Every semester each student pays $23.12 in fees to ASUU, but most don’t know where that money goes after tuition is paid.
All of that added up to a budget of $1.7 million for student government in the 2014-2015 academic year. The budget is broken down into different components. The main consideration for how funds are allotted is laid out in the Redbook, ASUU’s constitution. There are certain organizations within ASUU that are required to have either a certain dollar amount or percentage of the overall budget each year. For example, “No less than 11 percent of student fees will be allocated to the Executive Cabinet and distributed to individual Executive Cabinet accounts through the ASUU Annual Budget.”
Robert Phillips, ASUU’s financial advisor, said the required fixed totals of Redbook make up roughly 65 percent of the funds, or $1,105,000 of this year’s total. Madison Black, ASUU vice president, said when a new set of officers are elected, the president, vice president and senior class president sit down with the financial advisor to decide where the remaining funds will go within ASUU.
The budget is allocated to the executive branch of ASUU, as well as other segments of the organization, including the 500 registered student groups on campus. These groups are allocated funds and can use it according to spending guidelines. Depending on what group it is, it can be spent on anything from food to bringing in guest speakers to hiring a band for Redfest.
Along with a budget, some of the money goes toward salaries. Each member of the executive branch and the board directors are compensated for their work. The president and vice president are compensated $10,800, and the senior class president and attorney general, $2,400 and $3,600 respectively.
If a director or executive member does not use the entirety of their budget for the fall semester, the remainder rolls over into the spring. Any remaining funds at the end of the year will go to the General Reserve of ASUU, where additional funds are stored and used when needed.
A part of the funds go to running ASUU as a facility, which includes paying rent to the office space, electricity and paying for full-time and part-time staff to keep ASUU running.
Black said the budget is also based on their party platform and the voice of the student body. She had an initial budget of $8,000, but requested a $1,000 reduction and gave the funds to First Year Council to hire an additional director for recruitment. For this year, Black said there was a push for more external programming, therefore more funding went to the sustainability board and social advocacy board.
Larger projects for this semester included ASUU Centralized Child Care and the tutoring center in the Marriott Library. Both of these projects have a fixed amount allotted from the budget, according to Redbook. Black said she also instigated a new child care scholarship. The program gave money to parents who can’t afford their entire child care cost. Black said the total amount was a few hundred dollars, and the funds came out of her personal budget.
Black said next semester she plans to hold another Pizza with the President event as well as fund another project with child care to create a more family friendly environment on campus. The budget is also utilized for student leaders to attend conferences.
Florence Fernandez, senior class president, has a budget of $12,000. Fernandez was in charge of the U’s homecoming events, which totaled about $8,000. Fernandez also instigated Game on the Green, a large football viewing party and tailgate on lower campus. Fernandez said the total expenses of that event were $2,000.
Fernandez said they have not decided what the senior class gift will be yet. There will be a committee of students working on it this semester.
Justin Spangler, ASUU president, said one of his big projects for this semester will be a sexual assault awareness week. Spangler said the project is still in the works, and more details will come as they begin to develop the idea.
One of the major goals of the three leaders is to keep transparency with the office, Spangler said. ASUU’s budget is supplemented by student fees; therefore the information must be public. Specific numbers, costs and totals can be found on the ASUU website.
Black said ASUU is an integral part of campus life at the U.
“We also put on a significant number of events from concerts to recycling programs to service projects to everything in between,” Black said. “If this campus didn’t have ASUU we wouldn’t be as an effective of a campus because it’s an essential place for students to get funding for anything they want to do.”
Chris Dewey, a sophomore in chemistry, said he felt his fees were being utilized to help enhance his experience.
“They bring in a lot of activities and guest speakers, and there are things like Crimson Nights, which accumulates to a lot,” Dewey said.
Sierra Krippner, a sophomore in mechanical engineering, said she gets her “money’s worth” with some of the ASUU events but doesn’t always see the bigger picture with student government.
“I don’t see a lot of the initiatives stated on the platform, like social justice or sustainability,” she said. “I feel like when I’m on lower campus, that’s not actually a thing.”