The Undergraduate Government of Boston College (UGBC) will receive an organizational allocation of $327,999 for the 2016-17 school year. Though the student government requested an additional $10,000, it was allocated the same amount of money as last year. One of the most notable changes from last year’s budget is a decrease in requested funding for the Student Assembly (SA) and an increase for subdivisions within the division of Diversity and Inclusion, such as the AHANA Leadership Council and the GLBTQ Leadership Council. Other sections of the budget, including the executive council stipends, remain generally unchanged.
One positive aspect of this budget is the diversion of funds toward groups that need them more. The SA is mainly focused on proposing and voting on policy issues. Last year, it only used a fraction of its planned budget. Allocating funds more toward Diversity and Inclusion groups is a good way to promote programming for the student body and events such as the GLC Gala and ALC Showdown. The increase in funds will also fund an established event for the Council for Students with Disabilities, similar to GLC’s Gala and ALC’s Showdown. These events are not only positive for the advocacy groups behind them, but also allow students to benefit from the money they pay to the student activities fee that goes to UGBC. Through these and other events, Diversity and Inclusion has developed a good track record of program creation that turns student activity fee money into a tangible benefit for students.
It is important to note that the money UGBC uses comes from the student body. Every student pays a $330 student activity fee each year to support UGBC, as well as the Campus Activities Board, the Student Organization Funding Committee, and club sports. UGBC’s budget costs each student approximately $36 of this activity fee. Because the SA did not spend a large portion of its allocated budget last year, the reallocation of the funds to Diversity and Inclusion groups is an effective way to make the most out of students’ money.
Another important part of dealing with this large amount of student money is transparency. While the UGBC budget outlines money set aside for each division, there should be a more specific budget released to show students how their money is being spent within each division, including events and other costs. A more detailed breakdown of events and speakers would show students where their money is going and promote transparency in student government.
Each year, the stipends for UGBC executives are discussed. Russell Simons, UGBC president and MCAS ’17, will receive a $4,000 stipend this year, Meredith McCaffrey, UGBC executive vice president and MCAS ’17, will receive $3,500, and the five vice presidents will each receive $2,000. Keeping these stipends does allow students with financial restrictions to consider working for UGBC, and their removal could lead to a student government populated by those who do not need a job while in college. On the other hand, these are substantial amounts of money that students who volunteer for other time-consuming student organizations do not receive. Ideally, the money for the stipends as well as the rest of the budget will go toward creating a better community for BC students.
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