Between the Motions: UBC gives AMS and GSS $6.8-million fund surplus, CampusBase and UCRU updates at Council

AMS Council met virtually for its first August meeting last night, discussing UBC funding allocation, the replacement to Clubhouse and advocacy updates.

Here’s what you need to know.

AMS to allocate UBC funding

The UBC Board of Governors has given $6.8 million from a funding surplus to the AMS and GSS to allocate as they see fit.

AMS President Cole Evans said the amount is part of around $8 million for both the UBCO and UBCV student unions.

So far, $1.7 million has gone to COVID-19 student emergency aid, and another $1.25 million has been allocated to the AMS U-Pass subsidy. This leaves $3.85 million to be allocated.

Options include $1.7 million to GSS Graduate Student Centre renovations, $50 thousand to purchase electric vehicles for the Safewalk fleet and $25 thousand for graduate student aid. Between $750 thousand and $1 million dollars could go to Norm Theatre upgrades to worn floors, seats and lights, among other things.

Leftover funds could go to Indigenous-related capital investments and other equity plans.

Councillors offered other options including health and dental, mental health services, additional COVID-19 aid and tuition.

Evans noted that this surplus is a result of excess money from tuition increases, something Councillor Danny Liu said didn’t “sit well” with him.

“The AMS is by referendum mandated to advocate against [tuition increases],” Liu said.

Evans said that he and VP Academic Georgia Yee have discussed this issue. The surplus was not intentional, he said, and now the Board wants to take that money and put it back into student issues.

CampusBase incoming

Associate VP Administration Nicolas Williams presented updates to CampusBase, the long-awaited replacement to the defunct Clubhouse club management system.

CampusBase offers a host of functions for students and clubs alike.

Besides tools for clubs to set up club pages and host forms, a virtual involvement fair feature will play an important role this fall with campus holding orientation events mainly online due to the pandemic.

Students can input their interests and be matched with relevant clubs. Williams said CampusBase will act as a “social network” where students can edit their profiles.

The VP Admin office has already begun onboarding some AMS subsidiaries — Williams said the first groups were onboarded the day of the meeting.

Onboarding of all AMS members will begin the week of August 24. Williams noted that the platform will be used for Jump Start and Imagine Day, which will hopefully boost engagement with the platform from the start.

CampusBase will host a virtual Clubs Day the week of September 21.

In case you forgot, UCRU exists

VP External Kalith Nanayakkara presented the Undergraduates of Canadian Research-Intensive Universities (UCRU) 2020/21 vision — a reminder to councillors what the student union coalition is.

Established in 2015, UCRU is what Nanayakkara called an “informal” organization created on an ad hoc basis.

Nanayakkara’s predecessor Cristina Ilnitchi chaired UCRU in 2019/20. This year, UCRU will focus on incorporation and establishing bylaws.