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USU Board Recap: $$$, gigs, Pulp and SUEUA

The tune of a cashed-up USU is very audible following the latest Board Meeting.

Today, following a decidedly muted but tumultuous USU Election, Honi joined the incoming and newly minted Board Directors to observe what the USU has been up to since last month.

Significant earnings 

Once again, the Board is literally bathing in cash. Describing last month’s turnover as “excellent”, Finance Director Rebecca Sahni revealed that the organisation raked in more than a quarter of a million dollars more than it anticipated. 

“At the end of April, [the] USU is $316,000 better in operating contributions than it budgeted,” she said, attributing the extra money to a bustling Manning Bar and surprisingly strong sales from in-person Graduation ceremonies. After all, every gown and Courtyard ice-cream to pose for that picture-perfect graduation selfie counts towards the USU’s coffers.

This is aided by a healthy income drawn from weekly comedy shows and gigs at Hermann’s Bar and Courtyard, with Courtyard’s Friday Sessions bringing in more than $1,500 per pop. The organisation’s food and drinks outlets also lifted heavy weights in delivering the USU its finances, with CEO Andrew Mills citing Fisher Library’s Coffee Cart and Manning’s Cafe as registering strong positive returns. 

Burgeoning student life

April was a particularly strong month for on-campus gigs and parties with CEO Andrew Mills lavishing praise on the suite of events that the Manning, Hermanns and Courtyard held. Highlighting in particular the Euphoria House Party, Devilskin and the Candlelight Concert in partnership with the Con. 

The Board also heaped praise on USU Debating’s outstanding performance at the Australian Intervarsity Debating Championships (Easters), seizing victory in a “nail-biting” final. 

SUEUA commotion, Pulp Magazine and relationship with satellite campuses  

The Board confirmed that Pulp Magazine’s 7-person editorial team has been finalised, including Senior Editor Marlow Hurst. When asked for further information regarding the editorial team, the organisation remained tight-lipped and preferred to break the news through its Marketing Department rather than divulging the details to Honi

Similar to Honi, Pulp editors will now enjoy a dedicated office space. According to Board Director Isla Mowbray, Pulp’s office is located “just under Manning” and will “fit seven people well”. This means that the magazine’s office will likely feature windows, in stark contrast to the underground dungeon that Honi Soit occupies.

In response to a question regarding fierce criticism from Sydney University Engineering Undergraduate Association (SUEUA) Vice President Bella Anderssen at Wednesday night’s USU Gala Party regarding legal advice that the USU offered to the society, USU President Prudence Wilkins-Wheat told the room that the organisation is working in tandem with SUEUA to come to a resolution on the matter. 

“There’s disagreement about the handling of the case. I respect the protest and I spoke to Andrew afterwards, we may need to talk about it offline. I think the characterisation made by SUEUA in that event was probably not accurate from our understanding of that situation,” Wilkins-Wheat said. 

“But I still respect that we could have handled it better which is why it led to this escalation. We are working to resolve this with them [SUEUA] and it seems that there’s a lot of positive developments in that area.” 

Discussions then ensued over the USU’s relationship with smaller satellite campuses such as the Con and Westmead. The latter was identified as an increasingly important student community as USyd expands on its Health Science and Medicine offerings in Western Sydney.

“There were a whole lot of new clubs and societies from ex-Cumberland groups that applied to the USU to form a club or society here [Camperdown/Darlington campus]. We proactively reached out. So we brought them together … to have initial mini townhall-type sessions [telling] you [about] the issues,” 

“Collectively they have similar issues,” Mills said, referring to the distant relationship between the main campus and satellite campuses. 

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Finally, Honorary Treasurer Ben Hines congratulated the incoming cohort of Board Directors on their election to the Board. Although as they have yet to formally accede to their role, they joined Honi in moving (virtually or otherwise) outside of the comforts of Cullen when the Board entered in camera discussions to discuss administrative and potential legal issues.