By Ashar Memon, March 19 2018 —
The Students’ Union Quality Money Committee has approved 12 projects totalling $1.83 million, clearing their last procedural hurdle. The University of Calgary Board of Governors (BOG) received a report on the projects on March 16.
The Quality Money program is a partnership between the SU and the BOG established in 2003 to fund “innovative ideas” that improve the quality of life on campus. According to the SU, over $23 million has been distributed through Quality Money since 2004.
This year’s largest projects include $430,000 for gender-inclusive change rooms in the Kinesiology Complex and $411,523 for redeveloping Speaker’s Corner beside Jugo Juice in MacHall.
SU president Branden Cave said the Quality Money committee received 36 funding applications this year, down from 44 applications the previous year. Despite this, Cave added that the $6.9 million requested by applicants was a record amount for the program.
Other approved projects include revamping the SUPER Work program to explicitly include applications from summer research students, as well as implementing a 10-session program about healthy masculinity and relationships.
This was the first year members of the U of C administration were given access to Quality Money applications before the SU Quality Money Committee decided on what to approve. Cave said the move was meant to ensure that money was being allocated to feasible projects.
“The idea of putting, say, a couple hundred-thousand dollars towards a project that never gets off the ground, when that money could be elsewhere, is something that the committee should know,” he said.
This was also the first year that projects were not approved by the Students’ Legislative Council after that responsibility was delegated to the Quality Money Committee in July 2017. The committee now provides regular updates to the SLC during in-camera sessions on projects under consideration.
Cave said regular updates helped SLC representatives stay informed about Quality Money applications throughout the application cycle, rather than acting as a “rubber stamp” that decides the fate of the projects without the “full context.”
“I’m very proud of the process changes we’ve made this year,” Cave said. “I think it’s given the committee a lot more information — both from SLC and from the feasibility side of things.”
The approved projects were sent to BOG two months earlier than previous years. Cave added that this will allow applicants to receive funding and begin implementing their programs this summer.
The Quality Money Committee expected to receive $1.67 million from the BOG, lower than the sum of $1.83 million required for recommended projects this year, according to documents provided by the SU. The funds from previous years will cover the deficit.