USG approves money for International Ballroom in Iowa Memorial Union

The Undergraduate Student Government passed legislation confirming its support in covering the costs of the ballroom’s renovation at its Tuesday meeting.


Matt Sindt

Senators listen at a University Student Government meeting Sept. 27, 2022.

Archie Wagner, News Reporter

The University of Iowa Undergraduate Student Government passed legislation to take on a portion of the cost of renovations for the second-floor ballroom at the Iowa Memorial Union at its meeting on Tuesday. The renovations are meant to honor international students at UI. 

Sen. Marco Oceguera proposed the legislation as part of USG’s effort to reestablish funds into the usual boundaries for allotted spending. 

“We have a range of numbers we have to be in with $80,000 being the floor and $120,000 being the ceiling. We are doing a lot of spend down to get down to the $120,000 ceiling,” Oceguera said. “This one specifically has to do with funding the new International Ballroom in the IMU.”

The finance committee of USG has a plan for contingency funds each year that is separate from the general USG account and often requires additional spending, referred to as “spend down”, to stay within the agreed upon boundaries. 

Oceguera said the total monetary support in the legislation for the ballroom was $8,000.  

RELATED: USG approves student fee hike to help finance Iowa Memorial Union renovations 

The International Ballroom’s funding is a joint effort by the Office of the President, International Programs, the Iowa Memorial Union, in addition to Undergraduate Student Government and Graduate and Professional Student Government. 

Bill Nelson, associate dean and executive director of the Iowa Memorial Union, was present at the USG meeting via Zoom. Nelson said the majority of the costs come from the labor of renovating the ballroom.

“Expenses are about the labor to install the purchase, and we had to purchase 150 

brackets, 150 poles,” Nelson said. “The labor costs, of all of that together, there’s about $32,000 to $38,000. Everything hasn’t been finalized yet.” 

The flags are currently mounted in the ballroom, Nelson said. 

Director of Finance for USG Robert Jepsen met with Nelson in addition to other university administration to come up with the spend down plan and included items such as the ballroom. The renovations specifically warranted the renaming of the space to the International Ballroom, Jepsen said.

“It’s my understanding that it was to redesign the ballroom to make it more accessible, as well as to promote more international events,” he said. 

Prior to this meeting, it was assumed by creators of the International Ballroom that USG would help out with monetary support, Jepsen said. 

“This is something that is USG proving its commitment to international students here in Iowa,” he said. “Now that it is done, USG is saying yes, we do stand by our commitment. We’re going to help.” 

The International Ballroom will host a dedication on Nov. 11th from 4:30 pm to 6 pm. UI President Barbara Wilson along with representatives from USG and Graduate and Professional Student Government will give remarks at the ceremony.

A previous version of this article misstated the amount of money that the student government would allocate toward ballroom renovations. The student government approved allocation of $8,000 toward renovations, not $80,000 as previously stated. The DI regrets this error.