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USG discusses budget cuts and early-semester spending

Vice President of Finance Lukas Flores speaks to the Undergraduate Student Government about the current budget at Monday night’s meeting. LAURYN ALLEN/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

By Anfani Lawal and Ellie Yeo

The Boston University Undergraduate Student Government reviewed their 2019-20 budget at a meeting Monday night, with Vice President of Finance Lukas Flores detailing the intricacies of USG’s current allotment of funds.

USG also passed an amendment designed to smooth out redundancies and errors in the Senate Vice Chair election process by-laws in their meeting Monday night.

USG’s budget was determined by the Student Affairs Office, but the details of the budget weren’t communicated to the entirety of the government until Monday’s session where it was revealed that USG’s current total budget would fall $8,000 from the 2018-19 total budget.

Flores chalked the drop in budget up to “lower revenue and additional expenses that […] led to tighter budgets across the board.”

USG’s Executive Board said the budget had already been dipped into for USG events over the summer and the beginning of the school year. They spent around $6,000 for recruitment during summer orientation’s six occasions of Terriers’ Night Out and Splash, as well as funding for the recently passed Water Quality Act of 2019.

In session, senators asked why BU was making USG pay for recruitment during the orientation.

USG President Hafzat Akkani said before they spent the money, they were under the impression that the Student Activities Office would cover the cost to participate, and that USG wouldn’t have spent as much if they knew the budget would be affected.

“Overall, we probably weren’t careful enough with how much we spent [for recruitment],” Flores said.

However, Flores said funding toward summer recruitment was a good choice.

“I personally think it’s a great use of the [money] to attract incoming freshmen and really welcome them,” Flores said, “and have Student Government be one of the first organizations they’re exposed to.”

To combat overspending for the next year, Flores said there would be a tentative $5,000 limit for summer recruitment during 2020.

Many senators supported USG’s recruitment choices.

Senator Valeria Orellana, a freshman in Questrom School of Business, said she felt the summer orientation recruitment effort was a good use of money.

“I think [USG’s summer orientation recruitment] was smart because I saw it and the merchandising gets people interested in the organization, and that’s how I joined,” Orellana said. “So I think it was money well spent.”

However, senators reacted with more mixed feelings towards budget cuts.

Senator Vincent D’Amato Jr., a junior in Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Services, expressed dissatisfaction with the Student Affairs Office’s decision to slash the budget.

“That’s something that we’ve been trying to figure out how to adjust to,” D’Amato said. “I feel like there should be more communication, if something like that, something that significant is going to happen again.”

Senator Evan Teplensky, a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences, said he was hopeful that Student Government would continue serving the BU community despite the reduced budget.

“While it’s not as nice as having as big of a budget as last year, it’s still something,” Teplensky said.

Director of Social Advocacy Michelle Njoroge said USG still has a lot of plans despite the budget cuts.

“I’m going to be interested to see how we are able to work within the budget that we have now, considering that things were lessened from last year,” Njoroge said. “We definitely have a lot of things we want to do this year so that’s going to be fun.”

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