Evidently overjoyed by the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to the University Community handed by Vice-Chancellor Mark Scott, the Board sat down for the penultimate meeting of 2022. Honi kept an eye on their scheming.
The coffers continue to swell
As has been the case all year, the USU’s finances are in a better position than expected. In her report, Finance Director Rebecca Sahni told the Board that the USU is expected to record a profit of $1.5 million dollars. According to Sahni, this is a slight improvement on last year’s result, which saw the organisation generate a $1.2 million surplus.
This strong performance is attributed to the success of Someday Soon, the USU’s music festival held in October that sold a whopping 2800 tickets. Sahni told the board that both ticket and bar sales for the event were “excellent”. The reported success was similar across the suite of live events held in Manning Bar over the last month.
The same is true for the USU’s food and drinks outlets, which made more than $2.5 million last month – their highest income since at least 2017. Revenue is expected to stay strong in the lead-up to Christmas with many bookings made for HostCo catering and active use of Courtyard Cafe.
Clubs and Societies
President Cole Scott-Curwood told the Board of preparations for the launch of the USU’s ‘clubs conference’ set to be held in February 2023 before Semester 1 begins. Scott-Curwood described the conference as a “short but intense” opportunity for club executives to be trained and supported. Honorary Secretary Isla Mowbray said that the Union has “had a lot of feedback that clubs in the past have not felt as supported as they could” and that the conference is part of their efforts to address this. Mowbray encouraged “all clubs to sign up … and attend” the conference.
The USU also launched a new video outlining the clubs and societies complaints process in an attempt to make this information more accessible. Scott-Curwood told Honi the complaints process is otherwise unchanged.
An eye on the Senate
In response to a question from Honi regarding the Board’s assessment of recent changes to the USyd Senate’s composition, Scott-Curwood said that the USU was keeping an eye on the post-election landscape of USyd’s Senate. This being a reference to the election of Ben Jorgensen (Liberals) and Yinfeng (Benny) Shen to the body.
“There’s heaps of things that could affect us as an organisation. If the Senate were to become stacked with people that, for example, vehemently dislike student organisations then that’s a risk to the USU,” he said.
“It’s just for us to be aware of that [recent changes to the Senate] as something that changes.”
Foodhub and progress on the Ethnocultural Space
The Board confirmed that Foodhub will continue in 2023 following the joint initiative’s success this semester, with more than 1,900 students accessing pantry staples, essential skincare, fresh produce and other items through the service. For next year, the service has been allocated $75,000 as part of its operations.
Scott-Curwood connected Foodhub with the ongoing provision of free breakfasts to USU members as part of the current exam season.
“During exam time, similar to last semester, the USU provided 250 free breakfasts each day to our members. Since 2019, the USU food truck has provided over 10,000 meals to members free of charge.”
Cries of shame amid boring USyd apparel colours
On a lighter note, the Board was notified of the University’s decision to reduce the available range of USyd apparel, scrapping a range of fun colours and designs. This was met with a chorus of dissatisfaction from Board Directors, with Onor Nottle dubbing the milquetoast palette as “lame”.
Everyone else concurred, clearly hoping for the day when USyd’s design department realised the virtues of better shades.