Current Undergraduate Finance Board Vice Chair Arjun Krishna Chopra ’25 will face off against UFB Representative Peter Tangikyan ’24 in this year’s race for UFB chair. UFB Representatives Ian Kim ’25 and Samuel Walhout ’25 are competing for the position of vice chair.
The voting period for UFB, the Undergraduate Council of Students and the Class Coordinating Board elections begins on March 17 at 12 p.m. and ends March 20 at 11:59 p.m., according to an email from the SGA. Students will be able to vote via an online form sent to their emails. The winning candidates will be announced on March 22, both via email and at the steps of the Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center, according to the SGA website.
‘I’d like the opportunity to finish the work I’ve started’: Arjun Krishna Chopra ’25
Chopra said he is running for UFB chair to finish reforms he and UFB Chair Amienne Spencer-Blume ’23 began to implement this year, as well as to carry out a “clean and seamless transition.”
“I'd like the opportunity to finish the work that I've started,” Chopra said, “so that these projects … don't get forgotten and don't die.”
To make a fee-free campus possible, Chopra also wants to continue advocating for an increase in the student activities fee, which will increase by $14 next year to “enable additional free student activities, encouraging wider and more equitable participation,” according to a Feb. 13 Today@Brown announcement from President Christina Paxson P’19 P’MD’20
Additionally, Chopra hopes to reallocate the Student Activities Fund to better reflect student opinions. “There’s certain categories of groups that are getting funded in a disproportionate way to other categories,” Chopra said, pointing to the Brown Concert Agency, the Ivy Film Festival and Brown Lecture Board, which together receive roughly $700,000 from the Student Activities Fund.
In reference to successes during his tenure, Chopra noted that student reimbursements have been expedited this year, being completed weeks more quickly than before.
Chopra also discussed the issue of gender diversity on UFB, which he said “ultimately comes down to outreach.” Of 12 elected members on UFB, two identify as women. Only two women are running for UFB positions this year.
“It's not that women aren't getting elected, it's that women aren’t running compared to the number of men that are running,” he said. “And UFB simply hasn't been doing the outreach that it needs to be doing,” he added.
Making ‘ideas a reality’: Peter Tangikyan ’24
Tangikyan, currently a UFB representative, described his experience working with more than 20 student groups “to make their ideas a reality” as a “fulfilling” one.
“I’m a first-generation student, so I understand the importance of equitable funding,” Tangikyan said.
As UFB chair, Tangikyan would seek to create a dedicated fund for culture groups’ banquets and concerts, which UFB has not always been able to fully fund, he said. Tangikyan added that he wants to help culture and performance groups with “problems like booking spaces and finding rooms on campus in order to do their shows or their events.”
Tangikyan also hopes to improve funding for club sports. Though UFB and UCS partnered to remove a requirement that previously required club sports teams to fundraise, Tangikyan said “that’s still not enough.”
“They need new mats, they need new equipment,” Tangikyan said of club sports teams. “I think it's fair to actually give them more funding.”
Tangikyan also wants to increase funding for BCA — and events a “majority” of students benefit from. Student-athletes, he noted, often do not have time to take part in clubs and do not otherwise benefit from the student activities fee.
As chair, Tangikyan also wants to prioritize making the reimbursement process faster, maintaining free laundry and funding carbon offsets for interested student groups.
To “promote diversity” on UFB, Tangikyan wrote in an email to The Herald that he supports adding non-elected positions to UFB, an idea UFB is currently considering — which he believes would “add new perspective to the board’s decisions.”
Candidates for vice chair
Kim, currently a UFB representative, said he wants to continue UFB’s support for club teams, while also supporting student performance groups — who can have trouble finding performance spaces — by opening performance locations that are “actually safe and accessible,” he said.
In order to build a community among students, Kim also plans to prioritize funding cultural events. “As a person of color myself, I really do miss my own cultural community. When I come to Brown, sometimes I'm not able to celebrate the same holidays as I am when I am back home, and I really want Brown to feel like home to everyone,” he said.
Kim is also proposing a newsletter similar to UCS’s to create more transparency and awareness among the student body about UFB.
Walhout, also a current UFB representative, wrote in his candidate statement he is running for vice chair because he wants to make the UFB budgeting process easier to navigate for those unfamiliar with the process.
“UFB is a very obscure thing and the process is really confusing,” Walhout said. “I really want to put in work to demystify it and make it really easy for people to use and interact with so (that) funding can be made equitable for everyone.”
Walhout added that he hopes to tackle the “knowledge differential” between established groups, which may have more “institutional knowledge” surrounding funding than “smaller, newer groups.”
As vice chair, Walhout would also prioritize creating a clear policy to establish what constitutes a “cultural group” — a decision which is currently “left up to individual students on (UFB)” — in order to increase equity in funding, he said.
To improve the organization’s diversity, Walhout said UFB should “continue reaching out to the wider campus community,” he said. “If everybody on campus knows that it's an opportunity, I think it will naturally start to reflect the diversity of the Brown student body.”
Clarification: This story has been updated to include the most up-to-date budget allocation data from the Undergraduate Finance Board.
Indigo Mudbhary is a University news senior staff writer covering student government. In her free time, she enjoys running around Providence and finding new routes.