Senate passes revised 2017-2018 budget proposal

Undergraduate Student Government passed a budget proposal that will decrease funding for two Student Affairs programming departments and increase the USC Concerts Committee budget at the USG meeting on Tuesday. 

This is a revised version of the plan proposed at last week’s Senate meeting, in which Treasurer Donielle Bunyard proposed that the Volunteer Center and the Leadership, Education and Development program will receive no funding from USG.

“Last week, we presented zero dollars to all of Student Affairs, and obviously we had some backlash from that,” USG President Austin Dunn said. “In response to that, we sat down and re-evaluated.”

The new budget plan will allocate $15,000 to the Volunteer Center and $10,000 to the Leadership, Education and Development program. Last year, they received $73,250 and $19,000 from USG, respectively.

Though the budget for USC Concerts Committee showed an increase, Dunn said it actually reflected a decrease  because the budget does not account for exceptional funds.

According to Dunn, exceptional funds are USG funds from previous years that are used for the following year. Because USG no longer has exceptional funds to pull from, the total budget from USC Concerts Committee decreased from $600,000 to $400,000.

Previously, the Volunteer Center and the Leadership, Education and Development program were funded by the mandatory student programming fee that all students pay each semester. Dunn said that USG decided to decrease the funding of these two programs in an effort to increase the fairness of the student programming fee because not all students participated in them.

“The problem with the L.E.A.D. Programs is that the cost per head is too much,” Dunn said. “One particular example was a retreat for 30 students that was $30,000. Although we totally support leadership development and these retreats, it’s just a lot of money for a small amount of students that all students end up paying for.”

Similarly, Dunn said the Volunteer Center received a decrease in funding because previous USG funds  subsidized Alternative Breaks — an opportunity not all USC students experience.

“You could take a student, for example, who can’t afford Alternative Breaks but still have to contribute, through the student programming fee, to this program,” Dunn said. “So we tried to increase accessibility to the student programming fee to all students.”

Dunn stressed that although these two programs will be receiving less funding from USG, the lack of funding will not cause them to be dissolved entirely. According to Dunn, there is a high chance that the campus activities budget within Student Affairs can be reallocated to accommodate the Volunteer Center and the Leadership, Education and Development program.

“Never was their any intention, in any way, shape or form, to cut volunteer opportunities,” Dunn said. “We totally stand behind leadership development and volunteer and service opportunities on this campus, but it’s just a call to action for the administration to possibly look to financially support them.”