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SafeWalk gets funding back from Student Congress

In a finance committee meeting Monday night, members of Student Congress passed a bill to allocate $25,000 to SafeWalk, the Student Government initiative that promotes safety for UNC students. Before Monday, the program had owed about $20,000 to Student Congress.

Finance committee chairman Josh Aristy said it was important to offer financial help to the program for it to become more economically sustainable.

“We really do care about SafeWalk, so we want to make sure that they can survive in the best way possible,” Aristy said.

The money comes from the Student Government reversions balance, which includes any funds allotted to student groups that went unspent by the end of the academic year. Student Body Treasurer Brittany Best said it’s not uncommon to end up with a lot left in the reversions balance.

“At the end of the year there will be some money that hasn’t been spent, and all that reverts back on the last day of the fiscal year,” she said. “We have $116,000 in reversions, which is a high number.”

Ryan Darge, SafeWalk’s program and finance director, said he is confident that the more sustainable economic plan for SafeWalk will prevent future debt.

“I don’t think we’ll reach a point ever again where there’s a deficit because the plan that we’ve put in place over the past few weeks will counteract that,” he said.

Best said the student safety and security committee’s organizational issues have caused confusion about who’s responsible for funding SafeWalk.

“Josh (Aristy) and I are going to go to (the student safety and security committee) and basically say, ‘Hey, time to pay us back,’ because we’re basically fronting safety and security this money since they can’t meet yet without a chair,” she said. “This is a situation that needs to be rectified, and we don’t want SafeWalk to be punished because of this situation. It’s our responsibility to fix this.”

No matter who ends up paying the $25,000, Aristy said SafeWalk wouldn’t be expected to pay it back.

“It’s essentially a grant, but we’re gonna be getting that money back from safety and security, and if not, for whatever reason, then it will just be a grant,” he said.

Best said even if the student safety and security committee fails to reimburse the finance committee, giving the $25,000 to SafeWalk will not be a waste.

“Because SafeWalk is obviously very, very important on campus, I personally feel that if they can get one student home that wouldn’t have gotten there otherwise, it’s worth every penny,” she said.

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