During the first Senate meeting of the year, Boston University Student Government shared updates on a transportation bill approved last semester, confirmed the yearly budget, and created a new finance committee.
Senator Janez James, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, began the year by updating StuGov on last semester’s resolution to “better the current transportation options available to students at BU.”
Previously, BU administration rejected initiatives to make the T free for all students in favor of focusing on the BU Shuttle.
“[BU Parking and Transportation Services] said no because they had their own statistical evidence that we did not need more buses and they said logistically adding an extra bus to the route caused a lot of setbacks,” James said.
She said the administration had agreed to add signs for the bus stops and release information to first-year and incoming transfer students about transportation options at the University.
James said she also worked with BU Transportation administrators and other students to create five informational videos about transportation on campus and in the city.
“One video being a general overview, to be played at orientation every single year, that just talks about very briefly the Terrier Transit app, the MBTA, Blue Bikes, the bus and then one more in depth videos on the app,” James said.
She said she planned to continue speaking with administration about subsidizing T passes for Pell Grant students.
The meeting continued with a Senate resolution to approve the year’s budget, which differs from previous years due to 33.25% of the Community Service Fee budget now under joint ownership with the Campus Activities Board and StuGov.
The CSF is charged every semester to full-time undergraduate students to pay for student organizations and events. The community service fee for this academic year is $134, which amounts to approximately $2.28 million dollars.
This is the first year where students, not the Student Activities Office and Dean of Students, control the CSF.
“We want to return to a system where admin no longer controls this money that is student’s money,” said President Dhruv Kapadia, a CAS Junior.
Last year, 37.1% of the Student Government budget went towards events. However, since the StuGov Events team will now be allowed access to the CSF budget, their internal funding allocation has been brought down to zero and all other departments have been boosted with that money.
“We’ve gotten access to hundreds of thousands of dollars essentially for our events team to plan amazing events for students and we’re making ourselves more visible and more legitimate,” Kapadia said. “And then for everyone else, our budgets got larger, so everyone’s winning.”
Senators confirmed the yearly budget with 39 out of 40 votes.
The meeting ended with the confirmation of a new financial committee to “ensure the general Senate ledger is being used to represent students.”
The committee would help other senate committees with their budgets as well as the overall Senate budget, making recommendations about how the budget could best be distributed.
The committee was confirmed with 38 votes.