Last Thursday, TRUSU held their Annual General Meeting. The gathering gave the organization a chance to share with the campus community their successes and failures of the past year as well as showcase their upcoming budget for the 2018/2019 financial year.
The University Affairs Committee was the first committee to present their results and talked largely about the success of the Hungry for Choice Campaign, which concluded at the end of the last semester.
“This is what happens when a community works together. This is what happens when you consult and include your community in decisions around their campus, and this is how decision making should be done at TRU,” said TRUSU president Tatiana Gilbert about the consultation.
Course materials such as textbooks were also discussed, including the Open Textbooks program. TRUSU also stated that the program could save students at the university $250,000 on textbooks collectively due to funding grants requested last year. The Union promised to continue this initiative into 2019.
Transportation and parking, on the other hand, were not marked as a success, with TRUSU highlighting over four years of parking issues at TRU. While student frustration with parking has increased in recent years, TRUSU admitted that they haven’t spoken with the municipality yet in order to get more buses to campus.
Gilbert noted that neither TRUSU nor administration had been quite as successful at resolving parking issues at the university.
“Now ladies and gentleman, on the issue of parking and transportation on campus, we have unfortunately not achieved the community involvement and communications and consultations that we deserve here at TRU,” she said.
One TRU student, Christian Andrews, was particularly vocal about the transit situation in Kamloops. She added that speaking with city council could potentially help the city’s overburdened transit system.
“If we spoke with BC Transit to try to get smaller buses to have more trips, this could solve a lot of the problems of students not having transit options and having only 2 buses every two hours,” Andrews said.
The Campaigns Committee was the next to speak and continued the meeting by discussing their efforts to gain more funding for the university through their Fund the Future campaign. In their presentation, the committee stated that they requested more help from the government to help students and also touched on the Union’s biggest campaign yet: getting students to vote for proportional representation in B.C.’s electoral reform referendum. While the referendum failed, TRUSU’s campaign was still moderately successful, with the organization reaching out to over 25,000 individuals during the fall semester.
Though much of the AGM was congratulatory towards the Union’s successful campaigns, questions concerning projects that did not pass were dismissed. Such was the case when a student asked about the Student Refugee Program (SRP) Referendum that failed to meet quorum. While the program did not receive the required amount of minimum votes to pass, the input from students who did turn out to vote was overwhelmingly positive with 82 per cent of votes being for the program. However, there are no current plans to revisit the SRP in the immediate future.
After the committee presentations, TRUSU reviewed their financials from the previous year and presented their budget for the upcoming fiscal period. While the Union underspent in several areas last year, nothing was considered out of the ordinary.
As far as this year’s budget is concerned, TRUSU’s budget estimates that an extra $30,000 will be spent on wages for their board of directors due to new positions. Additionally, $10,000 in estimated repairs will likely need to be completed on the aging TRUSU Building.