UPUA Budget Ready to Go Before Assembly
The Internal Development Committee of the University Park Undergraduate Association met last night to discuss and finalize the UPUA budget submitted by President T.J. Bard and Vice President Courtney Lennartz. In addition to the Committee, many members of the UPUA Assembly and Executive Board attended the meeting. The budget passed the committee unanimously and will be brought to the floor of the Assembly next Wednesday.
The group had $139,628.55 from the Student Activity Fee to work with. They reviewed the line items in the budget, and, for the most part, asked for clarification on spending they didn’t know about or brought up potential problems with spending on individual line items. Many committees were allocated much less than they requested.
The budget is allocated in various categories. The operational budget including discretionary funds to be used when the need should arise, money to each of the assembly’s committees, the Elections Commission, the Executive Board, an executive downtown housing initiative, the S-Book, and the All Big Ten Schools conference.
Some contention arose with the Academic Affairs Budget, which called for $8,600 for the UPUA Book Exchange next year. Last year the exchange only accounted for $200 that was used for banners. Academic Affairs Chair John Zang said that the increase was intended to make the book exchange more of a fully functional “business,” instead of just a website. Several in attendance were skeptical about fronting the money for an untested program, but Zang said he plans to model the book exchange after similar programs at other Big Ten schools.
The Legal Affairs Budget also drew a lot of conversation, originally calling for over $10,000, the vast majority of which was to be used for promotional items for giveaways. Director Genevieve Farrell said that promotions are crucial for promoting UPUA Legal Affairs. They ended up with $5,500.
After about an hour and a half of discussion, the committee took a recess to deliberate and come up with motions. During that time, it was revealed that they could use the leftover money from the Fifth Assembly–which Internal Development Chair Nick Grassetti said was “almost $62,000”–before the next fiscal year on July 1 to pay for next year’s expenses.
The Committee then took $23,000 from that money to pay for the White Loop Extension next year, and reallocated the $23,000 for the White Loop across discretionary funds for various committees. $5,500 was put into the general discretionary fund for the entire organization. Because of the extra money, many committee chairs who had requested more funds were able to enjoy slight increases in their budgets and avoid cuts.
The debate grew extensive at times but was far from acrimonious. With the final meeting of the year next week, the Assembly will vote on a final version of the budget. We can expect significantly more debate, and, with the whole crowd in suits (as opposed to casual dress last night), maybe more tension, as well.