USG Focuses On Financial Management
Published: Friday, August 31, 2012
Updated: Friday, August 31, 2012 00:08
Undergraduate Student Government president Stephen Petkis and Speaker of the Senate Shiv Gandhi pointed to better money management as the primary goal of USG this year and in the following years to come.
“When we ran last year, the number one thing we promised students was that we would do everything we could to keep tuition in check. That hasn’t changed,” Petkis said. While both Petkis and Gandhi acknowledged such an endeavor could only be accomplished over multiple years, they emphasized the importance of starting now.
Members of USG will be traveling to the state legislation to lobby, hopefully laying down the groundwork for students to come, according to Petkis. USG is working to build a better relationship with the administration, pushing the university to evaluate its budget every two years, rather than every four years as it currently does. This way, the university would be evaluating the budget at the same frequency as the state.
Gandhi said, “As a state-funded organization, we should revaluate our budget at the same time [as the state].” He added that such a setup would prevent students from being locked into unnecessary fees as the availability funds fluctuate.
USG itself has restructured how it funds Tier II organizations – organizations that can receive funding from the University and USG. Under the new structure, organizations must apply for funding a semester in advance. Petkis said this will allow USG to plan better and thus manage its money more efficiently.
The USG fee increase from $40 to $45 that students voted to approve last semester will go into effect next fall. This increase, Petkis said, allows USG to continue funding services that risked being cut, like the safe ride home service Guard Dogs.
Petkis and Gandhi pointed to parking and dining hall issues as problems that could potentially be resolved in the coming school year. The executive branch is currently working to try to get dining services to allow students to change flex passes to points. Currently points can be exchanged for flex passes but flex passes cannot be exchanged for points. In addition, a push for more vegetarian options is coming from the students. Petkis said there have recently been complaints about the vegetarian options at the renovated McMahon dining hall. He has since set up a meeting with Dining Services to discuss the matter.
Petkis stressed the importance of student participation in the USG.
“We would love students to contact us if they are having issues with anything,” He added, “There are plenty of things we can do, but only if people speak up.”
USG will be meeting for the first time this semester next Wednesday, Sept. 5. Elections for this fall with start on Sept. 12th at 9 a.m. and finished Sept. 14 at 9 a.m. Those interested in running must have their applications in by Sept. 10 at 5 p.m.