Previously, on SGA: USO budget presentations begin

The following covers the meeting on April 6


This meeting was a Senate finance meeting for University Sponsored Organization (USO) budget requests*. Vice President Nasim Salehitezangi reminded SGA that they would not be voting on these budgets at this meeting.

The USOs who presented at this meeting were Trinity Diversity Connection (TDC), Greek Council, Student Ambassadors, Recreational Sports and Student Programming Board (SPB).

The compensation question
Adviser Jamie Thompson explained a new push within USOs to compensate officers, executives, etc. who work a certain number of hours. The manner in which this new addition is incorporated into USO budgets depends entirely on the USO, as they may choose different amounts of people to compensate and different ways of either maneuvering the existing budget or adding on. Thompson emphasized that this coming year is a pilot year.

Regardless of USO differences, compensation will be $10 an hour across the board. Compensation is also split into four levels onto which USOs can map their leadership according to hours. The first level is two hours a week, the second is five hours a week, the third is eight hours a week and the fourth is twelve hours a week.

SGA discussed multiple ways to ensure compensation requests fit requirements without making budgets excessive given a finite Student Activity Fee (SAF) Fund. These included methods of capping the amount requested, cutting less necessary budget items like swag or conventions or stipulating compensation for the top two executives only. President Oliver Chapin-Eiserloh said since the details for compensation still haven’t been finalized, SGA should not vote on anything involving it at this time.

Senior Jahnavi Nikkam, sophomore Mia Kholy and junior Lauren Stevens presented on behalf of TDC. They requested $49,729.96 this year, a little over $10,000 more than last year’s budget. This increase is due to a $7,000 addition that will account for compensating all executive board members for doing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) work they said is integral to campus health. Stevens also said that TDC membership has grown this year in addition to their social media engagement and physical presence on campus after returning to in-person events.

Greek Council
Seniors Alex Walker and Alex Downing represented Fraternity and Sorority Life’s (FSL) Greek Council. According to Walker, the size of the fraternities and sororities on campus is the largest they have ever been, as 209 bids were matched to new members this spring. Greek Council hopes to use Student Activity Fee funding for Greek unity events, as well as workshops focused on DEI, mental health and risk management. Their proposal includes a $240 stipend for all 11 members of Greek Council who hold office hours.

Student Ambassadors
Juniors Helen Liang and Elysha Danaher presented Student Ambassadors’ budget proposal. Their funding would go toward events and outreach that fall under their four pillars of tradition, service, philanthropy and engagement. Only Liang and Danaher, as co-directors, would be financially compensated.

First-year senator Ani Siva inquired about Student Ambassadors’ estimated carryover, and Liang explained that due to Student Ambassadors’ relationship with Alumni Relations, any money that is left at the end of the semester will likely be used by Alumni Relations.

Recreational Sports
Kristen Harrison, Associate Athletic Director for Recreational Sports and Sports Camps; Seth Asbury, Associate Athletic Director for Facilities and Event Management; senior Grace Hanshaw; and junior Sidney Strickland presented on behalf of Recreational Sports. Their request included a specific increase in club sports because of three new additions. In addition, the 19 fully functioning clubs wish to become more competitive by going to national tournaments and competitions. Outdoor Recreation (OREC) also plans to go on longer, further away trips and is experiencing increased student demand, so they requested $500 more per semester. This would also go toward a scholarship fund for students who can’t afford OREC trips.

Junior incoming directors Chloe Scroggins and Ty Kostopoulos, senior outgoing directors Mona Mirpour and Cade Blalock and sophomore finance chair Kiona Hsiu presented on behalf of SPB. They requested $178,130 in total, with increases to account for monetary compensation for streamlining positions and increasing the number and scale of events. SPB plans on restructuring the organization by creating a nine-person board with two directors, five chairs and two finance and budget officers, in which every position would be compensated on a stipend basis. SPB also hopes to increase the number of events; for example, organizing bus trips to places like Six Flags, as well as increasing the scale of events. Some ideas they mentioned include converting the Welcome Week concert into a music festival with carnival rides and upgrading TigerFest to an actual homecoming celebration.

President Oliver Chapin-Eiserloh closed the meeting by deferring voting until after all budget proposals from all USOs have been presented to SGA and stating that he planned on meeting with Adviser Thompson and Adviser Demi Brown to get a clearer understanding of compensation within USOs.

*These requests are still being confirmed by SGA and the USOs, so not every group has a total request reported in this brief.