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Portion of USG budget approved

By Jackie Wattles
On April 17, 2014

The University of Connecticut Undergraduate Student Government approved funding requests for 384 on-campus organizations, doling out more than $686,000 of the organization's $1.5 million budget.
Student fees fill USG's coffer - every undergraduate pays $96 to the organization each year. In turn, USG allocates a portion of its funds to various "Tier II" organizations - which range from cultural groups to club sports - to fund travel costs, competition fees, event costs and sports equipment.
At its Wednesday meeting, the USG Senate approved funds for 384 of the 467 total Tier II's that applied for funds, issuing $686,000 of the total $959,000 requested.
USG operates on bylaws that outline types of Tier-II expenditures that are funded in full (called category A and B requests) and those that are funded in part. Category A requests include funds for events that are open to the student body and blood drives hosted by Red Cross. Funding requests that are typically cut include travel expenses and hotel stays for groups that attend conferences and competitions around the country, which are funded at 75 percent.
USG Funding Board Chair Parth Rana said this semester's funding process was not atypical.
"We did cut recording, mix and mastery and duplicate CD's for a capella groups," Rana said. "In the cases where there's a per-CD charge, we tended to keep the (funding) down to one copy."
Typically, a capella groups have used USG funds to pay for CD copies to hand out to members of the student body. Rana explained that it is stated in USG bylaws that the organization should not fund anything related to networking or career development, which he and USG Comptroller Claire Price felt the free CD handouts represented.
"Just because we did it in the past, doesn't mean we have to continue to do it," Price said. "I think it's healthy to stop and take a look at our funding decisions and make sure they're in accordance."
As of the Wednesday meeting, USG has still only spent about 40 percent of its annual budget. Price added that the student services committee is the only committee to have spent its total budget so far this semester.
But the fiscal year does not end until June, and Price said there are a number of spending initiatives still in the works - including the acquisition of a cottage on the Depot Campus, that the organization would use to store equipment its funds purchased for club sports teams.
As the academic year approaches its end, Comptroller Price - who will serve as student body vice president next year, and Chairperson Rana - who will serve as comptroller - are looking to hand off their roles and step into new ones. Though funding board chair is yet to be determined, Rana said he is confident he is leaving the committee in good hands.
Rana said the funding board has not traditionally been a popular committee, but that it saw surge in popularity this semester, and he was impressed by the work ethic and commitment of its members.
"I never expected to have so many people stay on board and stay so active," Rana said. "I do believe they can run it on their own - they will be in good hands next year."
 


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