WLUSU capital expenditures budget approved

On Saturday afternoon, the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union (WLUSU) board of directors convened in Waterloo to entertain WLUSU’s proposed capital expenditures for the 2010-11 fiscal year.

The afternoon’s agenda boasted seven projects for approval – amassing total costs upwards of $270,000.

Projects ranged from the implementation of an electronic alcohol management system for Wilf’s and the Turret, to an ambitious renovation of the FNCC’s third floor, improvements to Wilf’s and the Pita Shack, and the addition of digital signage around campus. However, the proposed WLUSU smart phone application emerged as the meeting’s most controversial talking point.

As debate and speculation ensued on the smart phone application proposal, chair of the board Kyle Hocking pointed out that as there is no precedent for such a venture, it is difficult to determine exactly how the project will turn out. Despite the uncertainty, Hocking urged fellow directors to base their vote on whether or not “you believe this is going to provide for the needs of students.” In the end, the board voted 9-2 in favour of implementing the application and passed the other six proposals unanimously.

Interestingly, the smart phone application and other capital expenditures appear to be WLUSU’s response to the disappointing results of extensive market research carried out last year.

According to WLUSU President Kyle Walker, the “hugely concerning” results showed that only 33 per cent of students on Laurier’s campus feel that they are apart of WLUSU, only 39 per cent feel that they are well informed about WLUSU and “more than half of the students on this campus don’t feel that the students’ union is theirs.”

At the same time, however, the research also found that 82 per cent of Laurier students utilize social media avenues. As such, Walker believes that the launch of a smart phone application will improve WLUSU’s ability to communicate with Laurier’s student population by increasing the union’s presence in a variety of diversified communication channels.