USG is proposing major funding changes this semester

A USG meeting held in the Student Union about food insecurity a few years ago. The Undergraduate Student Government handles funding and regulation of a large number of organizations and services on campus. Photo from UConn USG website.

The University of Connecticut Undergraduate Student Government is proposing changes to its Tier-II funding policies for the spring 2022 semester. These policies determine the distribution of funding to the hundreds of registered student organizations that UConn offers.   

“The goal of these funding policy changes is to benefit all clubs and organizations which request funding through the university,” eighth-semester political science and communications major Damani Douglas said. These changes were proposed by three USG members.   

Douglas is one of the students who initiated these changes in funding. He highlighted the specific ways in which the proposal will benefit UConn’s clubs and organizations. 

“These changes will help every group that requests funding. Both by increasing the amount that they get access to, and increasing the number of things that are eligible for funding,” Douglas said in an email interview. 

Chris Bergen, a sixth-semester mechanical engineering major and the USG comptroller, is another one of the students who has been in charge of proposing these changes. He provided a breakdown of how the USG receives funding from the university and what they do with the money they receive. 

“Every semester, a portion of the student activity fee is channeled to USG,” Bergen said in an email interview. “We use this money mainly for our advocacy initiatives, and to fund Tier-2 clubs on campus.”  

Bergen headed the changes which he and his peers proposed starting this past summer. They were passed in a unanimous vote by the Senate in August, Bergen said. 

“These changes simplified the funding process, increased the amount of USG funds distributed to clubs, and cut down on the administrative burden on student groups and our funding staff,” Bergen said. “Policy changes this summer included increasing the yearly funding cap to $25,000 per club, and increasing the coaching cap to $10,000 a year per club sport team.” 

Wvarrda Saulat, eighth-semester economics and political science major with a public policy minor and USG’s current funding supervisor, worked alongside Bergen and Douglas towards the recent proposal to further alter USG’s funding policies.   

“I, our Comptroller Chris Bergen and Deputy Chief Justice Damani Douglas have been spending the last couple of months reviewing each and every policy and questioning their purpose and impact on the student body,”

Wvarrda Saulat, eight semester economics and political science major, in an Email interview.

The push for more funding changes resulted in the discovery that some policies appeared to be un-useful, and that there was a need to clean up these policies, Saulat said.  

“We saw many policies that we thought served no purpose, such as the policy prohibiting events that include networking or are ‘social in nature’,  and decided to remove those,” Saulat said. “We also increased the funding threshold for certain categories. For example car rentals were funded at ‘University contracting prices’ but with the new policies they are to be fully funded.” 

While the proposed changes make the USG budget more useful, and allow students to get a say on how their money is spent, they cannot be implemented until passed by higher governmental positions, Bergen said.   

“These changes will go into effect once they have been approved by the Senate and signed by the president. Folks can stay tuned to our Instagram for when that will take place,” Douglas said.  

Although three students headed the proposal necessary to changing the funding policies, the support of USG was necessary in slowly making the proposed changes come to be a reality.  

“USG, particularly the funding staff, is generally happy with these new policies,” Bergen said. 

Bergen, Douglas and Saulat are hopeful that the multiple changes they are proposing regarding school funding will greatly help the student body by creating more useful policies that make sense in current times for the university’s clubs and organizations. To help support these changes students are encouraged to get involved. 

“There will be a Townhall in the next couple of weeks and then a Senate meeting the week after.  All presidents, treasures or members of a club are greatly encouraged to attend and participate in any of those meetings so we can get the best policies possible forward,” Douglas said.   

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