BY SCOTT BLINKHORN
There were lots of questions for the Conestoga Students Inc. (CSI) board of directors at the organization’s annual general meeting (AGM) on Nov. 14. More than 30 students attended, ready with questions for the board members.
The meeting, which was held at The Venue, began with a financial update from Tim Sothern, a partner at BDO Canada, the accounting firm that handles CSI’s finances. The report said CSI ended the fiscal year with a $340,000 surplus. According to Sothern, the surplus was largely the result of an increase in enrolment at the college.
“More students means more student fees … the big driver is more bums in seats,” he said.
Students asked for clarification on what several items in the financial report included and how the money was allocated.
“Man, normally at AGMs I usually get one question,” Sothern said, smiling, as he finished his presentation.
Several students expressed concern that the amount of money spent by CSI was lower than the amount budgeted. Sheena Witzel, assistant general manager for CSI, said the budget was an estimation of how much an item is expected to cost. She also said that certain spending items such as clubs and scholarships are dependent on students applying for the funds.
Students also had questions about Conestoga Student Services Inc. (CSSI), a for-profit branch of CSI which runs The Venue, The Pita Pit and the student health plan. The chief concern from students was that a for-profit branch of CSI would increase costs.
Cameron Jones, president of CSI, said, “These are things that you would be spending money on anyway. What this allows us to do is put the profits back into services for you.” Jones added that the main reason for the creation of CSSI was to ensure that CSI was operating according to the law and wouldn’t face problems with Revenue Canada.
CSI also unveiled changes to its bylaws, particularly in how the president is to be selected. Voting board members will elect the president prior to the first meeting of the board of directors following the election campaign.
“This is really just to make sure that we comply with the corporation’s act and to make sure we are legal and safe,” said Jones.
Jones took some time at the end of the meeting to talk about what the board currently had in the works. Chief among the things mentioned was scholarships for student athletes, the goal of which is to aid in attracting and retaining talented athletes.
The hope, according to Jones, is that bringing more athletic talent to the school will help unite students behind their teams and foster more school spirit.
Overall Jones was pleased with the meeting, especially the student participation.
“It’s really great to see not just so many questions but such a breadth of questions,” he said.