Student Association calls on University to cover more EMeRG costs

The leader of the Student Association Finance Committee is asking the University to put more money toward EMeRG.

The student-run emergency medical unit receives most of its funds from the University, but typically picks up a few thousand dollars each year from the SA Finance Committee, which allocates funds from student fees. But this year, EMeRG requested about $13,000 for new uniforms, $6,000 to lease a new Ford Explorer for use on the Mount Vernon Campus and $800 for a new laptop for record-keeping.

EMeRG received $8,000 from the SA this year, a $3,000 hike from last year. The funds are meant to cover “non-essential” expenses, while GW picks up its necessary costs.

Alex Mizenko, the chair of the finance committee, said the costs should not come out of students’ pockets.

“I was shocked to find what kind of things that EMeRG was requesting,” Mizenko said. “I just don’t think these are costs the students should be funding through what is supposed to be a student activity fee.”

Mizenko said the SA increased its financial support for the student-run ambulance service to show “commitment to student health,” but said it would not be sustainable to continue upping the group’s funding in future years.

The finance committee chair said he was willing to support the group’s programming, like its CPR classes, but said the SA should not pay for new members’ uniforms.

The finance committee has given EMeRG between $6,000 and $8,000 in recent years. But the SA cannot direct specific expenditures for any organizations it funds.

EMeRG typically transports about 30 students a week to the hospital, saving students an $800 charge for D.C. Fire and EMS’s service.

EMeRG coordinator Stephen Gerber said the University put forward the funding for operational costs, like $12,000 for a second ambulance and supplies, “without any trouble.”

Gerber said he does not think EMeRG’s requests were extraordinary, because the group asked for funding for the EMS Day showcase, which takes place in Kogan Plaza.

“Over the years, EMeRG has increasingly been seen as an essential service of the University, and the University has graciously provided funding for our organization accordingly,” Gerber said.

Student groups requested $3.3 million dollars this semester from the finance committee, which had only $940,000 dollars to give out. Mizenko said he was worried about the growing number of student organizations, which is nearing 500. Earlier this month, he proposed the SA increase student fees by $1 per credit hour to double their existing budget.

Darrell Darnell, the senior associate vice president of safety and security, said uniforms are “non-essential items” for EMeRG, and said the University would not purchase them for the group.

“The University fully supports EMeRG and believes it provides a vital and important service that enhances the safety of our students and the GW community,” Darnell said.

Other student organization leaders, including co-executive producer for the Generic Theatre Company Rachel Bell, called out the SA for funding EMeRG’s extra expenses.

“EMeRG needs to be an entity of the University that is completely separate from the Student Association,” she said.

The SA’s allocation decisions went out Monday, but groups have until Oct. 1 to appeal for additional funds. The allocations bill will reach the Senate floor Oct. 1 for approval.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.