The Kwantlen Student Association’s planned student union building (SUB) at Kwantlen’s Surrey campus, fees for which were passed in a KSA referendum last September, is still being discussed by the KSA and the university.
Although it has been a year since the referendum, talks are still on as to what role Kwantlen will play in the creation of the SUB.
“Following that successful [referendum], the university formed a joint working group with the KSA to discuss this initiative. The university is considering a joint project with the KSA for this building,” said Jody Gordon, associate vice-president, students.
The SUB would likely be home to student-oriented services run by the KSA and other services that would appeal to students. However, exactly what all of these services, or possibly programs, will be, hasn’t been determined.
“[Kwantlen and the KSA] are currently reviewing the type of programming that they would like to see in the building. At this stage neither party has finalized that programming,” said Gordon.
Though this may sound worrying to students who had to pay a little more for their school fees this year, an end to the discussion and a beginning to the construction is in sight.
“Over the next two months it is our hope that we will come to a joint resolution on the location, the size of the building and the applicable programming,” said Gordon.
Many students may not have noticed when the KSA held a referendum last fall to add new programs by increasing the fees students pay. But after paying this semesterâ€™s tuition, many more will have.
Every fee increase voted on during the fall 2009 referendum was approved.
â€œWe werenâ€™t expecting all of them to pass,â€ said Steve Lee, the KSA’s director ofÂ finance, â€œso when all of them did, it made things more challenging in terms of what resources would go where for this year, while keeping to the commitment of ensuring that the total increase would not be more than 15 per cent of what we were already collecting.â€
That 15 per cent restriction means that only five of the programs approved by students will be implemented this year. None of the other fees approved will be added until the fall, but fees will be adjusted on an annual basis starting in the fall of 2010, and each subsequent September, until all of the approved programs are up and running.
The KSA chose which programs would be implemented first, based on a combination of which referendum questions received the most student support and which programs could most quickly be put in place, said Lee.
The five program fees that the KSA decided to add to this semesterâ€™s tuition include the sub fee, START volunteer program fee, REEBOOT program fee, intramurals fee and the clubs and events fee.
â€œREEBOOT was ready for implementation, as was START,â€ said Lee. â€œEvents was a no-brainer, as that funding will help relieve pressure on our base budget.â€
Another one of the fee increases that will help the KSAâ€™s bottom line in 2010 is the sub fee increase. According to Lee, that fee will help the KSA to meet the repayment schedule on a $1.6-million loan made by the student association in the late ’90s to help pay for the social areas of the recently renamed G-Building, the Surrey campus home to the gym, fitness centre, KSA offices and the Grassroots CafÃ©.
â€œThe bulk of this (loan) has been paid back,â€ said Lee, â€œbut there is still some money outstanding and our goal is to eliminate that debt as soon as possible.â€
Any money left over after the student associationâ€™s debt repayment will be banked and earmarked for a new Student Union Building in Surrey, as well as for student centres on the Richmond, Langley and Cloverdale campuses.
The START volunteer program is aimed at getting more students involved in the KSA through volunteer opportunities. The KSA will hire some students as volunteer coordinators and others will be able to gain experience volunteering around campus.
Students who have computers in need of repair will be able to take advantage of the KSAâ€™s new REEBOOT program. The program will allow students to get computers and laptops serviced at a low cost.
The clubs and events program fee will be used by the KSA to offset money they are currently spending on events. This funding in 2010 will also go towards restoring the KSA staff position of events and clubs coordinator.
Students interested in athletics will be able to take advantage of the intramurals program, which will lead to intramural sport leagues. According to Lee, the intramurals program will be run in cooperation with the university, which has proposed matching the funds the KSA puts into the program dollar for dollar.