Student Council discusses summer budget, approves 3 new CIOs

The Student Council has allocated $22,121 in funds to its summer budget

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Michael Horth is a third-year Commerce Student and the chief financial officer for Student Council.

Ford Easley | Cavalier Daily

Student Council discussed its summer budget at its General Body meeting Tuesday night. The summer budget allocates funds for all Student Council activities and initiatives between May 4 to the beginning of September when the annual budget is approved. As it currently stands, the total amount allocated to Student Council for this summer is $22,121, and funds will be split between the various committees in Student Council based on their needs. 

Of the $22,121 allocated to Student Council this summer, just over $10,000 will go to various cabinet committees. Of those, $3,400 will go to the athletic affairs committee, which is tasked with overseeing the installment of a water distribution station in the football stadium. Just over $3,000 will be designated to the outreach committee, who will focus on membership recruitment and Student Council advertising. 

Of the total funds, the executive and administrative operations committee will receive $7,975. $3,700 of this will go towards the activities fair and $4,000 will be left for discretionary spending. The remaining $275 will go to other various events.

Funds are divided between those from the student activities fee and non-SAF funds. The current summer budget uses $8,864 of SAF funds and $13,257 of non-SAF funds. SAF funds are paid for by every student on Grounds and are intended to fund student activities and CIOs on Grounds.

Non-SAF funds are personal funds raised by Student Council mainly through the student activities fair, fundraisers and their endowment. Besides broad guidelines set by Alumni Hall, Student Council can use non-SAF funds at its own discretion. 

Many Student Council members raised issues with the summer budget. Avery Gagne, a first-year College student and a member of the Representative Body, argued that $2,000 of SAF funds for discretionary spending is unwarranted.

Discretionary funds are those set aside by the Student Council to cover expenses which are not explicitly stated in the budget. For this summer, Student Council has earmarked $4,000 as discretionary funds — half of which will be derived from SAF funds and the remainder from non-SAF funds. 

For example, the Student Council utilized its discretionary funds summer 2017 to fund a candlelit vigil on the Lawn in the wake of the white nationalist rallies of Aug. 11 and 12 at the University and in Charlottesville. 

“Last year for the summer session we used $844.15, and that was including things such as the large candle-lit vigil,” Gagne said. “I believe last summer we did spend a significant amount and we only got up to less than half of that.”

Michael Horth, a third-year Commerce Student and the chief financial officer for Student Council, addressed Gagne’s concerns over discretionary funds. 

“Student Council is a very reactionary body,” Horth said. “That is why we have a very large discretionary funding.”

Ian Ware, a third-year College student and a member of the Representative Body, questioned the allocation of SAF funds, arguing that they are intended to only go to CIO activities. 

“What’s the reason behind having so much SAF?” Ware asked “We don’t need to rely as heavily on SAF funds so we can free up those funds for CIOs.”

Alex Cintron, a third-year College Student and Student Council president, justified allocating SAF funds for discretionary spending over the summer. 

“If something comes up and it falls within the SAF guidelines that’s good because we are able to use that money for what it is designed for,” Cintron said. “It’s mostly about trying to preserve the non-SAF funds.” 

Student Council will continue its discussion on the summer budget at the next general body meeting. 

Student Council also passed a bill to approve new CIOs. The bill grants CIO status to three organizations — the Gizmologists, Green Greeks and Student Veterans of America. 

The Gizmologists is an organization intended to support student run small-scale engineering projects, which will focus on laser cutting, 3D printing and water jetting. 

The Green Greeks Organization’s goal is to tackle the problems of sustainability in Greek Life, cultivate a more ecological mindset among Greek chapters and inform them about sustainability initiatives on grounds. No representatives from either organization were present to speak on the organizations. 

The Student Veterans of America is dedicated to veterans’ advocacy in higher education. The organization will also promote the protection and advancement of veteran education through political action. 

Michael Morris, a third-year College student and veteran, addressed Student Council prior to their vote on the CIO bill. 

“We are super excited as a veteran community,” Morris said. “We are looking forward to doing a lot of good work for vets and nontraditional students.”

The CIO bill passed unanimously with two abstentions by proxy from third-year College students Lukas Pietrzak and Liya Abseno.

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