Auraria PB Steering Committee

The Auraria PB steering committee strove for racial, gender, and campus affiliation equity. This student-comprised committee was tasked with creating the rules for the Auraria PB process as well as serving as ambassadors for the process during its implementation. Members of the steering committee could serve as co-chairs, regular members, or advisory members.

Co-chairs constituted an executive team of the committee and took the lead in planning agendas, scheduling/organizing meetings, and facilitating meetings. They also served as the primary liaisons to other campus bodies, such as student government and various administrative departments. For their efforts, each co-chair was provided a $750 stipend. There were six co-chairs, and although the group initially strove for two representatives, a lack of participation from MSU led to only one co-chair from that school, with the open co-chair seat going to a student from UCD.

Regular members attended monthly meetings organized by the co-chairs and provided the backbone of volunteer support to the process. They helped recruit PB participants at various stages of the process, volunteered to table during idea collection and voting events, and participated and voted in deliberations when the committee made decisions about process rules, outreach, and other matters. For their work, regular members were paid a $250 stipend.

Finally, advisory members of the steering committee were those who wanted to be involved in the process but could not dedicate significant amounts of time to perform the duties expected of regular members or co-chairs. Advisory members were invited to attend as many committee meetings as possible and were kept abreast of various volunteer opportunities. They were allowed to vote on committee decisions if they were present at the meeting when the vote occurred. Advisory members were not compensated during the process.

In total, 14 students served on the steering committee:

  • 6 co-chairs, 3 regular members, and 5 advisory members

  • 7 were from UCD, 4 were from MSU, and 3 were from CCD

  • Committee members were evenly split between men and women

  • People of color were overrepresented on the committee, compared to Denver’s population

  • All committee members were 20–34 years old

  • Members were evenly divided between sophomores and seniors. Two graduate students were on the committee, and there were no freshmen

The committee met four times before the start of classes in the fall of 2018 and then met at least monthly starting in September 2018. The steering committee established rules for the PB process that were unique to the Auraria campus but also drew from democratic and social justice principles of PB more generally.

Committee member activity levels were uneven during the process. Although co-chairs worked to plan and facilitate meetings early in the process, the compressed timeline of the Auraria PB process and the co-chairs’ other responsibilities caused support staff from Project VOYCE to take the lead in scheduling, planning, and facilitating committee meetings later in the semester. Additionally, many advisory members did not attend meetings once classes started. However, an official roster was not kept because there was no process for removing any steering committee member, nor were their explicit rules about how much one had to contribute to remain on the committee.

Auraria PB Rules

The Auraria PB steering committee invested considerable time to deliberate and vote upon rules for the process. These rules included:

Phase I: Idea Collection

  • Anyone, including students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members could submit a project idea. No restrictions were placed on age, citizenship/immigration status, or criminal record. Participants could submit project ideas online or in-person.

  • Passersby could submit project ideas in person at an Auraria PB table stationed on campus and staffed by student volunteers. Approximately 10 students contributed 16.5 volunteer hours to tabling for idea collection. The locations of the table varied to boost engagement from diverse campus community members.

Phase II: Project Proposal Development

  • Only students enrolled in classes at the time of the Auraria PB cycle were eligible to be budget delegates. 29 students volunteered to join 4 budget delegate committees

  • Each budget delegate committee had two student co-chairs who led the committee

  • Eligible projects could not cost more than $30,000, had to benefit all Auraria students, could be implemented within a year’s time, and could not be deemed unfeasible by campus administrators or other campus advisors.

  • Voting was held in-person and online for 2 weeks in November–December 2018

  • Only currently enrolled Auraria students were allowed to vote in the process. No limits were placed on age, immigration/citizenship status, or criminal record

  • 12 projects made it onto the ballot, and participants could vote for four projects

  • The highest-voted projects received funding until the $30,000 was exhausted

Phase III: Voting

  • Winning projects were submitted to appropriate campus departments so that they could be implemented

  • Budget delegates could choose to work with campus staff to help implement the winning projects

  • Project VOYCE staff were tasked with tracking implementation progress and posting updates online