The budget for the Undergraduate Government of Boston College (UGBC), presented to the University financial committee in April, includes several substantial changes for the 2015-16 school year. The $328,000 allocated to the organization through the student activities fee represents a $8,149 increase over last year’s budget of $319,851. The budget includes line-by-line breakdowns of how much specific events and programs will cost.
This year, the executive office elected to accept $17,500 in stipends—with $4,000 going to UGBC president Thomas Napoli, MCAS ’16, $3,500 to executive vice president Olivia Hussey, MCAS ’17, and five other $2,000 stipends given to those Napoli and Hussey appointed to vice president roles. Overall, this year’s executive budget has been cut in half, with more funding directly allocated to divisions of UGBC once funded partly through the executive office.
The largest portion of the budget, $126,958.02, was allotted to programming for the Diversity & Inclusion board, the branch of UGBC that encompasses the AHANA Leadership Council (ALC), the GLBTQ Leadership Council (GLC), and the newly-formed Council for Students with Disabilities (CSD). Events that are paid for with this budget include ALC Showdown and the annual GLC Gala.
Another sizable portion of the budget goes to the executive office, which was allocated $72,400 last year. This year, however, the budget for the executive office was cut in half to $35,495. This was done because the organization found last year’s programming for Diversity & Inclusion to be severely underfunded, forcing funds to be pulled from the executive office. Now, the money is more directly in the hands of those planning events, according to Nick Crain, vice president of financial affairs and CSOM ’17.
“What we wanted to do was really make the executive budget more barebones, and put more money into divisions,” he said.
The budget for UGBC comes out of the student activities fee, which was $324 this year. This fee also funds club sports, the student organization funding committee (SOFC), and the campus activities board (CAB). In April, Thomas Napoli, UGBC president and MCAS ’16, and Olivia Hussey, UGBC executive vice president and MCAS ’17, made a presentation to a financial committee that included dean of students Thomas Mogan to explain how much money they would need for the year. Club sports, SOFC, which funds all student organizations, and CAB, a programming board for activities on and off-campus, make their own presentations as well. Then, the financial committee decides how to allocate the money from the student activities fee. This year, UGBC initially requested $337,938, and received $9,938 fewer than that.
“One of the benefits of having timelines and so many aspects of our platform figured out was that it made it much easier when we were making the budget to be much more specific,” Napoli said.
Napoli said that UGBC has one of the strongest institutional memories, with large-scale events like ALC Showdown, which requires a sound system, lights, and a stage, and takes place in Conte Forum. This makes it easier to predict precise budgets. ALC Showdown is budgeted to cost $32,958 this year, based on its cost in previous years.
In order to cut costs, the funding for each division was initially allocated to be as low as possible, and then the divisions were given the chance to request more money. Generally, UGBC’s divisions did not receive as much money as they requested. ALC, for example, initially requested $29,000 and then received $22,672. CSD, however, was originally allocated $7,000 and then re-requested more money, eventually ending up with $9,300. This shift came because the council came back with specific speakers and programs they wanted to host, and came forward with a very strong case, Napoli said.
“We ended up giving them a little more money than they asked for because we’re really hopeful that as a new council they’ll be able to make their mark,” he said.
Featured Image by Drew Hoo / Heights Editor