Spring 2015

Platforms below are for ‘Yes’ sides only. The IEC did not receive registrations for ‘No’ sides for any referendum question.


1. SFSS Food Bank Targeted Funding

Introduction:

The SFSS Emergency Food Bank Program provides assistance for students facing food insecurity by providing them with vouchers redeemable at the Nester’s Grocery Stores at the Vancouver and Burnaby Campuses or at the SFU Dining Hall. All undergraduate students in a state of self-assessed need are eligible and can access the program up to three times per semester. The program has supported 173 undergraduate students in Fall 2014, and has already supported over 200 students in the current semester.

The proposed targeted levy would provide sustained annual funding for the program to ensure that this important support for students is sure to be available in the future. The funds generated will be matched by SFU Student Services. The funds will be reallocated from an existing fee, meaning that students will not be paying any extra money.

Background:

In Summer 2013, SFU told the SFSS they planned to close the SFU Food Bank. This program was jointly operated by the SFSS and SFU. In response, after extensive research, the SFSS opted to create its own Emergency Food Bank Program, to be administered from the SFSS General Office.

The program launched in October 2013. Students were able to pick up a voucher from the SFSS General Office and redeem it at the SFU Burnaby Nester’s location for up to $25 of sundries. Students may request up to 3 vouchers per term. Students access the program based on self-assessed need.

The program was expanded to the SFU Vancouver campus this year, and students may now opt to pick up their voucher from the Nester’s location at SFU Woodwards and redeem it there. Students may also have their vouchers delivered to their door if they live in Residence, and can also request vouchers from the SFU Dining Hall. Work is ongoing to expand the program to SFU Surrey.

Program Funding:

The program, to date, has been funded by donations that have accrued over several years, contributions from the SFSS unrestricted surplus, as well as a portion of the SFSS Vending Program. Student Services made a $5 000 contribution in 2013/2014, and contributed $16 000 (to match the funds allocated by the SFSS) for 2014/2015. Student Services has committed to matching any funds the SFSS allocates to the program going forward, up to $16 000 annually.

Rationale for a targeted levy:

  • The SFSS Emergency Food Bank Program acts as front line support for the most vulnerable students. It needs to have sustained, year over year funding.

  • Tuition, books, and living costs are rising with no corresponding raise in student loan allowances, bursaries, grants or minimum wage. This means students are under financial pressures that may lead to food insecurity. Unless tuition is eliminated or there is a massive change in the student loan regime, demand will be sustained. Predictability in planning is key.

  • The SFSS Emergency Food Bank Program has been very well used to date: only 9.45% ‘’junk food’’ in Spring 2014 audit. Despite a small uptick in “junk food” purchases in September 2014, “junk food” purchases have represented only about 11% of purchases through the program in subsequent audits. Students are overwhelmingly using the program for its intended purpose. It has proven worthy of sustained support.

  • Food banks must be sustained and constant in order to be an effective support. If it is subject to yearly renewable and is not consistently available to students, it is ineffective in providing a reliable source of support.

  • Fund matching agreement with SFU means that the SFSS must contribute every year for the program to be funded.

  • Implementing a targeted levy does not mean donations from the SFU community will stop

Funding Projections:

  • Based on 2013 enrollment numbers, at $0.25/student per full time student and $0.13.student, the levy would general approximately $16,000 per year.

  • This amount, combined with the Student Services commitment, would provide adequate funding for the program based on current usage levels.

About the Levy:

The proposed $0.25/full time student and $0.13/part time student levy would be moved from a fee that the SFSS already collects called the Space Expansion Fund. The funds from the Space Expansion Fund are currently being underutilized. As such, this proposal seeks to move part of the funds from the existing Space Expansion Fund levy and redirect them to provide annual targeted funding for the SFSS Emergency Food Bank. This

By approving the proposed Food Bank Levy, it would mean that the program will have adequate, guaranteed, long term funding without any fee increases for students.

The Future of the SFSS Emergency Food Bank Program:

Since its initial launch, the SFSS has been working to expand and improve the program. Plans to implement the program at the SFU Surrey Campus are near completion. We also plan to expand the program so that the vouchers are redeemable at other grocery stores off campus.  We are always looking for feedback as to how we can improve the program.

Further information:

Questions? Contact president@sfss.ca


2. Reallocation from Space Expansion Fund Levy to Membership Fee Levy

Introduction:

Space Expansion Fund: The Space Expansion Fund currently collects $10 per term per full-time student, more than $600,000 per year. The Fund is used to pay for maintenance and renovation of SFSS-leased space. However, less than $150,000 is needed for yearly maintenance. As for renovations, the SFSS’s space has been well-renovated over the last decade and the need for future renovations is relatively minimal. The annual need for renovations need not exceed $150,000 per year. Overall, the funds needed for Space Expansion are $300,000/year. This would translate into $5/term instead of the current $10/term*.

General Fund (Membership Fee): The General Fund Levy (referred to as the “Membership Fee”) is used for all of the Society’s day-to-day activities, including SFSS staff wages, operating the SFSS’s Food and Beverage Services, the Copy Centre, and grants for clubs and departmental student unions. It currently collects $37.99 per term per full-time student. However factoring in inflation, rising staff wages and an increasing undergraduate population, there is a growing need to increase the amount of money that the General Fund takes in. For instance, more students means more clubs, which requires more funding for club grants. Overall, an increase to the funds that the General Fund collects should result in a boost for club life, smoother operations and enhanced services from the SFSS.

 Rationale for Reallocation:

A reallocation means that students do not pay any more for their total SFSS fees; it makes use of what the SFSS already collects. Without a reallocation, it is likely that future Boards may ask SFU undergraduates for an increase to the General Fund while continuing to collect money for Space Expansion that it does not necessarily need. This is a move that ensures financial sustainability and fiscal responsibility for all members of the SFSS (all SFU undergraduates). This proposal takes money from an area where there isn’t need and gives that money to an area that is in need.

*How it relates to the Food Bank Referendum Question:

$4.75 is being proposed for reallocation from Space Expansion to the General Fund, while $0.25 is being proposed for reallocation from Space Expansion to the Food Bank. This would mean the Space Expansion Fund would collect $5/term per full-time student, while the General Fund would collect an additional $4.75/term per full-time student.

Please vote “Yes” to the proposed reallocation from Space Expansion to the General Fund.

If you have any questions, please contact: vpfinance@sfss.ca or visit our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1641377459407096/


3. Health Science Undergraduate Student Union FSU Establishment

The Health Science Undergraduate Student Union (HSUSU) is currently constituted under the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) as the Departmental Student Union (DSU) for the Faculty of Health Sciences. HSUSU holds many signature events for the benefit of all undergraduate students within the Faculty of Health Science such as HSUSU FROSH, Career Panel, Lunch With the Dean, and our first annual Health Sciences Gala. As such, HSUSU is already operating as the main student organization for the entire faculty, and is seeking an official establishment as the Faculty Student Union for the Faculty of Health Sciences.

If you are an undergraduate student in the Faculty of Health Science, or are taking at least one Health Science course this semester, you are eligible to vote on HSUSU’s status as an FSU through the SFSS Spring 2015 Referendum on Tuesday, March 24th.

How did this come about?
The HSUSU executive team has worked over the past few months with the SFSS Health Science Representative to rewrite a draft of the HSUSU Constitution and By-Laws that would be suitable for a FSU. The HSUSU Constitution and By-Laws were ratified by the Health Science membership at a General Meeting on February 23rd 2015, and then approved by the SFSS Board of Directors on March 4th 2015. This led to the question being placed on the Spring 2015 Referendum ballot.

Why is this relevant to me?
With the establishment of HSUSU as the FSU for Health Sciences comes an increase in funding from the SFSS. This will result in more events, more services, and more resources for undergraduate Health Science students. FSU status will also increase the opportunities for students to become involved and engaged, allowing us to cement signature events like HSUSU FROSH and the Health Sciences Gala. HSUSU has continued to improve over the years, with each year bringing more of what students want to life. This move forward will help us keep up that momentum!

VOTE YES to establish HSUSU as the Faculty Student Union of the Faculty of Health Sciences!
Questions or comments? Please contact hsusu.exec@gmail.com or healthrep@sfss.ca