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In its first meeting under the new leadership of president Shawon Jackson ’15 and vice president Carmina Mancenon ’14, the USG Senate voted to approve its new spring budget, the new Project Board chairs and a proposal for funding a USG Mental Health Week.

Major changes in the spring semester’s budget include an $8,000 decrease in spending for Dean’s Date and the appropriation of $5,000 for Communiversity, according to USG Treasurer Christina Yu ’14. Communiversity is an annual event that the University holds in the spring to interact with members of the local community.

The USG also reviewed several projects from the past semester that brought in revenue. The Hoodie Allen concert brought in over $12,000, and the Thanksgiving buses brought in over $13,000, Yu stated.

The budget also included a $2,050 proposal for the USG Mental Health Initiative, which was introduced by sponsors Farrah Bui ’14, Elektra Alivisatos ’14 and former USG president Bruce Easop ’13. The initiative aims to increase awareness about mental health across campus by reprising the USG Mental Health Week that was held for the first time last year. This year’s Mental Health Week will take place from Feb. 25 to March 1. The initiative will also fund a Mental Health Initiative website to serve as a centralized resource for information on mental health, free fitness classes and a glow party in Dillon Gymnasium.

Some members raised concerns that the glow party would become more of a social event than an awareness event. Bui responded by saying that having a social quality would not be a detriment to the event’s purpose.

“One of our goals is to raise awareness,” Bui said. “If that’s one way that we’re reaching out to [the public], then that’s even better.”

The initiative will also bring the national “What I Be” photography campaign to campus. The campaign encourages young people to “take ownership of and pride in their identity.” Steve Rosenfield, the founder of “What I Be,” will come to campus during Mental Health Week to give a lecture and host a photography workshop.

The Senate also evaluated the free bagels giveaway that the USG hosted on the first day of spring semester. Some members questioned the decision to locate the giveaway at Fine Hall and debated whether to adjust the total number of bagels to be bought in future years, in light of the fact that between 50-75 bagels were left over this year.

In addition, the Senate discussed possible logistical improvements for interaction between the USG and the student body for project updates or feedback on projects and whether or not the USG should seek feedback on projects from students and administrators. 

The Senate also approved the appointment of its Project Board chairs, Jared Peterson ’14 and Eileen Lee ’14.

Due to a reporting error, an earlier version of this article  included an incomplete list of the sponsors of the Mental Health Initiative sponsors. Elektra Alivisatos ’14 is also a sponsor. Also due to a reporting error, the article incorrectly stated the nature of the projects the USG reviewed. It reviewed projects from the previous semester that brought in revenue. The ‘Prince’ regrets the errors.

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