ASG, club budget approvals delayed until mid-October

Due to lack of participation, funds for clubs are deferred until ASG senate seats are filled for a quorum.

After one month into the semester, Allegheny Student Government has yet to begin regular weekly meetings and budget hearings.

ASG President Abdikadir Lugundi, ’21, explained that, because senate and cabinet elections did not occur during the spring semester, they had to be held this semester. Meetings were also further postponed by the lack of senate applications. 

“Right now, we’re just wrapping up senate elections and I’m hoping to fill in the class years that, for some reason, didn’t want to participate (in senate elections),” Lugundi said. “(We’re) trying to get everything together so ASG can fully start moving as one, so student participation is very important.”

The newly appointed ASG advisor, Regional Advancement Officer & Assistant Director of Gift Planning Matthew Bocchi, explained that the postponement of elections was primarily decided by the previous senate. 

“The Senate from last year decided it wouldn’t be fair to hold elections virtually, just given access and equity among students, and it just really would not be beneficial,” Bocchi said. “So, obviously that puts us a little bit behind of where we’d like to be. (However), as of now, the polls are closed and we will have our first meeting (on Tuesday, Oct. 6).”  

According to Bocchi, no club budgets have been approved because of the lack of an elected senate. 

“We can’t approve budgets because then it would just be a dictatorship more or less, and (Lugundi) and (Vice President Patricia Gaxiola, ’21) don’t want that,” Boochi said. “They want it to go through the proper process. So again, (we’re) compressing the timeline a little bit to get that money out to clubs.”

Lugundi hopes to hold budget hearings by the end of October after the cabinet is approved by the senate and proper training is completed. 

Clubs, however, are experiencing postponements because of the lack of budget hearings. 

President of the esports team Jacob Walters, ’21, explained that the absence of meetings has prevented the team from continuing the process of making the club official through ASG. 

“Because ASG is not meeting normally, we’re not able to go in and propose a constitution,” Walters said. “At the same time, there’s a pandemic going on and ASG has a lot of other things to worry about.” 

Not having a budget or being approved as an official club has impeded esports from joining tournaments and becoming an official club sport. 

“We have only been able to participate in one tournament because in order to join tournaments you need a budget, and we haven’t been able to get a budget because we can’t get through ASG,” Walters said. “This semester, the biggest fear is not getting a budget or any sort of money to join the league because, if league sign-ups pass and we haven’t signed up yet, that’s another year that we are inactive as a club and it’s a waste of money to the school.”

Despite this, Lugundi explained that ASG has been transparent to clubs about the process and delays. 

“(ASG bookkeeper) Stacy (Gerber) sent out a mass email to all the clubs and organizations,” Lugundi said. “I think we addressed most of the questions they had and (explained) that this is just a ripple effect of us having to leave campus (last semester).”

In order for the budget hearing process to go smoothly, clubs also need to make sure they have good communication between them and their executive boards, said Bocchi.

“If folks don’t know that their budgets haven’t been approved, I would say that might be a communication issue with their executive boards, from the clubs,” Bocchi said. “But I think there’s been a lot of communication and if folks haven’t gotten it, that’s something to bring to our attention, but we’re moving as fast as we can.”

Despite the setbacks, both the president and vice president expressed enthusiasm about starting meetings. 

“We’re just excited to get everything finally in action,” Gaxiola said. “There has been a lot of holding back since we have to get (through) a lot of technicalities and just doing the whole process takes time as well. There were a lot of challenges. So now we’re excited to finally be done with senate elections and to finally start doing what we said we were going to do on this campus.”