NUGSS Restructures Board of Directors
Prince George, B.C. – After announcing it was over $100,000 in the red last October, The Northern Undergraduate Student Society at UNBC is now on more stable financial footing.
“Things have turned around. Obviously, we still have significant challenges facing us ahead,” says president Arctica Cunningham. “And we still have to be very, very careful as we move forward trying to amend our financial situation but we’re definitely in a more stable position than we were in October.”
As 250News reported at that time (see previous story here), an audit revealed that the Society was awash in red ink due to a series of unsuccessful events that lost money.
Among other things, the Society owed the City of Prince George over $100,000 for their U-Pass program and the pub on campus they run – The Thirsty Moose – was bleeding funds.
Since that time, Cunningham says they’ve paid back the City of Prince George with support from UNBC.
“We were really happy to be able to meet that obligation and we have a really good agreement with UNBC on how to manage that and pay that back for the support they gave us.”
And to recoup the money they’ve been losing at the Thirsty Moose Pub (she says it’s lost money every year since it opened six years ago, including $40,000 last year) they announced today at an extraordinary meeting a referendum to increase the NUGSS Society fee by $6.50 to around $42 a year (for students on UNBC’s Prince George campus only).
She says the referendum will take place over two days, March 20 and March 21, and will coincide with student elections.
Cunningham says the alternative was to consider leasing options to remove the liability from the Society or to close the pub for good.
At today’s meeting NUGSS members also voted to reduce the composition of their Board of Directors from 11 members to eight, as well as removing the hierarchical division of having an “executive committee” and “associate directors.”
“The purpose is to reduce honouraria spending and increase the efficiency of the Board by having a smaller body,” says Josh Skarbo, NUGSS vice president, social. “By relying on our staff, and better utilizing student volunteers, it reduces pressure on Board members, allowing for the reduction in positions.”
The Board estimates the change will save about $15,000 a year. A controversial motion to create a five-student oversight board tasked with ensuring the Board’s efficient use of funds failed to receive the required support.
So, will all the changes be enough to keep the Society from losing money?
“That’s a difficult question to answer because there’s obviously still cash flow issues for the Society,” says Cunningham. “We’re still day-to-day reevaluating what’s happening. But we are definitely in a better position than where we were in October.”