Despite having a smaller group than usual Sunday night — only 22 members were present, compared to the normal number of 35 — the Undergraduate Assembly blew through a range of topics focusing mainly on budgetary concerns.
The UA first confronted the recent moratorium on new student group funding issued by the Student Activities Council. The next SAC general body meeting is scheduled to be held after fall break, and will allow SAC to explain what is going on and how it plans to resolve the problem.
“[The UA gets] money from students and then we give it to SAC, so fundamentally we have a responsibility to assure that money given to student groups isn’t being misspent,” UA Representative and College senior Erich Reimer said. “We trust SAC as an independent branch of student government, but they deserve a public explanation at the very least.”
UA Treasurer and College senior Jake Shuster spoke to what he views as the heart of the problem.
“The number of groups grows at a rate faster than our budget grows, so looking at long-term sustainability, it’s not viable,” Shuster said. “The budget grew 3.9 percent compared to last year, whereas the groups are growing at a faster rate.”
The budget for Skimmer Fest, an event that was held last month and combined Fall Fest and Skimmer, was also a point of discussion.
UA Representative and College sophomore Danielle Golub explained the UA’s desire to reach out to the student body and get its input on the relative success of the event.
“We blindly allocated funds based on Skimmer and Fall Fest in the past, but I wanted to take an initiative to reach out to the student body and see what they liked and what they didn’t like so we could better allocate funds,” Golub said.
Additionally, Shuster discussed a new series of “efficiency guidelines” for budgeting that were recently put into effect.
He explained that the UA will no longer be committing to fund annual events, in order to encourage versatility among the events for which it grants funding.
The UA members also announced the completion of an ongoing project involving transfer students.
“One big hurdle transfer students had was getting their writing credit approved,” Reimer said. “We met with the [Critical Writing Program] and tried to clarify this process because people felt it was very arbitrary.”
Information sessions will now be held for transfer students regarding the credit approval process. Forty students attended the most recent session, according to Reimer.
“Overall it will increase the clarity in regards to this complicated process,” Reimer said. “They plan to make it a yearly tradition.”