This semester, the Weber State University Student Senate has changed how it handles its budget. Instead of each senator getting a separate amount of money, the money will be compiled into a collective budget that the entire senate will use.
During the meeting on Monday, the senate voted on its first request for money. Every time a senator wants to receive some money, he or she must create a bill that senate then discusses and votes on.
“It will make us more accountable for the (student) fees that we spend because we are over all of student fees on campus,” said Brady Harris, the WSU Student Association legislative vice president.
Before the senate voted on the first bill, it first had to change a senate rule. Usually bills are presented one week in the senate meeting and then voted on in the next meeting. The senate voted to change these rules to allow bills that request funding below $100 to be voted on the same day they are presented to the senate.
Harris said the reason for the budget change is because the focus of the senate has changed.
“We used to focus more on individual areas and not campus-wide changes,” he said. “But over the last few years, that focus has changed to campus-wide issues.”
Each senator used to have an individual budget of around $200 but, because of these changes to senate, some senators would use their entire budgets, while other senators would use hardly any money at all.
The budget this year will go mostly to things like posters and other ways to advertise, according to Harris.
“It’s mostly to help us get out to the students,” he said. “What I’m going to use it for this year is to make sure we are visible out there to the student body so they know who they can go to when they have an issue on campus.”
The first bill requesting money was presented by Lam Nguyen, the College of Health Professions senator. He requested $60 to buy food for his health professions area council meeting. The senate voted on the bill by roll call and it passed unanimously.
“I personally like this year’s budget system better,” said Kelsey Spaulding, the College of Applied Sciences and Technology senator. “It’s easier to see what people are doing; it can be up for debate and to have the treasurer active in our view, rather than just one on one with the senator.”
Spaulding said that last year, the senators had to check their budgets with the treasurer, but the other senators didn’t notice because it didn’t affect their personal budgets. She said it will now be more closely watched and senators will be more likely to ask each other where the money will be going.
Each senator fills out a money request form and then presents the bill to the senate. The senate then debates and votes on the bill. If it is passed, Harris has the opportunity to veto the vote. The senate can override the veto with a three-fourths vote.
The treasurer, Mina Eastes, who is also the College of Business and Economics senator, then verifies the funds. Eastes was appointed as the treasurer a few weeks ago.
“I just really wanted the opportunity to do it,” Eastes said.