The USC will increase student leaders’ salaries and honoraria next year even as revenue from traditionally money-making operations dipped in the pandemic.
The boosts will be funded by the increase in student fee revenue generated by the University Students’ Council this year as a result of the unexpected 30 per cent increase in first-year enrolment. Since the USC collects the same amount every year from student fees, the increase in enrolment has upped the overall revenue collected by these fees, which will fund next year’s USC budget.
The increase brings student fee revenue to around $9 million from around $7.8 million from last year — a $1.25 million increase.
Council unanimously passed the 2021-22 budget Wednesday, just two weeks after USC vice-president governance and finance presented it to council. A significant addition to the next year's budget was an increase in spending on student-led initiatives.
Beginning next term, associate vice-presidents under each portfolio of the USC will have around $1,500 added to their salaries. The students’ council boasts 12 AVPs, bringing the total increase in salaries to around $18,000.
Additionally, many coordinators’ honorariums have increased, with peer program coordinators’ honorariums tripling from $1,000 to $3,000. The total increase in honorariums amounts to $62,000.
St. Pierre stressed the importance of paying student leaders in the USC fairly for the work they do.
“Our coordinators do a lot of great work for us, and they only get paid $1,000 [a year] while doing hours’ worth of work in some weeks,” said St. Pierre. “[The honorarium hasn’t] been increased in a long time so we’re trying to ensure we provide fair compensation.”
According to St. Pierre, AVP salaries are increasing to adequately compensate students through the summer months, when a lot of work is done to hire coordinators and prepare for the school year.
The USC has allocated $6,000 to it's new ambassador program, which was launched just this year.
The program, run by former USC presidential candidate Marc Tedesco, hires volunteer ambassadors from the affiliate colleges and other periphery programs like the Ivey Business School to promote USC resources and programming with students across campus. According to St. Pierre, the success of the program in its inaugural year prompted the council to provide the initiative with it's own budget. In allocating thousands to the new program, the USC wants to expand its reach and engage with more students than before.
While the council’s student fee revenue up by almost 16 per cent, its revenue from The Spoke nosedived during the pandemic. As a result, the USC expects The Spoke to break-even next year, making up for this year’s losses.
St. Pierre chalked the loss down to the lack of foot traffic in the University Community Centre this year as fewer students have class on campus.
“We have also had a number of closures as well,” said St. Pierre. “From when the pandemic kind of started in the summer and then into the school year, and now obviously with the lockdown we’re closed as well.”
While the USC has not made much revenue from The Spoke this year, they continue to pay the lease and additional costs involved in maintaining and managing the space.
St. Pierre is confident the restaurant will bounce back in September.