Union reaches out for university budget input

 Course offerings, advising and parking top consultation feedback

AcademicservicesTRU’s course offerings, student advising and on-campus parking will be at the top of the priorities list when TRUSU makes its Student Budget Consultation Report to the university later this year.

According to TRUSU’s online Student Budget Consultation Survey, students care more about educational programming, academic services and facility services than campus life and engagement or support services. Within those top three categories, 50 per cent of students prioritized course offerings, 42 per cent looked to academic advising and 28 per cent said parking. Survey results were weighted in terms of both importance and general satisfaction.

About 300 people responded to the survey, which TRUSU president Dylan Robinson said he hopes will build in coming years.

EducationalPrgramming

“I’m sure as we start to make this more of an annual thing on campus we’ll be looking at additional ways we can reach out to more students and get them to participate,” he said.

Among the issues raised was parking. The student caucus already tackled the problem last year, bringing in a $4 per day rate in Lot N, a half-day rate in Lot E, and more carpooling spots in September. Despite the changes, parking still claimed the highest dissatisfaction rating of any other survey category with over 60 per cent of respondents saying they were “dissatisfied” to “very dissatisfied” with parking on campus.
facilities“You have to look at these things from kind of a long-term perspective and it’s true that in the previous caucus year we were able to make some progress behind the parking issue … I think there’s still work to be done and I think the survey indicates that there’s a lot of work that students want to see done on that issue,” Robinson said.

Combined with an importance rate (over 60 per cent of respondents said parking was “very important”), parking boasted a priority rating of 5.3 out of a possible six in the survey results. In comparison, course offerings scored 3.5 out of six while academic advising rated 3.7 out of six.

According to Matt Milovick, TRU vice-president of administration and finance, the new student consultation allows student opinions to be addressed sooner in the budget process.

“We wanted there to be an opportunity for TRUSU, which represents the student voice, to have a voice in the budget process because in years past their concerns always seemed to come to the budget table way too late for any real consideration,” he said.

Milovick further sought to reassure students that the TRUSU report will be taken seriously by the administration.

“What we told TRUSU from the beginning is that they may ask for certain things and there may be reasons why we can’t deliver on those things in a particular year but … we do have an obligation to respond formally to the things that the students have asked for and that was commitment then and it remains my commitment now,” he said.

Town halls are set for March 17-19 to present the results of the survey and collect specific student suggestions on how the survey’s priority areas can be improved. All information will be presented to TRU for the 2016-17 budget.