General allocations, additional cabinet member highlight GPSS budget talks

Matthew Rezab

The Graduate and Professional Student Senate Finance Committee will present the budget for fiscal year 2016 to the Senate at the Feb. 23 meeting.

Fiscal year 2016 runs from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, effectively the 2015-16 academic year. If the Senate rejects the proposed budget, the Finance Committee will prepare a new proposal for submission to the Senate by the March meeting.

The budget was proposed at the January meeting. February is being used as a comment period when senators can examine the budget, discuss it with constituents and render any comments or proposed changes to the GPSS Finance Committee.

The budget is expected to include a change in general fund allocation for individual clubs and organizations from the current $800 cap to $1,000. The Finance Committee is also expected to advocate for adding a seventh cabinet member.

“We would like seven [members] instead of six,” said Arko Provo Mukherjee, president of GPSS. “We can extend the budget, or executives could take a pay cut. “

Mukherjee said he supports the option to cut executive pay. 

The seventh position would be dedicated to organizing the Graduate and Professional Research Conference on a full-time basis. The second annual GPRC is scheduled for April 2.

GPSS Treasurer TJ Rakitan said he expects the total budget to rise due to increased enrollment because the GPSS budget is derived from student fees.

“With greater student fee reciepts, we can fund more Professional Advancement Grants, better social events and new line items,” Rakitan said.

The total GPSS budget is projected to rise from a little more than $155,000 in fiscal year 2015, to $171,000 in fiscal year 2016. According to the GPSS projection, a $5,400 surplus is expected. Rakitan said the surplus allows for flexibility when unforeseen opportunities or costs arise.

Rakitan said he would like to see the extra funds go toward clubs that are doing creative things with a scholarly bend to them.

“Overall, we want to promote clubs to generate opportunity for them that wouldn’t otherwise be there,” Rakitan said.

Clubs or organizations wishing to apply for funds can do so by filling out a GPSS regular allocations application on the GPSS website. Applicants must submit specific line items they wish to be funded. The deadline is Feb. 27.

Mukherjee said the Senate can use the budget process as a time for introspection.

“Through the process we can see what we did well, what we did badly and what we can do better in the future,” Mukherjee said.