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The Undergraduate Student Government passed a resolution on Feb. 19 calling for an increase in the budget of the USG Student Group Projects Board by $10,000 for the spring semester. 

Projects Board is the main source of funding for groups recognized by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students and funds activities that the Office of Religious Life the Pace Center for Civic Engagement host. In addition, the board works with the groups under its purview to help plan events.

Diego Negrón-Reichard ’18, one of the leaders of the Financial Reform Team and a U-Councilor, explained the reasons for the reform.

“The Projects Board noticed that around every April in the second semester there was a significant funding gap. So, let’s say on average USG funding drops to around $100 per event, when in the past that’s actually several hundred dollars,” Negrón-Reichard said.

Because of the funding drop, groups that approach the board at the end of the year are less likely to obtain funding, explained Negrón-Reichard.

"We want to make sure we are able to provide all groups fair consideration regardless of when they meet with us,” former co-chair Nicholas Fernandez ’18 added in an email.

According to Negrón-Reichard, funding has not been increased from past budgets to compensate for inflation and rising prices on campus. 

“The approved increase in funds this spring will allow for greater reliance on USG funds, over which the Board has primary discretion,” noted Fernandez. “It will also enable us to continue making generous average grants that do not need to be disproportionately supplemented by non-USG sources.”

Students who have not worked directly with the board may have been unaware of the dwindling funds, Fernandez added.

“We have been able to support most events that have come to us at the tail-end of previous years thanks to the varied sources from which we’ve drawn our funding,” he said.

According to 2021 Class Senator Elizabeth Bailey '21, USG usually concludes the year with a surplus.

“Providing these funds to the Student Group Projects Board will be an effective way to help the student body and put it to good use,” Bailey explained.

Bailey is a contributing copy editor for The Daily Princetonian.

Negrón-Reichard predicted that this will lead to an increase in the quality of events in the second semester. The increase will particularly affect affinity groups which often come to the board at the end of the semester, looking to hold events celebrating their communities. 

“Not only affinity groups, but all groups can have higher-quality, large-scale events,” Negrón-Reichard added.

The Resolution includes a clause which requires the Projects Board to update and reform its charter before it receives its new funding. 

The reform is part of a three-pronged plan from the Financial Reform Team. In addition to Sunday’s resolution, it is looking into centralizing funds and further exploring student fees. 

USG President Rachel Yee ’19 and Student Group Projects Board Co-Chairs Eliot Chen ’20 and Isabella Bosetti ’18 could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.

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