With students sent home for the remainder of the 2020 spring semester, the University Student Government’s (USG) spending on social events planned for the rest of the term is going unused and will be returned to USG’s general budget.
In their second virtual meeting on Saturday, March 28, Social Chair Sophie Torres ’21 acknowledged the cancellation of spring Lawnparties and elaborated on USG’s plans for the funding that was initially allocated toward it.
USG was able to retrieve almost all of the money spent on Lawnparties, including a refund for the headliner, on the condition that the artist remains hired as lead act for the upcoming fall semester’s Lawnparties. The identity of the artist will not be revealed until the fall.
Torres explained that all of the refunded money from the artists and vendors will be absorbed back into USG’s general budget. Instead of allocating twice the originally planned amount of funds to the next academic year’s concerts, most of the surplus funding will support remote USG projects this semester, which will aim to bolster the University’s virtual community.
Torres noted a possibility that extra funding could support an expanded 2020 fall Lawnparties, which may feature advanced visuals or a musical opener.
At the meeting, the Senate brainstormed digital community building ideas, like “hiring a comedian to perform a show and hosting trivia nights, a cappella shows, and movie or game nights.”
Some of the spring budget has already been spent on supporting students logistically during the rapid move-out at the beginning of spring break; for example, USG chartered buses to transport students to Newark Liberty International Airport at no cost after the University asked most undergraduates to leave campus by Thursday, March 19, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
USG Treasurer Rachel Hazan ’21 added that most of the USG’s Projects Board budget, which finances student group events, went unspent. Hazan, who both manages the USG’s $100,000 spring Lawnparties budget and serves as co-chair of the Projects Board, cannot determine yet if the Projects Board or Lawnparties will receive extra funding next year.