UISG passes budget for second First-Gen Summit

UISG senators voted to fund the second “I’m the First” First-Generation Summit, following a veto by Pres. Hira Mustafa on the previous budget.


Lily Smith

UISG Senator Alexia Sanchez (third from left) speaks during a UISG meeting in the IMU Black Box Theater on Tuesday, February 26, 2019.

Rylee Wilson, News Reporter

University of Iowa Student Government senators voted on Tuesday to fund the second “I’m the First” First-Generation Summit for $18,250.

UISG President Hira Mustafa had vetoed the previous attempt to fund the summit, and senators did not overturn the veto.

The Tuesday legislation passed unanimously.

The new proposal includes nearly $5,000 less than the original bill, which budgeted the summit at $23,200. The new bill cut $2,500 in catering for lunch, $1,000 in photography fees, $450 from marketing, and $1,000 from materials fees.

External funding aside from the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership and Associated Residence Halls will contribute most of the $5,000 cut from the UISG bill.

One of the most contentious items of debate was the $1,000 allocated to an outside photographer in the original bill. The new bill allocates $500 for an outside photographer, paid for by Associated Residence Halls rather than UISG.

RELATED: UISG president vetoes First-Generation Summit legislation

The authors of the bill indicated that they would continue to partner with sources outside of UISG in their legislation.

“‘I’m the First’ is an opportunity for our community to learn about first-generation students’ trailblazing experiences in navigating and persevering through college as well as provide a space for networking, mentorship, and connection,” the legislation stated. “In order for the summit to be successful, UISG will allocate funds and garner support from other UI campus partners to sustain these efforts. Collaboration among all these parties is imperative for the success of the summit.”

In a Feb. 21 interview with The Daily Iowan, UI VP for Student Life Melissa Shivers said UISG has a difficult task in balancing student dollars with student interests.

“I also think that [Mustafa] and UISG have a very challenging job in making sure that they are thoughtful and intentional about the ways that resources are used,” Shivers said. “And I feel very confident that they will be able to find a middle ground, so that the program the First Gen Summit can continue and will be successful, I believe, for many years to come.”

The summit, the first of its kind at a state Board of Regents institution, aims to support first-generation students, who make up 21 percent of current first-year student population.

In a previous interview with the DI, UISG Director of Academic Affairs Tristan Schmidt said funding the summit is imperative to supporting first-gen students on campus.

RELATED: UISG upholds veto on First-Generation Summit funding following budget concerns

“First-gen students make up about one-fifth to one-fourth of an undergraduate class, and this is really important to those students,” he said. “Those students have various background identities, and sometimes it’s hard to shape what that experience on campus is like. To provide a space to bring people to share that experience is required in order for students to feel as if they’re being supported on campus.”

Funding for the summit comes from UISG’s contingency fund, made up of funds from the Student Activity Fee. The fund must be spent down to between $120,000 and $60,000 before the end of the legislative session later this spring.

UISG voted to fund the University Lecture Committee with $10,000 from the contingency fund on Feb. 19 and voted to fund UI Libraries Open Educational Resources initiative with $25,000 on Feb. 26.