Candidates Propose Budgets

Candidates for the 2014 Georgetown University Student Association executive election have submitted their proposed administrative budgets for the upcoming year. These budgets illustrate similar fiscal plans among the different campaigns regarding aspects of GUSA responsibility, although, in some instances, candidates have chosen to allocate sums of money to fund unique initiatives.

Presidential hopeful Ben Weiss (COL ’15) and his running mate Sam Greco (SFS ’15) requested $49,500 in university funding, the most of any ticket. This was followed by Trevor Tezel (SFS ’15) and Omika Jikaria (SFS ’15), who asked for $44,800, and Thomas Lloyd (SFS ’15) and Jimmy Ramirez (COL ’15), whose budget called for $43,600 in spending. Zach Singer (SFS ’15) and Dan Silkman (COL ’15) requested the least amount of money, asking for $39,800 in funding.
Last year, the current executive pair of Nate Tisa (SFS ’14) and Adam Ramadan (SFS ’14) called for $44,600 in their proposed budgets.

Tisa justified the slightly increased budget proposals of the running candidates.

“All four [candidates] budgets are slightly larger than past years’, which seems appropriate. As GUSA continues to grow, it makes sense that our budget also exhibits responsible growth,” Tisa said.

Even though much of GUSA funding is discretionary, all candidate teams are required to allocate $14,000 for Collegiate Readership, which provides copies of The New York Times, The Washington Post and USA Today in selected locations across campus. All candidates have chosen to allocate $1,500 toward the Georgetown University Farmers Market, which is held on Copley Lawn during the spring and fall.

Additionally, Tezel requested $20,000 for the GUSA Fund, Weiss’ and Singer’s budgets called for $15,000 for the fund, while Lloyd’s proposal asked for only $12,000 to fulfill this purpose. On all budgetary proposals, the GUSA Fund occupies the largest non-mandatory allocation for the campaign.

“The GUSA Fund has been a huge help in co-sponsoring dozens of group events and individual initiatives. Right now it receives $15,000, but we think its performance has justified more,” Tisa said.

Weiss and Greco’s budget, in addition to including standard items like $2,000 in executive discretionary funding, also includes some unique proposals, including paying $1,500 for the implementation of a “Food Truck Friday,” $2,500 for a dedicated community service day and $1,000 for the inception and development of Encyclopedia Georgiopolitanica, which according to the platform website will be an “encyclopedia detailing the history of Georgetown’s students, student life and student organizations.”

The Georgetown-centric encyclopedia is just one of Weiss and Greco’s planned innovations. Their campaign also aims to allocate $5,000 towards the creation of a new Georgetown website, hoyalife.com, that would serve as a central location for various services, including a place for study room reservations, an events calendar and job listings.

“Ben and Sam will work to create hoyalife.com, the ultimate website for every student service at Georgetown,” Weiss and Greco’s platform states. “Altogether, hoyalife.com will finally unite all those disparate student services in one, easily accessible service.”

Lloyd and Ramirez’s budget most notably allocates $4,500 toward the “What’s a Hoya?” program, an orientation initiative designed to introduce freshman to university values and opportunities. Under their platform, the current program would be expanded to encompass different events promoting particularly beneficial messages or causes for students. This initiative would “allow student groups to have their events branded by GUSA as ‘What’s A Hoya?’ events,” Lloyd and Ramirez’s platform states. “These events will talk critically about safety, diversity and social justice.”

In addition, Lloyd and Ramirez seek to promote sustainability projects on campus, improve accessibility and hold an art fair and showcase, supporting each of these initiatives with a proposed $1,500 fund allocation. Lloyd’s ticket is also requesting $2,250 to make improvements to Georgetown athletic facilities, including the renovation of North Kehoe Field and the refurbishment of currently underutilized spaces, such as Harbin Patio.

Singer and Silkman’s campaign also specifically allocates funding to expand the “What’s a Hoya?” program, although their proposal only asks for $2,000 for this purpose.

“By expanding ‘What’s A Hoya?’ to partner with more groups and offer new and additional types of programming, GUSA will help expose freshmen to new perspectives,” Singer and Silkman wrote in a campaign statement. “Much of the $2,000 in the budget will go to support these events, organized and executed by other groups.”

Singer and Silkman’s budget also sets aside $1,000 for the Leadership Fund, an institution designed to provide financial support to students seeking to run for various elected positions on campus, and dedicates $2,000 to an “Innovation Fund,” which will provide financial resources for unanticipated projects that develop throughout the year. In addition, their budget allocates $500 for a research symposium and $1,300 for the GUSA senate to use as discretionary funding.

Tezel and Jikaria’s budget allocates $2,000 to the reinstitution of TurboVote, an online program designed to enroll Georgetown students as voters in national, state and local elections. The program was instituted under the administration of Clara Gustafson (SFS ’13) and Vail Kohnert-Yount (SFS ’13), but was not included last year under Tisa and Ramadan.

The pair’s budget also requests funds for an undergraduate research symposium, the “RU Ready” sexual assault prevention initiative, an initiative paying for students to go out for coffee with professors called “ProfCoff” and the conduction of a report on university accessibility, designed to prompt a reconsideration of the university’s disability policy.

Another notable difference in Tezel’s budget is its lack of any funding to the Student Advocacy Office. Lloyd’s campaign has pledged $750 to this organization, which lobbies on the behalf of students charged with disciplinary violations, and Weiss and Singer both plan to provide the SAO with $500.

The SAO, which is officially a part of the GUSA executive, will not endorse a particular candidate. However, organizational advocates are free to work with and support whoever they please. SAO co-Director Ben Manzione (SFS ’15) said that funding is not essential to maintaining their services.

“I appreciate all of the support the SAO has gotten from all of the tickets. An increasing in funding wouldn’t necessarily help. The main reason the SAO has been successful has been because of the dedication of our advocates and the partnerships we have formed with the administration, allowing us to advocate for change,” Manzione said. “The university has committed itself to the success of the SAO, so the increase of in funding is not essential.”

According to Tisa, the actual administrative budget ended up being less than the proposal, after the GUSA Finance and Appropriations Committee made cuts, although specific figures were not available as of press time.

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