Students’ Union budget reveals loss of income
The financial statements for the 2011/2012 school year were presented by Michael Onabolu, president and CEO of Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union, to the board of directors on Jan. 25. This was an unconventional time for the statements to be released, as they are typically given to the Board of Directors for review in the fall.
Onabolu said that he knew in advance that it would be delayed and this was communicated to the board prior, and according to Onabolu, the later release of the statements will not significantly impact the board.
Seth Warren, a member of the board, confirmed this.
“The fact is we’ve gotten it in time, and that’s the thing that’s really important for us,” he said. “We have plenty of time to make sure that it’s a reasonable interpretation.”
‘In time’ refers to the board’s deadline to approve the statements before the upcoming WLUSU election. As for the content of the statements, according to Onabolu, it was “nothing too different from past years”.
Auditors went over the statements and found no errors. When questioned about the revenue and expenses, Onabolu admitted that they were significantly lower than past years.
“It was just in the way that we approached what was included in revenues and expenses for 2011 and 2012 as opposed to 2011 and 2010,” Onabolu explained.
For example, student life levy money would usually flow through the Students’ Union, with the dollar value remaining unchanged.
This year, however, the levy wasn’t included in the statements.
Warren emphasized the fact that both revenues and expenses went down equivalently. This was due to a number of factors that Onabolu said were nothing he didn’t anticipate.
“That was the year we started to work with Aramark as an operator [in the Terrace] so there was a change from the fact that we saw a lot of revenue come from the Terrace whereas now we just see a commission,” he explained, citing the Terrace as one example.
The flood in Wilf’s in the fall of 2011 also resulted in the business being shut down for a term in the fall of 2011, which was another factor.
Warren also said that WLUSU is a non-profit organization, and that this means that financials aren’t a key aspect.
“For us, they’re not our key indicators of success,” he continued. “Our key indicators are really immeasurable because they’re…based on our ends.”
He explained that, in his opinion, what is the most important is that they are bringing in more benefits and services to students.
Onabolu gave his final remarks on the statements as he said, “It wasn’t as good as we’ve seen in the past, but I definitely think there’s potential to do better in the future. Especially with some of the business decisions that we’re looking to make in the next couple of years.”