Student Association’s Annual General Meeting looks back and forward

Board will propose revisions to the bylaws at spring general meeting

On Nov. 16, the Kings Lounge at St. James campus played host to the Student Association’s (SA) Annual General Meeting (AGM), which aside from a couple of printing mishaps, came and went without issue.

With bylaw revisions being held off until the newly instituted spring general meeting, the AGM was largely focused on two areas: recapping the previous year, and the strategic pillars for the next two.

Michael Panjvani, an auditor with Grant Thornton LLP, told the meeting that while cash had decreased from 2015, property assets increased in light of the Casa Loma Student Centre renovation. The SA is in a “healthy cash position,” said Panjvani.

The SA funds The Dialog.

The audited financial statements for 2015-16 showed that the SA paid the mortgage on the Casa Loma Centre that was previously almost $3 million. Interest and bank expenses fell for the SA by 86 per cent, being $91,198 less than in 2014-15.

“I’m really proud of the 2015-16 board of directors, and all of the initiatives that they took (on) to engage students, especially at Casa Loma campus where they finished the SA space,” said LGBTQ representative Sheldon Mortimore.

The SA had collected $935,799 more in revenue than it spent. The SA’s unrestricted fund saw a surplus of $390,306, the building fund had a surplus of $326,984, the health care fund had a surplus of $228,490, while the TTC fund had a $9,980 deficit.

The SA’s biggest expense continues to be wages and benefits for the full-time and part-time staff at just over $2 million, up $279,511 from 2014-15. The SA also spent $122,089 on “professional fees” last year.

For 2016-18, the SA has moved away from eight priorities and instead identified three pillars: health and wellness, good governance and student engagement. The pillars encompass multiple aspects, including budget adherence and transparency for good governance, as well as advocacy and outreach for student engagement. This new vision looks to highlight linkages between areas, rather than the more firmly divided approach held previously.

 The good governance pillar started right away, with the AGM itself used as a learning opportunity for not only the students attending, but the SA’s board of directors as well. According to director of education Tiffany White, one takeaway was to create an AGM checklist for future boards, so they can anticipated needs such as an ASL interpreter  without it being requested.

An AGM checklist isn’t the only project White intends on creating. The practical nursing student also has town halls in the winter semester, a series of 12 student outreach forums held by each education and constituency representative.

In addition to providing a space for students to share their views, White has another goal in mind.

“It also kind of sets a precedent for future boards as well, to be like, ‘You know what, this is what the expectation is, this is what a student government looks like, this is how you reach out to the public and this is how to you reach out to your membership.'”

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Student Association’s Annual General Meeting looks back and forward