The University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) held its June Board of Directors meeting on July 17. 

Members of the board received presentations on the union’s preliminary budget for the 2022–2023 academic year and the executives’ plans for the year. 

Preliminary budget

Dermot O’Halloran, vice-president operations, presented the UTSU’s 2022–2023 preliminary budget. 

He explained that the UTSU derives a large part of its income from membership fees, followed by other sources including donations and grants, ticket sales of events, sponsorships, and more. 

This year, the UTSU has amended some aspects of the chart of accounts. For instance, O’Halloran explained that the UTSU combined the charitable and corporate grants into one grants account because the source of the grant does not matter much for the organization of budgets. 

As the union only used a small portion of its allocated clubs’ funding in the 2021–2022 academic year, it will only be allocating $100,000 to clubs’ funding this year. “However, we are anticipating serious clubs reforms this year that will allow for that funding to be better utilized,” said O’Halloran.

Budget allocated to Social Media & Website Development and Hosting rose from $12,500 to $25,000. O’Halloran explained that this is because the union is looking into different core management software programs that would allow the organization to run a variety of different portals through its website.

O’Halloran stressed that the union remains in deficit. According to the preliminary budget, anticipated income for the 2022–2023 academic year is $2,939,240, while anticipated expenses total $3,325,292, indicating a deficit of $386,052. 

In the 2021–2022 academic year, the union suffered a deficit of $470,992. 

O’Halloran assured board members that the UTSU is working on setting up a membership fee referendum, as well as considering avenues of cutting costs and generating additional revenue. 

Executive reports

In his report, UTSU President Omar Gharbiyeh noted the success of the union’s Pride month celebrations. “[It] presented an opportunity for us to really test the Student Commons as a place to facilitate activities on campus that the UTSU is organizing.” 

Gharbiyeh also discussed his ongoing efforts to increase the UTSU’s collaboration with other U of T student unions, including the Association of Part-time Undergraduate Students, the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union, Scarborough Campus Students’ Union, and the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union. “The UTSU has historically not had a great relationship with the other student unions that are part of the U of T community… I’ve been organizing a monthly meeting between all of our unions, so that we can do that type of coordination.”

O’Halloran’s report focused on the UTSU’s prospective investment opportunities. Following a meeting with the Royal Bank of Canada, the union has already initiated some of the Bank’s recommended investment ventures. 

Elizabeth Shechtman, vice-president student life, presented the progress she has made in orientation planning. The union is planning an in-person orientation after two years. Planned events include an official opening for the Student Commons, a tri-campus parade, and a concert at the Varsity Stadium. 

Disclosure: Elizabeth Shechtman was an associate news editor at The Varsity during 2021–2022.