On Monday, April 1, the Union Annual Report Committee launched a website that provides students with an easy way to view the details of the Union budget. Each year, the UAR Committee releases a report that details the Union budget, which allows students to view the finances of the Executive Board. However, the length of the document deters many students.
“The UAR Committee puts out the report, which goes over the whole budget. The point of the website is to make it easier for students to access it,” said chair of the committee and Senate/E-Board Liaison Gretchen Sileo ’14. “So, it’s a lot of the same information in a more condensed form, and it’s more understandable.”
The website was designed by Senator Roland Judd ’14, and the UAR Committee has been working on it for about a month.
The website also differentiates between graduate and undergraduate students in its breakdown of the activity fee allocation.
“The website is supposed to be interactive. If you’re an undergraduate, it will show you what parts [the activity fee] is going to, how much it is, and the same for a graduate student,” said Sileo. “It does that by income and expenses.”
The point of the UAR and the website is to allow students to hold the Executive Board liable for all their expenditures.
“By making available the details of each budget, the UAR holds the Executive Board accountable to the student body and shows students exactly where their activity fee goes,” states the website.
“The main point of the UAR is to give students an idea of where their money is going,” said Sileo. “The website is a more simple version. It helps increase transparency between the student government and students.”
The current UAR runs at about 28 pages, so the website displays this in a much more user-friendly format. Highlights of the UAR include a new marketing director, a multicultural lounge, and all intramurals are now free, with the exception of ice hockey.
The website includes the numerical breakdown for the income and expenses of the Union. Forty-one percent ($1,694,530) of the budget goes towards the Athletics Department, which includes supporting NCAA Division I and III sports, such as Men’s Ice Hockey. 65 percent of the Union income comes from the Union bookstore. RPI’s Student Bookstore is owned completely by the Student Union. 20 percent of the budget funds the standard expenses of the Union Administration Office, for example, the salaries of Administration Office employees. The Union’s food services, like the McNeil Room and Rathskellar, return a portion of their profits to the Union; this makes up 9 percent of the overall Union income.
For more information about the website, contact Sileo via e-mail at email@example.com or visit the website itself at http://uar.union.rpi.edu/.