Penn student government sees increase in budget
Excess SAC funds will not go toward student group budgets
February 25, 2013, 11:57 pm·
The Undergraduate Assembly has unanimously passed the student government budget for the next year.
Penn Student Government has been given $2.11 million in total from the Board of Trustees for the next year, a 3.3 percent increase from last year, according to UA Treasurer Jake Shuster.
After a round of discussion last week, the official budget now proposes to give the Student Activities Council $1,065,790.13 —around a 6.5 percent increase from last year.
SAC Chair and College junior Jen Chaquette had the opportunity to open the budget discussion. “The important thing to keep in mind is that SAC’s budget won’t be changed tonight, or in a week, or even in a year,” she said. She further clarified that any increase in SAC’s funding would go solely to paying for facilities costs, and not to increasing student groups’ budgets.
Last week, the debate over the budget centered around SAC’s moratorium on funding new student groups which was passed last semester.
The budget committee also presented each student government branch’s final budget. SCUE was given an extra few hundred dollars following a price misquote to receive $24,480.
As initially proposed last week, SPEC Concerts, which hosts the annual Spring Fling concert each year, will be granted an additional $20,000. SPEC in total received $833,821.
The UA’s proposal also saw the planned 16 percent reduction from their proposed budget for the next year, which is mostly due to lower administration costs.
The budget deliberations concluded with some comments about the SAC budget. UA representative and College sophomore Gabe Delaney said they need to work towards a solution to the current moratorium.
“The fact is that student groups can’t have any possibility of getting funded, for who knows how long. We promise something at Penn,” Delaney said. “I was expecting a lot of resources when I came, and we did have them. For the new freshmen coming in this year, they too expect a lot of resources, and we can’t give them all to them.”
“I think that working with the administration to lower facilities costs is the main thing this body needs to do,” he added.
College freshman and UA representative Varun Menon, too, expressed hope for a solution and optimism for the entire situation. “My freshman colleagues and I undertook intense study of the budget and met with Jake and SAC, because we wanted to see if something could be done to support new student groups during the moratorium. However … we decided that this year, resources and circumstances did not permit us to move forward with that proposal,” he said.
Finally, next year’s budget went to the vote, where it passed unanimously, without any amendments. This is the second budget in a row without amendments for UA Treasurer and College senior Jake Shuster.
“I think the budget process is just one aspect of the job. Moving forward, there’s a lot of work to do,” he said.
The budget discussion was initially postponed at a request from PennCycle, who had presented a topic for discussion last week that had been tabled. College senior and PennCycle Sales and Expansion Manager Chris Cruz explained that the group is developing a system where users can check out bikes from PennCycle with a mobile app. The group recently received a grant of $20,000 from DPS to expand and automate their bikes.
College junior and PennCycle Director Madison Roberts said, “Because we’re moving to a more automated system, we want to also raise the price.”
The group explained that higher prices would help lower management costs, and moving forward, PennCycle is continually looking for ways to expand.