Students’ union reports $96,000 ahead of budget

Despite underbudgeting and a $300,000 misallocation of funds following the sixth period in the union’s financial calendar, the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union is $96,000 ahead of budget.

“We were ahead of budget in a lot of our departments and we also had increased revenue in our business operations,” said Laura Sheridan, president of WLUSU, in response to the financial snapshot presented at the Nov. 20 board of directors’ meeting.

The Terrace and Wilf’s are ahead of budget by $18,301 and $52,889 respectively, which the union attributes to improvements to the establishments’ efficiency and new customer focus.

“Basically with the business operations a lot of them have been doing really well,” said Naz Abdulla, assistant vice-president of finance for WLUSU.

The increased enrolment of students this year has also provided more customers for on-campus business operations.

Abdulla explained that any excess revenue would be transferred to cover other areas of the budget.

“Our goal as a union is to meet that $328,000 discrepancy,” said Abdulla. The original budget for the 2009-10 school year included a misallocation of $300,000 that had failed to be calculated towards the campus clubs budget.

“It doesn’t mean that we’ve lost $300,000, all it means is that we have $300,000 less than what we expected to have through our budgets,” explained Sheridan.

The remainder of the under-budgeting includes the $25,000 market research that was passed at June’s board of directors’ meeting.

“We’re now at the worst situation budget-wise, but the actuals are looking 10 times better,” said Abdulla.

Although the union is ahead of budget, it will not be certain what the total unspent resources will be until the end of period 10.

“At that point, I will be able to say with perfect confidence that this is the way we’re going to end the year,” said Mike McMahon, general manager of WLUSU.

The Turret is also $19,000 ahead of budget after period six. This is a substantial improvement to last year when the business was losing money.

The increased revenue is attributed to the restructuring of the facility in eliminating the Friday nightclub night for special events bookings.

“We’re going to have to trade off nightclub business for the overall strategy of having an excellent student venue for concerts and everything else,” said McMahon.

Despite bringing in more revenue than expected, the budget for Turret this year was significantly lower than last year.

“When we did our budget we planned for the worst of the worst for the Turret,” said Abdulla.
The current structure of the Turret programming is most likely going to progress through the remainder of the year.

“It’s a more responsible program for the students’ union to offer,” said Sheridan.

New digital sign
– WLUSU will be installing a new sign outside the entrance to the Fred Nichols Campus Centre.
– Cost: $42,000
– Capital expenditure is funded by the student life levy and the special projects fund that is to complete the remainder of the quad construction.
– Goal is to use the sign to provide information on events, services and programming.