New projects gain approval

Study rooms were funded by the first third of the Student Life Levy. (Photo by: Heather Davidson)
Study rooms were funded by the first third of the Student Life Levy. (Photo by: Heather Davidson)

After meetings that transpired last semester, the Student Life Levy (SLL) committee has now allocated the second third of the levy funds to projects. $253,659 is being put towards six projects that are aimed at enhancing the student experience on campus and will take affect this term.

The largest sums of money are going towards a Student “Wellness Centre” Renovation Project, which is receiving $125,000, and Outdoor Gathering Spaces, which is receiving $44,642.

Additionally, $4,851 will be going to an Anti-Stigma Video-Laurier Mental Health Series, $40,000 to a John Aird Centre Faculty of Music Student Lounge, $30,465 to a Virtual Supplemental

Instruction (S.I.) Pilot: Bringing Peer-to-Peer Academic and Course Support Online and $3,850 to a Global Change-Local Landscapes: Seeing and Sharing Waterloo Region Through New Eyes.

This phase of the process had students submit proposals. 27 project applications were submitted in total.

The approval process for the project applications began with the committee going through each application individually to ensure that the proper criterion was met.

“We make sure all applicants are cognizant of the non-tuition fee protocol, which means we don’t want to fund things that are covered by the university, such as towards the building of academic buildings,” pointed out Roly Webster, executive director and chief operating officer of the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union. “We ensure that the money is going to make a difference and improve student life on campus.”

“As a committee we had discussions to see if all the criteria following what SLL projects should be doing for students and to ensure the cost-breakdown was appropriate and feasible for the projects,” said Annie Constantinescu, Students’ Union president.

Commenting on projects that may not have been selected for funding, the Students’ Union board of directors chair and chief governance officer Jordan Epstein said, “If the committee is not approving projects, it could just be in their current condition, but the overall project could get funding outside of the SLL committee. Very rarely was it a flat-out ‘no’ to funding projects or not seeing the possibility of others.”

In addition to the change that was made to split the levy into thirds to be distributed to projects throughout the year, Webster explained that they changed the application process for student projects this year as well.

“In the past it was not the most student-friendly process. We would ask students things they might not know, such as index codes. We changed the structure to ensure that projects could be approved without such knowledge available to students.”

Looking at its importance on campus, Epstein pointed to the uniqueness of SLL in how it allows students to voice their opinions.

“It gives students ownership over their campus. It is one of the very few funding models where students have the majority of the vote. It also allows for the SLL committee to set priorities as to what the students want.”

Webster sees the importance of SLL and how the projects reflect back on the students themselves.

“There are always struggles as a student for funding, whether personal or department-wise. SLL is a way for students to pursue projects to enhance their experience on campus without having to worry about the cost of doing so,” he said.

The next and last third of the levy funds will be considered at a committee meeting taking place in March.

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