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USU Board Meeting: budget buoyed by $55,000 surplus

The surplus came from overperformance from their commercial operations.

The USU Board met last week to discuss financial performance, Welcome Week, the new C&S grant funding, and the recent mass shooting in Georgia.

USU CEO Andrew Mills reported that the student union was $55,000 ahead of budget, owing to overperformance from their commercial operations. While food and beverage staff have returned to 100% capacity, Mr. Mills announced that all USU teams would be operating at 100% capacity by March 29. Honorary Treasurer Cady Brown echoed these thoughts, announcing a positive cash balance for July 2021 and the elimination of the organisation’s debt. These figures do not include forecasts for graduation revenue, and Brown noted that increased surpluses were likely for the student union going forward.

Board Director Prudence Wilkins-Wheat expressed concern on behalf of a number of clubs and societies over reduced membership numbers owing to single day stall allocations during Welcome Week. With the USU’s new funding arrangement in full force, Wilkins-Wheat asked if membership tiers should be scaled to account for this. Vice President Nick Forbutt responded to this by saying that many clubs and societies he had spoken to had actually experienced more sign ups in a far shorter period of time. Board Director Nick Rigby voiced support for Wilkins-Wheat’s concerns and fellow director Ben Hines suggested more opportunities for C&S recruitment throughout the semester.

Secretary Benny Shen touched on both the mass shooting in Atlanta, Georgia and the USU’s response to Canberra’s ongoing sexual assault saga. 

“For over a year, Asian people have been fighting another virus, a virus of hate,” said Shen.

Acknowledging that there was much work to be done, Shen highlighted the importance of combating racism and xenophobia in Australia and on campus.

Following this, Shen and a number of other board directors addressed the prescient issue of sexual assault and harassment on campus. According to USU President Irene Ma, the union’s sexual misconduct document has been revised and will be made available to society executives, along with a poster and an infographic. Ma also expressed an interest in reinstating Consent Week and will be collaborating with the SRC to set wheels in motion.