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Friday, November 28, 2014

Senate passes ASUNM budget of nearly $750K

news@dailylobo.com

The Associated Students of the University of New Mexico will get about $750,000 for its budget for next school year.

ASUNM’s budget bill passed the undergraduate student government’s senate in a meeting Wednesday night. The bill will allot nearly three-quarters of a million dollars to ASUNM and the student organizations it represents.

Britt Westvang, chairman of the ASUNM’s Finance Committee, said she was thrilled that the bill passed without any amendments.

“I am really excited. I was really confident with the bill that we put forth to the senate,” Westvang said. “I am happy that it passed the way that my committee had formed it because I think it was well informed, and I am just really excited that it passed.”

Westvang said students should be aware that a good majority of the budget is based on student fees, and that ASUNM manages to allocate that money equally.

“It really is a rather large chunk of student fees,” Westvang said. “I think it is important that they do know that we are entrusted with the responsibility to allocate those funds fairly to all student organizations.”

Westvang said that while student organizations have the most at stake in the budget, individual students should be mindful of available funding if they are interested in starting their own organization.

“It really only matters to those who are in student organizations. We are their sole funding,” Westvang said. “But everybody should be aware that some of their student fees go to that because it could enlighten them and encourage them to start their own student organizations because they realize there is that kind of financial backing for them.”

Senators also passed two resolutions during the meeting.

Resolution 8S will call for a different resource center or student organization to be highlighted each month with the goal of exposing UNM’s greater student body to ethnic diversity.

ASUNM President-elect Rachel Williams said the resolution is also an attempt to make outreach a more systematic process in ASUNM.

“It’s just an effort to institutionalize reaching out,” Williams said. “It’s not to say that we are not going to spend time at other resource centers or with other student organizations. It’s just to say that we are going to put in the extra effort to spend time with this resource center this month and that student organization that month. It’s not to exclude anybody.”

Senator-elect Tori Pryor, who helped write the resolution, said UNM’s greater student body will benefit from being exposed to different cultures.

“It really makes a cultured person to have seen different things, and tasted different cuisines and met someone new on a personal level with a different background,” Pryor said. “So it’s just the idea we are creating well rounded, interdisciplinary students and exposing people to other cultures is just a great way to extend that.”

On the other hand, Resolution 11S, which also passed the senate, deals with the issue of student organizations bringing outside food into the Student Union Building.

Student Danya Mustafa said the passage of the resolution is just the first step in starting the discussion on the issue. At the moment, student organizations planning to have food during their clubs’ meetings in the SUB can only buy food from Chartwells because of the SUB’s contract with the food provider.

“Student organizations from across UNM have been trying to figure out how to start this conversation because it is an annoyance to pay so much money for the SUB catering,” Mustafa said. “We are really excited and this is just the first step in starting the conversation.”

Mustafa said that with the amount of diversity within student organizations, students should be able to bring the food they desire into the SUB.

“I used to be part of the Muslim Student Association, and we had a diverse population of students stemming from India to Pakistan, and we had a lot of cultural gathering, and it would have been nice to be able to bring Indian or Pakistani food, instead of just having to stick with what the SUB provides,” she said.

Resolution 11S will be forwarded to the Board of Regents, UNM President Robert G. Frank, Vice-President of Student Affairs Eliseo Torres, the SUB Board, the Associate VP of Student Life Dr. Walter Miller and Chartwells.