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Undergraduate Council's Annual Budget Increases By More Than One-Third

UC first meeting Smith Center
The Undergraduate Council held its first meeting of the fall 2018 semester in the newly renovated Smith Campus Center.

The Undergraduate Council voted Sunday to approve its annual budget, okaying substantial increases in funding for nearly all Council operations including grants to student groups.

The $650,000 budget — which will likely be given the final nod by administrators in the coming days — will provide the Council with a roughly 34 percent increase in revenue from last year, according to an outline of the budget.

This year is the first in which the Council had to apply to a new student-faculty board to receive its funding allocations. The College announced in April that it would increase the student activities fee — an optional sum undergraduates pay as part of their enrollment costs — from $75 to $200, and that it would make accompanying changes to the way the UC, House Committees, College Events Board, and Intramural Council receive funds.

As part of those changes, the House Committees — which used to receive nearly $160,000 from the Council — now apply directly to the funding board for money. Even with that significant line item removed from its budget, the UC nonetheless requested slightly more funding than last year.

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The Council’s Finance Committee, which faced a budget shortfall for much of last year, will receive $345,000 in funding, up from $295,000 last year, a welcome development for UC leaders who said in the spring they were optimistic that the changes to the activities fee would improve their ability to meet grant requests.

During the debate over the budget, Council members presented multiple amendments in order to ensure that the Finance Committee would not be forced to make large across-the-board cuts to grants or tap into the UC’s Emergency Fund, as it had to do last year.

One ultimately successful amendment, proposed by new finance committee chair Gevin B. Reynolds ’19, called for the Council to re-allocate $25,000 of the proposed increase in the UC’s burst fund to the committee instead.

UC Treasurer Nadine M. Khoury ’20, who wrote the budget and presented it to the funding board last Thursday, said the substantial increase in grant requests last year necessitated a boost in funding to the finance committee.

“Applications have skyrocketed over the past year alone,” Khoury said. “We have huge demand for student groups all over the campus.”

“And it’s amazing because people know what the UC is doing and want to be involved,” she added.

The Phillips Brooks House Association will also gain from the Council’s revenue increase, with annual UC allocations to the service organization rising from $30,000 to $35,000.

Sunday’s general meeting was the first of the Council’s term this semester. Toughly two dozen new representatives recently joined the body after nearly half of members elected in the spring graduated, resigned, or lost their seats in elections over the past few months.

— Staff writer Jonah S. Berger can be reached at jonah.berger@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @jonahberger98.

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