As the URSU executive and board members pass the six month mark of their term, I think it is fair to make an assessment on how they are doing.
Like Barack Obama in 2008, The URSU executive inherited the reigns of an organization that was heavily in debt. While the United States’ debt makes the debt URSU racked up look like peanuts, the negligent spending of the previous URSU regime lost students approximately $200,000 and is a huge dent in URSU’s finances. While I could go into the financial damages that were caused by last year’s regime, it would be prudent to compare the first six months of the public relations nightmare that was last year’s URSU with the six months of this current executive.
This year’s executive has planned board meetings while incorporating proper training sessions for the students who serve on the Board of Directors. This is in stark contrast to last year. Last year, the board of directors were called to a meeting where they were told to vote on sponsorship funding when the annual URSU budget had not even been proposed or drafted yet.
Speaking of the budget, this year’s annual budget was presented in an efficient manner thanks to board member training. The training helped this year’s board of directors ask valid questions and concerns to Mike Staines, the URSU general manager. Last year’s board members did not receive any training on how to go over the URSU annual budget or instructed on how the annual budget works. To some, the budget is another item on a long list of objectives to accomplish. To others, the budget is considered to be the single most important item that needs to be handled with great care.
With URSU’s reputation and communications with social media accounts there has been a drastic turn around. There has been scarce, or nonexistent, perceived cyber-bullying and harassment on the URSU Facebook page or Twitter account. Unlike last year, the executives no longer have personal URSU Twitter accounts which they use to agitate political leaders, students, or university administrators that place URSU, the university, or the province in a negative light.
This year’s executive and board members have handled media scrutiny, controversy, and the haters that spawned from last year with tact and civility. Ranging from the CFS-SK scandal, being honest with URSU board members about re-instating free classes for the executives, and advocating for two students facing deportation, it is clear URSU this year has raised the bar drastically. However, to be fair, URSU didn’t have to do much to raise the standards of a student government and, like the year-end budget they inherited, URSU’s credibility and reputation are just beginning to trail out of the red.
Photo courtesy Arthur Ward