UPDATE: ASUNM Sen. Rachel Williams confirmed that the ASUNM budget currently stands at $153,000. She said the funds would be used for student organization budget appropriations for the fall and spring semesters. This amount can still change later in the semester along with changes in UNM’s enrollment, she said.

A new vice-chair comes to one of the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico’s senate committees as it gears up for the fall semester.

ASUNM’s Finance Committee elected Sen. Colt Balok as the committee’s vice-chair at its first meeting of the semester Wednesday night. The six senators on the committee elected Balok unanimously. He will serve as vice-chair until the end of the fall semester.

Balok said he is thrilled with his new seat in the committee.
“This is going to be a great year,” he said. “I’m excited. We’re going to have lots of fun, and we’re going to have lots done to benefit undergraduate students of UNM.”

A sophomore at UNM, Balok won a seat in the ASUNM senate in last year’s fall semester elections. He was the only independent candidate to win in that semester’s elections.

Balok said he plans to work closely with his fellow senators and committee members.

“My plan is to work with the newly elected senators,” he said. “I’m really going to work with the senators at the Finance Committee and help them with the learning curve with whatever they need so they can be the best senators.”

ASUNM Sen. Rachel Williams, who was elected to ASUNM and appointed as chair of the Finance Committee last fall semester, said she is optimistic about working with Balok in her committee this semester. She said she will try to make the Finance Committee a more legitimate body at UNM.

“When I was an Emerging Lobo Leader, I just looked at the Finance (Committee) chair with such high regard,” she said. “Every single week, they were in front of a student organization. They really know the ins and outs of ASUNM. Now sitting on that position, I’m hoping that I’m setting up a precedent.”

Williams said she aims to increase the committee’s public presence this semester and to become more transparent with student organizations in terms of its budget appropriations.

“I want the appropriations projected on the screen so that student organizations can actually see what’s happening,” she said.

“They’re hearing us make all these motions, but it’s really arbitrary. Hopefully it will make it all more transparent. That’s really the goal of the Finance Committee this semester.”

ASUNM will hear student organizations’ budget appropriation requests on Sept. 21 and 22, Williams said. Organizations have until Sept. 11 to submit their budget appropriation requests, she said.

Williams said she advises organizations to make sure they research the requirements for requests to ensure their requests are up to standards before the hearings start in September.

“We’re here for them,” she said. “We’ll do whatever we can to help them, but we hope that it’s kind of a two-way street. I hope they understand that we have restrictions and we have a tight budget.”
Still, Williams said she is optimistic about the Finance Committee for this semester.

“The student organizations will come in, and they won’t leave feeling discouraged,” she said. “I think it’s going to be a much more positive for student organizations this semester.”