The new Undergraduate Student Government administration has big plans — and a slightly smaller budget.
During the first USG Senate meeting under the new administration, USG president Zarnab Virk ’20 and vice president Chitra Parikh ’20 led a discussion about government finances, a rally for detained graduate student Xiyue Wang, and an art museum fashion show.
The meeting began with an address about the state of the USG financial budget. Though a formal budget is not due until next week, the current balance is $209,172 — a lower amount compared to the beginnings of previous administrations, according to USG treasurer Bradley Spicher ’20.
According to Spicher, the main expenses last semester were Lawnparties, buses to the football match at Yale, and the subsequent bonfire on Cannon Green.
Spicher hopes to spend most of the current funds by the end of semester. “USG had a large surplus over many years,” he said, “and I’m not planning to run a surplus this year.”
Afterwards, third year Graduate Student Representative Mikey McGovern addressed the chamber about funds for an on-campus “call-a-thon” and rally for graduate student Xiyue Wang, who is currently detained by the Iranian government.
“We think this is a broad-based issue, not just for undergraduates,” he said. “We want everybody to get involved.”
Wang, who was researching the Qajar dynasty in Tehran, was arrested by policemen in Tehran on Aug. 7, 2016 and sentenced to 10 years in prison without appeal. According to McGovern, he was only recently awarded phone privileges.
“He’s one of the most brilliant men I’ve met,” McGovern said. “He speaks, like, nine languages.”
McGovern requested a “small budget” of $318 from the USG government to offset publicity and catering costs for the call-a-thon. The motion passed unanimously with no abstentions.
The chamber quickly confirmed Aparna Shankar ’21 to the position of Diversity and Equity Committee Chair.
For the final item on the agenda, the chamber listened to a request from Franklin Aririguzoh ’19. Speaking on behalf of a USG subcommittee, he made a request for $3,000 for a fashion show in collaboration with the University Art Museum themed around the museum’s collection, designed to connect students with alumni in the industry.
The chamber passed Aririguzoh’s request unanimously with no abstentions.
The meeting was held on Sunday, Feb. 10 in Lewis Library 138 at 8 p.m.