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Payne: ASG Lacking Budget, Involvement

Payne said he intends to change the ASG's focus by increasing its presence on each of the system's 16 campuses and boosting the group's budget. He said the organization will become an information resource for and interact more with the student governments of the UNC system.

Student body presidents also will be involved in more of the group's decisions.

"You're going to see more work done through the Council of Student Body Presidents," Payne said.

The Council of Student Body Presidents is a branch of the ASG that meets sporadically with UNC-system officials to discuss various student issues.

As ASG president, Payne is a non-voting member of the Board of Governors, which helps set policy for the 16 UNC-system campuses. Payne is the only student on the board, so concerns discussed at ASG meetings are often relayed through him to system policy makers.

UNC-Chapel Hill Student Body President Justin Young said he is looking forward to becoming more involved in the ASG.

"There are 16 of us across the state, and that's at least 16 voices that should be heard in some way," Young said.

Payne said his effort to boost ASG involvement on campuses is intertwined with an effort to improve the organization's reputation.

"I think the biggest thing that I learned last year is how the ASG is perceived on different campuses," Payne said. "Some see it as an organization of tremendous value, while others see it as a glorified social club."

Payne also said the ASG will explore the feasibility of a mandatory, refundable fee for each student in the UNC system.

For example, Payne said, all students could automatically be charged $1 to fund the ASG but could go to their cashiers' offices to receive their money back if they wished. The fee would replace the $250 that each student government now pays to the ASG to fund the organization.

Payne said, "We need to increase our budget to effectively represent the students of this university."

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