News, On Campus

UGBC Senate Approves a $403,775 Budget for the 2024–25 Academic Year: Here’s How It Breaks Down

The UGBC Senate voted to approve a $403,775 budget for the 2024–25 academic year at its meeting Tuesday night—a 6.96 percent proposed increase from this year’s $377,500 budget.

Sahithi Thumuluri, director of financial affairs and MCAS ’25, presented the budget proposal alongside outgoing UGBC president Jonah Kotzen, MCAS ’24, and vice president Meghan Heckelman, LSEHD ’25, who was elected as next year’s UGBC president on Monday.

All present UGBC senators voted in favor of the budget, which now awaits final approval from the Division of Student Affairs.

The budget is broken down among UGBC’s eight divisions: Executive Council, Communications, Senate, Student Initiatives, Environmental Sustainability, the AHANA+ Leadership Council (ALC), the Queer Leadership Council (QLC), and the Council for Students with Disabilities (CSD).

Executive Council: $111,150 ($32,850 Increase)

For the second consecutive year, the Executive Council saw the largest overall addition to its budget.

While the 41.95 percent boost may seem especially large, the bulk of it is set to fund a stipend for a second UGBC graduate assistant, Heckelman said. 

“That is somebody’s salary for the year, and that’s why we have that big jump in percentage,” Heckelman said. “Usually, it would not be that high.” 

Without the new position, the total UGBC budget would increase by just 0.8 percent, according to Thumuluri.

“We’re going to include the graduate stipends within our budget to reflect the work that these GAs do throughout the year to support us,” Thumuluri said.

Stipends for the UGBC president and vice president will hold steady at $4,000 and $3,500, respectively, while stipends for senior leadership were allocated $500 more than last year. Funding for UGBC’s annual fall retreat, however, will jump 355 percent from $5,500 to $25,000. 

“That’s what it costs to rent the space, to pay for food, to pay for buses,” Thumuluri said. 

In previous years, funding for UGBC’s involvement in Marathon Monday programming came from a myriad of its different divisions, according to Thumuluri. To streamline the process, all expenses associated with Marathon Monday have been moved under the purview of the Executive Council—a change that also accounts for the division’s increase,Thumuluri said. 

Communications: $8,225 ($2,075 increase)

The proposed budget for communications is set to rise by 33.74 percent. At $8,225, the communications division has the second lowest budget of any UGBC division.

Funding for tabling supplies and paper advertising will tentatively be reduced by 75 percent and 50 percent, respectively, while funding for Canva Pro software will increase by 16.67. Thumuluri said these changes reflect the increasing importance of digital marketing tools such as social media and email newsletters.

The budget for UGBC merchandise will also increase from $2,000 to $3,500—a result of the organization’s significant membership growth this year, according to Thumuluri.

Senate: $5,600 ($2,700 increase)

The proposed $5,600 budget for UGBC’s Senate will be nearly double the current figure of $2,900—a 93.10 percent increase.

$4,000 will be devoted to Senate subsidies, a new line item inspired by the Senate’s success in piloting a laundry subsidy for Montserrat students this year, Thumuluri said.

“We kept it kind of vague—it’s just subsidy initiatives in general in order to give next year’s Senate the ability to decide what that will look like and what kind of needs need to be addressed in that moment,” Thumuluri said.

The Senate, Thumuluri said, is primarily tasked with advocating for the student body and working with administrators to improve student experiences, not putting on programming like other divisions. To reflect its responsibility, funding for senator initiative programming will be reduced from $2,400 to $1,000. 

“We did bring Senate initiative programs down a little bit because the Senate is not really a programming division of UGBC,” Thumuluri said. 

Student Initiatives: $50,000 ($2,500 decrease)

Funding for the Student Initiatives (SI) division is set to drop by 4.76 percent next year. 

The allocation toward student wellness initiatives, however, will receive a 150 percent increase as the division looks to expand programming for mental health and self-care.

To provide equal funding to all of SI’s prominent programs, funding for athletics collaboration has been decreased to $7,500—the same figure as student wellness initiatives.

The division’s women and gender initiatives line item was also eliminated in the proposed budget so that wellness programs targeted at male students—such as No Shame November—could be funded as well. 

“We wanted to make sure that we could do things like No Shame November this year that was geared towards mens’ mental health,” Thumuluri said. “It was kind of an equity issue of, ‘Why is there a women and gender initiative and not a men and gender initiative?’”

Replacing it, however, are specific allocations for Free Period, which provides free menstrual products around campus, and the annual Women’s Summit.

“These are both initiatives that we foresee continuing for the next couple of years and want to reaffirm that commitment,” Thumuluri said.

A new freshman spring fling line item with a budget of $4,000 was also added to the budget, a move that Thumuluri said is designed to help foster a sense of community among first-year students.

Environment and Sustainability: $15,800 ($1,550 decrease)

The Division of Environment and Sustainability is slated for an 8.93 percent decrease of funding in the proposed budget. 

Most of the drop can be chalked up to a $1,050 decrease in discretionary funds, of which just over a quarter has been spent this year. 

Funding for Green Week, the division’s most costly line item, will remain at $4,000, while the allocation for Green2Go tripled as the division intends to continue covering costs for incoming freshmen to join the reusable container program. 

“This year, we had $1,000 allocated, but we actually decided to use an extra $2,000 in the discretionary budget to support a full $3,000 contribution to fund Green2Go for all of the incoming freshman class, and we saw a great increase in usage,” Thumuluri said. “So, that’s something that we want to continue.”

AHANA+ Leadership Council: $131,000 (No Change)

Funding for the ALC will hold steady at $131,000, making it the highest-funded UGBC division once again.

The budget’s allocation for Showdown increased to $75,000—15.38 percent—to account for rising costs from vendors.

Funding for the ALC Ball, however, was reduced to $30,000—the same amount as QLC Ball—to ensure that funds are distributed evenly among DEI-focused events, Thumuluri said.

Queer Leadership Council: $55,000 ($200 increase)

The QLC will receive a slight bump in allocated funds in this year’s proposed budget, with an increase of 0.36 percent. 

This year marked the first time that Trans Week of Visibility—an international campaign honoring trans people and commemorating those lost to transphobic violence—was celebrated at BC, a success UGBC hopes to build on, Thumuluri said. 

“We also created a Trans Visibility Week line item, which was funded out of our discretionary this year, and it’s essentially like a second wave of Pride Week programming, so a week of intensive programming,” Thumuluri said.

A total of $30,000 will once again be allocated toward QLC formal, the division’s most expensive line item. A new line item will be created to fund student travels to the Ignatian Q Conference—a conference of queer student leadership from Jesuit universities across the country.

The proposed budget also raised funding for Lambda dinners by $1,000, citing consistent, high turnout among students.

Council for Students with Disabilities: $27,000 ($7,500 decrease)

The CSD is set for a 21.74 percent decrease in funding from last year’s allocation of $34,500.

Despite the overall reduced funding, the budget includes a 42.86 percent increase for guest speaker bookings. Thumuluri praised the success of the CSD in booking relevant and impactful guest speakers this year, making special note of the RJ Mitte event in February. 

“CSD has been consistently bringing in high quality and high-level speakers, and so we want to give them the monetary support in order to continue doing that,” Thumuluri said. 

Correction (4/12/2024, 12:15 p.m): This article was corrected from a previous version to note that the total UGBC budget would increase by 0.8 percent without the graduate assistant stipend, not the Executive Council’s budget; the Communications division has the second-lowest budget of UGBC’s eight divisions, not “by far the lowest,” as a previous version stated; and the Senate will be allocated $4,000 for subsidy initiatives, not $3,000. Additionally, the article has been corrected to accurately spell the last name of Sahithi Thumuluri, director of financial affairs and MCAS ’25. This article was also updated to clarify that the UGBC budget will increase by 6.96 percent, not 7 percent, and that the overall UGBC leadership stipend will increase by $500.

April 12, 2024