UISG shifts budget to improve use of student dollars

After cutting unused phone lines, University of Iowa Student Government applied the saved money to organizations like the Womxn of Color Network and the Internal National Student Advisory Board.


Roman Slabach

The Old Capital from the roof of UIHC in Iowa City, Iowa on March 25, 2019.

Grace Culbertson, News Reporter

With a $180,000 budget this year, the University of Iowa Student Government once again began looking through their operation budget to find areas of improvement.  

Former UISG Cabinet Director Kyle Scheer worked on the budget, including areas relating to student organization phone lines. 

Scheer created a plan to cut unnecessary costs by taking inventory of which student organizations in the Student Organization Office Suites still use their office phones, he said. Student Organization Office Suites organizations include Dance Marathon, CAB, Fraternity and Sorority Life, and more. 

“There is just an increase of transparency in regards to money you can apply for,” Dance Marathon Executive Director Allison Stutting said. “We have a great relationship with student government — they’re always transparent.” 

Smaller pools of operational funds — including increased accessibility at campus events — received more support this year following this funding change. UISG provided the Womxn of Color Network with $3,000 for their events this school year. 

Other large allocations in the budget include the Association of Big Ten Students Conference, which received $10,000 from UISG. The Native American Student Association’s annual Powwow event also received $10,000 to encourage other partners to donate as well.

Scheer’s investigation found that several organizations rarely used their phones, he said.  

“They reached out to organizations with offices in the Student Organization Office Suite and asked about cutting the lines. I sent an ‘A-OK’ from CAB,” Campus Activities Board Executive Director Katie Rasmuson said. Rasmuson said any budget reductions were clearly coordinated between CAB and UISG. 

By cutting the unused phone lines, Scheer and UISG freed up $5,000 in their operational budget for other expenses.  

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The extra $5,000 allowed for a $250 addition to the UISG’s Board of Regents meeting funds for travel expenses.  

“Over the years, we’ve been interacting with the Board of Regents more and more, especially since they’ve been raising tuition, so it’s becoming more important for us to build those relationships,” Scheer said. “We raised that budget and that goes into transportation costs [for UISG].” 

UISG’s fund for student organization emergency equipment repairs also received more funding.  

“KRUI — the radio station — if their equipment broke, that’d be really bad,” Scheer said. “We created a fund so that if that were to happen, it’d be OK.” 

Additional budget cuts were taken in the UISG executive board salaries. The executives took pay cuts in order to pay for the communication team’s stipends without increasing the Student Activity Fee. 

“UISG has made improvements in [the budget] in the terms of making sure our money is going toward helping students,” Scheer said.