Student government senate approves all agenda items

The Undergraduate Student Government passed three pieces of legislation at its Tuesday meeting — the most it has approved at one time this year.

Legislation · USG Vice President Vinnie Prasad (left) and Parlimentarian Justin Farshidi participate in a meeting Tuesday at the campus center. – Ricardo Galvez | Daily Trojan

The student leaders passed an amendment that will streamline funding to new organizations, granted fall exceptional allocations to student organizations  and passed a resolution to recognize USC Olympians.

The bylaw amendment affects how discretionary start-up funds are allocated to first-year student organizations and clubs. Previously, there were no specific guidelines for organizations applying for funding.

USG Treasurer Jennifer Guan, a senior majoring in neuroscience and psychology, said she felt the discretionary funding needed more exposure.

“It has been in existence, but was not well utilized or advertised,” Guan said. “Our goal is to make the process for this funding a lot more transparent and a have set of guidelines for everyone to follow.”

Organizations that apply for discretionary start-up funding can now receive $500 a semester, compared to the $400 in previous years.

Kameron VanWoerkom, the director of the USG discretionary fund and a junior majoring in accounting and business, believes the funding amendment will make the application process easier for organizations and provide them with the support they need.

“We want them to come out of the gates a step ahead,” VanWoerkom said. “This is easily beneficial because it gives them a better advantage to establish their brand as a student organization.”

In addition to the start-up money from the discretionary fund, fall exceptional allocations will also fund student organizations within Program Board. The goal for these allocations is to help organizations increase the quality of their events throughout the year.

Each semester, the university grants student government money based on student enrollment. Each student pays a programming fee in his or her tuition cost, and with the increase in student enrollment this year, an additional $70,000 was available in the fall exceptional fund.

USG President Mikey Geragos, Vice President Vinnie Prasad, Senator Matthew Arkfeld, Senator Vicken Antounian and Guan worked to allocate more money to the 13 entities within Program Board to help fund their programs.

Juan Espinoza, Program Board director and a senior majoring in communication and international relations, said the additional funding should benefit student organizations.

“All of the organizations have these projects and plans that they want to make happen,” Espinoza said. “So these funds help them out with helping them fulfill that vision and make the best things happen for the student body.”

For student leaders specifically, the increased funding will have a direct impact on the students involved in their organizations.

Lamar Gary, a junior majoring in business administration and the director of the Black Student Assembly, said having adequate funding makes a big difference in what the organization offers students.

“There’s a lot of start-up costs … going in and we don’t always have all the money we need in our budget,” Gary said. “We definitely wouldn’t have been able to fulfill all of our goals and we would have to cut some of our events or downsize them.”

The Alumni Affairs Committee also put forth the resolution to formally recognize USC Olympians at the homecoming football game Nov. 10 versus Arizona State. The committee believes it will positively impact the student body.

Antounian, one of the sponsors for this resolution, also hopes it will strengthen the student spirit on campus.

“It’s a great idea for both students and alumni,” Antounian said. “It will bring the Olympian spirit to life and show everyone that Trojans are always fighting on. The Olympians are true Trojan heroes.”