The Student Services Finance Committee met Thursday to draft official budget recommendations for the Wisconsin Union and to amend the proposed legislation that will raise student wages. They also heard the Transportation Program Budget for 2023.
The budget — shared last week by Wisconsin Union’s Director Mark Guthier — proposed several initiatives to make up for a $5.86 million loss during the COVID-19 shutdown, including reopening the University Club and creating a gift retail shop on East Campus Mall.
During Thursday’s meeting, SSFC representative Roshan Verma proposed a recommendation that event and meeting spaces be more efficiently marketed toward Registered Student Organizations, since they are largely underutilized.
“What I saw from walking through [the Union] was that a lot of the rooms aren’t being used throughout the day,” Verma said.
Representative Kevin Jacobson questioned a million-dollar line item included in the original Union budget, the purpose of which was unclear to the SSFC. The funds were meant to build up a reserve for Student Affairs for whatever uncertainties may arise and would not be charged from student segregated fees, Henri Miller from the Business Office of Student Affairs said.
The SSFC recommended the assessment be deferred until a later time.
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Vice Chair Rianna Mukherjee also proposed a recommendation calling for funds to be allocated to reinstating composting at the Union, which ended about two years ago.
The SSFC voted again on the legislation proposed last week by Secretary Steven Shi that would raise student wages to $15 an hour. Shi motioned to amend the document, removing the clause regarding adjusting wages bi-annually to account for cost of attendance at the University of Wisconsin, calling it a “logistical nightmare.”
With the amendment, the bill passed for the second time and will be officially voted on at the next SSFC meeting.
Lastly, ASM Transportation Program Manager Margaret Bergamini presented the committee the Transportation Program Budget for 2023. Bergamini spoke about bus pass distribution to students.
Recommendations will be made on the budget at the next meeting Feb. 21.
Editor’s Note: The headline of this report was updated Feb. 19 at 10:07 a.m.