The elected members of Undergraduate Student Government, whose positions will be official on Tuesday, receive stipends paid by the undergraduates of the student body through the $57.50 student programming fee.
This year, USG President Monish Tyagi will receive $11,032 and USG Vice President Logan Lachman will receive $8,826 in compensation. The presidential and vice presidential stipends were $10,000 and $8,000 for the 2006-2007 academic year but have been adjusted for cost of living each year.
The 12 USG Senators each receive $2,206, USG and Program Board directors receive $4,413 and other USG officials receive comparable stipends. The executive director of Program Board receives the same stipend as the USG vice president.
Nearly half of the $1.8-million budget goes to Program Board, which is overseen by USG and consists of committees and assemblies tasked with creating events for the student population.
“The USG-funded events are open to all undergraduates,” said USG Treasurer Elton Kwok. “Anything that USG funds — go ahead and go to those events and student activities. There’s concerts, free shows, discussions and a lot of people don’t take advantage of the fact that their student activity fee goes toward these events.”
USG allocates its budget at the end of the academic year by assuming there will be 15,000 undergraduates paying the student programming fee. The treasurer adjusts the allocations once the actual number of undergraduates is determined.
This year, about $75,000 of almost $90,000 in originally unallocated funds went to program board assemblies. Even when determining the budget last year, USG increased funding for several Program Board assemblies and committees.
The Black Student Assembly added $20,000 to its $45,000 budget, the Asian Pacific American Students Assembly added $13,500 to its $57,000 budget and the Academic Culture Assembly added $7,000 to its $38,000 budget.
Several committees also received more funds, as the Special Events Committee budget went from $49,500 to $67,000 and Trojan Pride’s funds grew from $25,000 to $29,500. The Concerts Committee budget increased from $215,000 to $250,000 because its events are some of USG’s “best attended,” Kwok said.
Each assembly reports attendance and estimates the cost per attendee for each of the more than 2,000 events held by Program Board assemblies and committees. Trojan Pride estimates a 67-cent cost per head, while the Women’s Student Assembly averaged $60 so far this year, which Kwok said will likely be less by the end of the year.
“Most of the assemblies spend about $5 to $10 per head,” Kwok said. “With concerts and performing arts, you’re paying for a name, so it’s [more expensive]. If students go to three or four of those events each semester, they’re getting their money’s worth.”
This year, USG has saved some money by renegotiating the cost of legal counseling services, which are available to students on Mondays. USG split that service fee and some administrative costs with the Graduate Student Government because many graduate students use the legal service and USG shares an office with GSG, Kwok said. The negotiations ended in November.
USG also saved money by integrating administrative costs with Program Board because the two moved into the same office last year but had not changed the budget to reflect this until this year.
President Monish Tyagi said this shows “streamlining” with Program Board.
“One of our biggest goals is for everyone to see how it’s all one organization,” Tyagi said. “It’s a great internal step for office needs to start coming through one administrative budget.”
Kwok said that USG went through the budget line by line to determine changes before submitting its proposal to the senate, which unanimously approved it last April.
“We really looked at how an assembly or committee performed in the past years,” Kwok said. “We made sure that the new initiatives or programming events that attracted more crowds would be continued.”
Michael Jackson, vice president for Student Affairs, said undergraduate students manage the funds well.
“The budget is sound and focuses spending on the priorities that student leaders and the university think are important,” Jackson said. “We appreciate the diligence of those who developed the budget and the serious way they carried out their work.”
Though the programming fee increased $1 last year to account for inflation, adding around $42,000 to the budget, several organizations under USG have seen increases of different proportions based on each organization’s performance.
“We looked at the different committees and the line items that are going to benefit the most students possible,” Tyagi said. “We want to make sure we give all those areas an adequate amount of money to fund activities and programs for the students we represent.”