The Associated Students of the University of New Mexico passed a budget bill on Wednesday allocating $634,406 for the Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 semesters.
The bill included budgets for student organizations along with the salaries, stipends, events and administrative costs of the ASUNM government and the student service agencies. The ASUNM Senate unanimously voted to fund student organizations $120,788.
In the same vote, ASUNM internally allocated $513,618 to the various agencies and bodies of student government, about 81 percent of the total amount.
“We funded all the student organizations within the same realm, sort of the same way we do with standing rules,” said ASUNM Vice President Emily Wilks after the Full Senate meeting last Wednesday.
The amount of money ASUNM is able to dole out depends on how many undergraduates are enrolled at UNM. Every full-time undergraduate currently pays a $20 “ASUNM fee,” as mandated by the ASUNM Constitution. As a result, when undergraduate enrollment is down, ASUNM has less money.
Undergraduate enrollment is down about 19 percent compared to Spring 2014, according to the UNM Office of Institutional Analytics.
This year’s spring budget bill allocated the lowest amount in five years. In Spring 2014, the ASUNM allocated $717,856. The number was $692,900 in 2015 and $673,357 in 2018. In the same five year period, ASUNM’s internal spending was an average of $513,341, according to data from the Student Governing Accounting Office.
“I think that it is a big portion of the budget going to ASUNM,” said Finance Chair Holly Gallegos, adding that she was proud of how much her committee was able to allocate to student organizations.
Student Special Events received the biggest chunk. ASUNM allocated the student service agency $142,101. That is about $40,000 less than what was requested, and about $15,000 less than what SSE received last year. SSE is most well known for planning, organizing and running Fiestas.
Two other agencies were also cut by about 10 percent compared to 2018. Southwest Filmcenter was reduced from $63,034 to $55,789, a $7,245 cut. Governmental Affairs, who lobby in the New Mexico State Legislature, was reduced from $15,387 to $13,754 — a $1,633 cut.
Art’s and Crafts Studio saw an over $8,000 increase, bringing its budget to $50,680. Emerging Lobo Leaders, a mentorship program that connects ASUNM officers with younger students, also saw a bump in funding. The agency is set to see a $1,495 increase bringing its budget for the next school year to $16,293.
“I think that (student service agencies) generally get the most attendance and therefore serve the most students,” Wilks said.
ASUNM Senate and Community Experience also saw comparatively modest increases. Senate was bumped $2,922 for a budget of $33,935. Community Experience got another $964, bringing its budget to $29,059.
“I’m definitely proud of the work of my finance senators and I’m comfortable with the money that we allocated,” Wilks said.
As for the student organizations, the median budget allocated was $438. The median budget requested was $769. Two student organization received over $20,000. Agora Crisis Center received $25,698 and Lobo Hockey received $20,868.
“I’m really glad that (the budget bill) got passed tonight fairly easily. I was expecting more discussion on it honestly,” Gallegos said.
Justin Garcia is a staff reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers student government. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Just516garc.