The Student Services Finance Committee of the Associated Students of Madison met Thursday to discuss budgets for Recreation and Wellbeing, Greater University Tutoring Services, University Health Services and the Wisconsin Union.
It was the SSFC’s first in-person meeting since they voted to end virtual meetings last Monday. Because representatives from GUTS failed to show up due to confusion regarding the switch to in-person meetings, the SSFC instead read GUTS’s budget recommendations.
SSFC Rep. Kevin Jacobson expressed concerns about GUTS’s request to increase funding for its Coordinator of Academic Services position. GUTS wanted to have more money available for this position because they were planning to recruit more staff, SSFC Chair Maxwell Laubenstein said.
Jacobson then created a motion to request additional financial support for the Coordinator of Academic Support Services equal to the GUTS director’s pay. The SSFC approved the motion at the end of the meeting, with Vice Chair Rianna Mukherjee saying that passing the motion was good for GUTS’s independence.
“I think that this will help them further establish themselves as their own body,” Mukherjee said.
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After the SSFC discussed the GUTS budget, RecWell Director Aaron Hobson presented RecWell’s budget. Hobson began by presenting statistics on how the Nicolas Recreation Center was accommodating more students than the SERF — the fitness center it replaced — before shifting to RecWell’s budget.
Hobson requested a $10 increase in segregated fees, which RecWell would use to raise minimum wage for student workers from $10 to $12 per hour, as well as other operational expenses related to wage increases. Hobson also presented statistics on the upcoming Bakke Recreation Center.
“This building is designed not just to help the physical wellbeing of our students, but also the holistic wellbeing of our students,” Hobson said. “It is going to be a game changer just like the Nicolas Recreation Center was.”
The SSFC then asked questions regarding RecWell’s budget, including what will happen to the Camp Randall Shell once Bakke is built. Hobson said the Shell would be vacated to UW’s athletics department for $5 million once Bakke is fully operational.
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After the RecWell presentation, representatives from UHS, including associate Vice Chancellor and Executive Director Jack Baggott and Associate Executive Director & Director of Operations Dr. Carol Griggs, presented on UHS’s budget.
Baggott presented statistics how UHS responded to both the pandemic, giving over 18,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses in the fall semester. Baggott also broke down how UHS spent its money, with 50% of it going toward medical services, 40% toward mental health services, and 10% toward prevention.
Baggott then requested a $10 increase in segregated fees, part of which would pay for more dieticians, sexual survivor advocates and survivor counselors.
“We want to do much more on the front end to eliminate the need for Survivor Services,” Baggott said.
The committee planed to make formal requests to UHS regarding their budget at the next SSFC meeting Monday, Feb. 28.
After the UHS budget, the SSFC met with Wisconsin Union representatives to discuss the Wisconsin Union’s budget. Rep. Jacobson asked about the recent movement of the Social Justice Hub, particularly since it is currently a part of UW’s Office of Inclusion-Education under Student Affairs. Union Director Mark Guthier said the Social Justice Hub was still located in and funded by the Union.
The agenda for the meeting, along with all the materials presented and discussed, can be found here.
SSFC will meet next Monday, Feb. 28 at 6 p.m.