USG approves budget for student organizations


Photo by Robert Berger

President Pro-Tempore Megan Ortega listens to budget proposals during Monday's USG meeting

Written By Amanda Andrews, USG Beat Writer

The United Student Government (USG) approved budgets for nearly 30 student organizations for this current funding period on Monday. 

A majority of the budget proposals were met with unanimous support from USG, with several abstentions and no votes against from the board of senators. 

Once USG turned to concerns from the floor, however, they were met with stark resistance from a few student organizations, including Strong Women Strong Girls (SWSG), Phi Beta Lambda and Black Student Union (BSU). Representatives from each organization involved spoke against USG’s recent shift in policy on providing funds to student clubs and organizations. 

Strong Women Strong Girls was allotted $243, Phi Beta Lambda was given $82 and BSU received $482. All three of the student organizations requested a significantly larger amount for funding than awarded. 

Black Student Union Vice President Prim Green expressed frustration, as many of this year’s events remain the same as last year’s, despite funding cuts. 

“I think they just kind of gave the politically right answer, but never in full detail and never could really explain why we got [adequate funding] last year for the same [events] this year,” Green said. 

Green expressed a desire to know why the lack of funding hit her organization so hard. 

“It’s just important to me because…[of] black students here. A lot of them don’t really have voices, so it’s important for us to come here and speak up because these events for the black students,” Green said. “I get the rules and things, but there’s no explanation for why…I get a higher amount last year versus this year because it’s the same exact thing. And we have more people as well. The numbers are always there, we always meet well over the minimum, so I don’t get it.”  

BSU’s complaints come in light of their annual Block Party event, one of their biggest events. The event, expected to draw over 350 people from black student unions all over the city, will take place this Saturday in Village Park. 

BSU intends to work with the funds that were given to them, and to speak out to gain more funding at the next funding period. 

“When you just think about it, it just didn’t make sense for us to supply thousands of dollars into fundraisers…usually it’s around $200 per club for fundraisers,” USG Treasurer Kortney Lampel said. “So we’re just really helping clubs explore things other than just a bake sale, because there are so many opportunities and so many options in the Pittsburgh community that don’t require any money. We still really want them to fundraise, and they need to maintain their finances it’s just we want them to stop coming to us just for money. There are so many great opportunities for them.” 

Immediately following the adjournment of the USG meeting, the “Nuts & Bolts” Training Sessions: Student Philanthropy Roundtable was held. The roundtable was hosted by Courtney Kingan, the Director of Annual Giving, and Lauren Steiner, the Assistant Director of Alumni Engagement. 

The purpose of the roundtable, which was the first of its kind, was to discuss the very opportunities and options Lampel mentioned for student organizations to explore. A few student representatives – some belonging to organizations who had expressed dissatisfaction with USG’s approved budgets – were in attendance, namely those for Phi Beta Lambda and BSU. 

After the meeting, the office of development and the office of alumni relations recognized that student organizations require more funding, especially in the spring semesters. This inspired the idea of reaching out to the larger community, not solely USG.