GSA donates to CMU endowment

Credit: Juan Fernandez/Staff Credit: Juan Fernandez/Staff

The Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) recently voted to contribute $175,000 from its capital reserve funds to the official Carnegie Mellon endowment.

As GSA president and economics Ph.D. student Jason Imbrogno wrote in the official announcement of this decision, “This is a testament to both the strength of our graduate student body and its leadership. I venture to say that nowhere else in the world is another student government wrestling with such significant decisions that can impact their university communities to such a high degree.”

Imbrogno thanked GSA Vice President for Finance Will Boney, Vice President for Campus Affairs Michael Murphy, and GSA Vice President for Finance Grace Heckmann for their assistance in this process.

Andy Schultz, materials science Ph.D. student and Vice President for Campus Affairs for the GSA, preferred to frame the contribution in terms of an investment rather than a donation.

“The GSA will get income from interest on that money, which can be used to fund activities,” Schultz explained. “This money directly benefits graduate students immediately.”

Electrical and computer engineering Ph.D. student Peter Klemperer said that he was “a little surprised that GSA had that much money left over” for such a donation.

The GSA capital reserve has increased in size over the past few years due to unspent student activities fees and budget surpluses, and Imbrogno has stated that spending down the surplus in this account would be a main goal of his presidency.

Heckmann said in an email that prior to the donation, there had been about $220,000 in the GSA capital reserve.

Klemperer had greater support for the idea of collecting interest on the money, which he said he had not previously been aware of. “That wasn’t explained at all that way in the email from the GSA president,” he said. Klemperer still expressed concern over the quantity of funds the GSA had sitting in the capital reserve account.

Imbrogno stated in the same announcement that the GSA would also appropriate $35,000 from the capital reserve account for a new campus bike rack project. Schultz explained that the choice to fund the new bike rack project resulted from a survey sent around last year asking for input on what the GSA should fund.

“The resounding answer was bike racks,” Schultz said.

The project is currently being overseen by a committee consisting of GSA members, Undergraduate Student Senate representatives, and faculty members. It includes the plans to create a bike station in currently available space in the Gates Center garage.

Schultz concluded that the funds and interest gained from this contribution would “go toward projects that would benefit graduate students for a long time.”