WLUSU approves new budget

The Wilfrid Laurier Students’ Union operating budget for 2010-11 year was unanimously approved by the board of directors on April 30.

The new budget, while not significantly altered from last year, was approached differently than in years past and aims to achieve a more defined and succinct set of goals.

Totalling nearly $1 million, with only a negligible decrease from last year, the budget introduced greater decentralization of WLUSU’s Waterloo and Brantford operations, with Brantford receiving a greater share of funds than previously.

“What we tried to do this year was ensure that Brantford funds were benefiting Brantford students, likewise in Waterloo,” explained WLUSU president Kyle Walker. “Now we’ve narrowed down where the funds are coming from and where they’re going.”

For the first time, no interim budget was passed for the summer and rather than waiting until June to release a budget for the entire fiscal year, it was passed much earlier. Since the incoming management team were able to work along with their predecessors to draft this budget, an interim budget was not seen as necessary.

“We had an amazing transition opportunity available by working with everyone together on the budget,” noted WLUSU general manager Mike McMahon. He emphasized how effective the collaboration between incoming and outgoing groups was and will be as this approach continues.

“This strategy will allow us to produce an even better budget on an even better timeline next year because of what we learned this year.”

With few returning board members examining the budget, McMahon outlined the aim of this budget process. “For our team the goal was to create a more transparent budget for the board,” he said.

“So the board could fully understand and walk away with more confidence on what they’d approved.”

When the budget came before the board for approval, few questions were raised and board members seemed to have a clear impression of its contents.

“When we did pass it, I looked it over and it looked fine, the changes didn’t look like they were significant enough to raise any red flags,” second-time director Greg Evans pointed out about the budget’s clarity that let the board pass it unanimously in five minutes.

McMahon explained the importance of the board having a firm grasp of the budget they approve. “I believe that the confidence directors have coming out of the process is contagious, just like a lack of confidence can be contagious.”

Through comprehensive market research completed last year, WLUSU arrived at four new ends or goals for the budget to focus on. By defining new areas to focus attention in its services for students, WLUSU replaced the nine loosely-defined ends previously employed.

“The new ends mean that we really know what students want to see out of WLUSU now, so we know what to put more money towards,” said Evans.

“Students want more advocacy for example, so we’ve put more towards advocacy this year than we would have had we not known.”

McMahon characterized the upcoming year as one of planning as WLUSU evaluates its role.

“The findings from the market research report are very challenging for the organization and are going to drive us to a great strategic plan,” he said. “It challenges us to communicate better.”

“Students are finding different things more valuable than when we did the last market research report – which was never.”

The new budget, by the numbers:

$976,615
Total WLUSU budget 2010-11

$26,915
Budget for next WLUSU election

$30,964
Increase in Brantford budget

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