How much would you pay for a UTSU cup of coffee?

At its latest meeting on March 17, the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) Board of Directors (BOD) allocated $600,000 to constructing a café at the Student Commons. The BOD also adopted motions to approve the UTSU’s 2024–2025 preliminary budget and select the Bank of Montreal (BMO) as the union’s new bank.

A new café

Samir Mechel — the UTSU’s vice-president finance and operations — moved a motion to allocate $600,000 to the construction of a café in the Student Commons. He noted that the union expects the construction to cost approximately $400,000, but they’ve allocated extra funding in case the project becomes more expensive.

The UTSU is looking to start construction soon after the approval of two planning permits. Its earliest estimate for the completion of the project is by September.

The BOD voted to adopt the motion. 

The 2024–2025 preliminary budget

The union also approved its 2024–2025 preliminary budget, which is similar to this past year’s budget. 

Mechel noted that all incomes and expenses in the preliminary budget were the same as last year’s but had increased by 3.4 per cent in accordance with the Consumer Price Index — a measure of how much a standard collection of common goods’ price has increased.

Mechel wrote in an email to The Varsity that the preliminary budget “something for the incoming board and directors to work with, but it isn’t binding.” The new board will decide the specifics of the union’s 2024–2025 budget.

BMO on campus

The BOD also passed Mechel’s motion to select BMO as the UTSU’s new private bank. He explained that BMO offered the highest interest rate at 5.6 per cent, allowing the UTSU to earn more money from its savings. 

The union cut ties with the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) — its old bank — last year in the wake of student protests. Activist group Climate Justice UofT has been especially involved in protests against RBC, and one member of their “Banks off Campus” campaign attended this BOD meeting.