks to investigate: evaluating the overall student activities fee distribution, widening the percentage USG is given and amending by-laws to the USG constitution governing how funding is given out.
According to the resolution and the USG constitution, the governing body is given 11 percent of the student activities fee. The rest is divided up among the other organizations Student Affairs supports, including the Campus Activities Board and the student media outlets.
The resolution does not define what “frivolous spending” USG hopes to see “cut,” but Parliamentarian Matt Bauman and Vice President Kaylee Kearns stressed Monday’s measure is an initial step in an investigative process.
“It’s also a response to the number of clubs that are being recognized by USG as well,” Bauman said. “It really does not matter how much is being requested, what does matter is that more and more clubs are being recognized, therefore there needs to be more funds to give out.”
For the last quarter of this school year, USG had $14,000 to divvy up among club requests totaling over $38,000.
In addition to discussing legislation, the legislative body heard from Liz Evans, director of the university library. Evans fielded questions from senators about library hours and the downstairs study spaces.
“We believe that you are customers,” Evans said Monday. “You are paying to be here and we are going to provide you with the best customer service possible.”
Part of that customer service, Evans said, is taking the feedback from the annual library survey seriously. Each year, the library distributes a usage survey to students, faculty and staff to integrate into its plan for the next academic year.
“This year has been a transition year for us because we lost space and we gained space in the basement, and I must say they did a fantastic job with a difficult footprint,” Evans said.
The library’s additional downstairs space added 16 study areas and a presentation room into the library’s physical resources. Evans emphasized the importance of reserving the study spaces. Evans said that patrons not going through the reservation process risk being kicked out of the space if another patron had properly reserved them.
Evans said the library offers a great deal of resources – from reference libraries to “the most amazing collection of Pop-Tarts.” As for what the library does not have, Evans said the library will do everything in its power to find those resources for students.
“We cannot get the scores of the libretti for the scores that you need because the publishers won’t let us,” Evans said, addressing a common question of the library. “We don’t have what you need because the publishers won’t put it in…”
Addressing a common question about library hours, Evans points to usage data as the basis for how the library adjusts its hours.
“The numbers aren’t there [to stay open until midnight on weekdays],” Evans said. “I can’t go to administration and ask for more money to stay open until two, three, in the morning when we don’t have the numbers that were coming between 11 and midnight. I feel for the people that were there.”
The legislative body also discussed this Saturday’s Pioneer Community Day (PCD). According to Bauman, who organized the event, final preparations are underway for the annual volunteer event. As of Monday, more than 60 people have signed up to volunteer for the four organizations USG has partnered with.
Students will work with Light of Life shelter, the Oakcliff Group, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and A Giving Heart.
“It’s a tremendous thing to give back to the community,” Bauman said after the meeting. “It will be a very rewarding experience, plus there is food and free t-shirts.”
During the meeting, Bauman mentioned a potential issue with T-Shirt orders, but said he would resolve it with President Robert Bertha following the meeting.
Sign-ups for the event will be accepted as late as Saturday morning at bit.ly/PCD2018.
Weather permitting, the after party gathering will be held in Village Park, complete with catering and an inflatable wrecking ball. The rain location is Lawrence 200, and Bauman said the PCD committee will notify participants if USG decides to go with the rain location.
President Pro-Tempore and USG presidential candidate Hayley Hoffman was absent from Monday’s meeting. According to Senator Megan Ortego, Hoffman was absent because of a meeting for her crew. Generally speaking, the measures to excuse legislative body members pass unanimously. However, two out of the five present senators voted “no.” The legislative body consists of six voting senators, including President Pro-Tempore Hoffman.
President Bertha was also absent from the USG meeting due to a Faculty Assembly meeting.
The results of the USG election were not available as of Monday, and are expected to be released by the office of Student Affairs by the end of the week.