Assembly OKs $20K senior gift

By By , Staff Writer

By Chris Mumford, Staff Writer

Long before even the earliest shoppers hit stores on Black Friday, the student government had already approved spending $20,000 on a senior class gift.

Although the funding was approved Tuesday night at the Associated Students of the University of Utah General Assembly meeting, the project so far only calls for elements to be added to the Marriott Library square area to improve its use as a social space, without a specific budget of what exactly the $20,000 will be spent on.

ASUU senior class President Erica Andersen said students from any discipline can join a team to design a project for the area. The winning team will be awarded the $20,000 approved Tuesday, along with an additional $5,000 grant from the College of Architecture and Planning to have its idea of what should be built in the plaza become a reality. The winner will be chosen April 22.

Andersen said the $20,000 represents a baseline sum, and further funding might be necessary as the yet-to-be-determined project advances. To give an idea of what might be added to the area, which will be defined with consideration for weight limits and other structural concerns, Andersen said possibilities include chairs, umbrellas and tables, or a coffee stand.

Additional guidelines for the proposals are under discussion, Andersen said. ASUU representatives approved the $20,000 appropriation unanimously, and few questions were asked regarding the project’s details.

It was a comparatively swift vote compared to the proposal’s time in the ASUU Senate.

Cameron King, ASUU senator from the University College and one of the idea’s critics, proposed that ASUU divide the $20,000 into several small one-time scholarships instead of spending it on an unnecessary social space that students might not even use.

Instead, the Assembly spent more attention Tuesday on an appropriation for the men’s volleyball club. Combined with a previous $800 grant, the club initially exceeded the $5,000 cap on club spending and forced ASUU representatives to spend some 25 minutes whittling down the proposal so that it could be passed. The club requested an additional $4,500 to help defray expenses associated with travel and uniforms, but it had to cut $300 out of its request in order to gain approval.

Now that the senior class gift has passed the Senate and Assembly, it requires ASUU President Tayler Clough’s approval before it’s made official.

The contest to design what the $20,000 will be spent on will be announced Jan. 11.

[email protected]