WLUSU board meeting summary

The Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union had their first board meeting of the school year this past Friday and many topics were brought to the table.

After the meeting was called to order at 2:31 p.m., and it lasted approximately one hour and a half.

The first announcement was the creation of two new positions – one in marketing and one in logistics – to work with the chief returning officer (CRO), the person who oversees WLUSU’s February elections.

The meeting continued with an update on WLUSU.com.

The website, which began its restructuring last year, is currently in its final phase of construction.

Currently, vice-president of public affairs Joel Robinson and marketing and communications manager Phil Champagne are working to update information on the website’s front page and aim to have everything functioning properly as soon as possible.

Campus clubs are still not able to link their websites to WLUSU.com.

In an update on the Information Communication Technology (ICT) report, WLUSU President Laura Sheridan announced that she is the student representative for the report and asked that all complaints from students be sent to her so that she can bring them to the committee.

The board of directors remained fairly quiet and reserved until the issues of the Nipissing iTeach fee, the Grant Fund re-evaluation and the budget misallocation came up.

These issues sparked heated discussion and questioning, especially by directors Michael Onabolu, Chris Oberle, Jordan Hyde and Jackie Dobson.

Market research

The market research project is moving forward and is now receiving student input through very small focus groups which met last week to discuss issues that students might want answered in the market research.

A survey will be compiled based on the results of the focus groups and will be released to students as early as Friday. A longer, more complex survey will be compiled afterwards and distributed to students later in the year.

Changes to the grant fund

The grant fund will now be more accessible to all Laurier students, as it was previously given primarily to students going abroad for volunteer missions.

The grant fund is available for any student to apply for through university affairs, and a committee can allocate money if the student is proposing to enhance the general culture on campus.

One of the main reasons for the re-evaluation is that many students haven’t even heard of the fund; there is up to $15,000 to be given to students.

WLUSU vice-president of university affairs Kory Preston, chairs the committee that decides whether to approve the proposals submitted by students.

Budget misallocation

In completing their budget for the 2009-10 operating year, WLUSU left out a component of annual expenses. The campus clubs and facility base expense, which equals approximately $300,000, was not included in the budget because of an oversight.

While board members expressed serious concern over this issue, which prompted much discussion, administration assured everyone that the matter was being taken very seriously and it would not have a major impact on students.

More will be known after the next board meeting regarding where adjustments to the budget will be made.

Videoconferencing officially scrapped

The meeting concluded with the board formally withdrawing the videoconferencing project, which had been pending on further details from management. The project was conditionally approved at the June operating budget meeting.

Videoconferencing capabilities were supposed to be installed in the WLUSU boardroom to allow easier communications with the Brantford campus.

The motion to permanently withdraw the project passed unanimously.

Sustainability office update

The newly developed sustainability office at Laurier is currently in the process of hiring its co-ordinator and will soon be ready to open its doors for operation.

WLUSU is working with the university to finalize an agreement about the terms of the office; specifically where the fees paid to the university will go and how students will remain involved.

“The office itself will be a university office that will be working within physical resources, but it’s going to be funded by students,” said Sheridan.

“So we want to make sure that there’s something in writing in this agreement about how students will remain involved.”

While the office itself is ready to start running, the timeline for its opening now depends on how many applications are received and how fast the hiring process can be completed.

– Andrea Millet

New WLU student congress

This year, Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union president Laura Sheridan developed a student congress that aims to provide students with an outlet to get together and talk about their initiatives and events.

“My platform is very much about trying to develop a collaborative atmosphere and a culture of student leadership on campus,” said Sheridan.

The idea for a congress developed when Sheridan and student publications’ president Bryn Ossington hosted a symposium last April, gathering approximately 70 student leaders to discuss their different involvements in campus groups.

“Students really enjoyed meeting one another to discuss critically the ways that they can get involved with one another’s initiatives,” said Sheridan.

The congress will be composed of one leader from every student group on campus; they will meet roughly four times a year to update each other on different events, campaigns and projects that their groups are taking part in.

Sheridan is currently the chair of the congress and will keep the definition of its structure fairly open, allowing all who are involved to share their ideas and creativity and develop the congress’s function in Laurier’s future.

Brantford representatives will also be attending the first meeting on Oct. 8 to oversee proceedings and determine how a congress could function at Laurier Brantford.

– Andrea Millet

Next board meeting: Oct. 9 at 2:30 p.m.