On September 11, 2018, as students were settling into the first full week of classes, the Students’ Union presented student priorities for the coming year to the TRU Budget Committee.
Representatives from the Students’ Union presented the Student Budget Consultation Report 2019/20 to inform the committee that recommends the university’s annual budget. The report reflects feedback from hundreds of students across the campus through both a comprehensive survey and a Town Hall to investigate key areas in depth. It is the result of an annual Student Budget Consultation process created in partnership between the Students’ Union and TRU in 2014. This process provides for proactive and meaningful consideration of students’ interests as part of the annual budgeting and planning throughout the university.
Following presentation to the Budget Committee, the Report was distributed throughout TRU for consideration by the campus community. Below are the highlights.
THE GOOD NEWS
The Student Budget Consultation not only identifies students’ priorities for future improvement, but also recognizes and celebrates the ways in which TRU excels, improves, and responds to the needs of students. The following areas are congratulated on this good work:
THE PRIORITIES AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The Student Budget Consultation Report also identifies five priorities for improvement: parking, food services, study space, academic advising, and course materials.
On parking, students continue to grapple with the challenges presented by campus construction and the new Sustainable Parking Framework. Students highlighted affordability, space, demand management, and better transportation alternatives as key issues. A more consultative approach was recommended to make campus commuting work for everyone in the future, as well as better monitoring and promoting the current changes.
On food services, students continue to seek improvements focused on variety and options; price, value, and food quality; event catering; and hours of operation. Fortunately, the campus community secured a food service consultation through the Hungry for Choice campaign last year. That consultation is currently ongoing and provides the possibility of new ways to eat on campus!
On study space, students reported the need for dedicated and well-managed (quiet!) study space. They also asked for better amenities like lighting, furniture, and electrical outlets as well as improved cleanliness. Finally, students are looking for study spaces they can access throughout the campus – not just in one building. The Report recommends new quiet space designations and rules, renovation of existing study spaces, and student participation in long-term study space planning.
On academic advising, students have noted improvements in recent years. However, they are still concerned that advising be more knowledgeable and consistent in advice and more open and responsive in service delivery. Ongoing work to implement the Degree Works software and to establish service standards are expected to address these concerns.
On course materials, students have issued a clear and urgent call for affordability. Textbook prices are out of control, but students have a number of ideas to tackle the problem. The Report recommends that TRU continue to fund the creation of more free, open textbooks and to continue investigating a textbook-on-reserve system in the Library. It also calls on instructors to do their part by using open textbooks and other low/no-cost materials, making effective use/reuse of commercial textbooks, and placing copies of textbooks in the Library reserve.
In the coming weeks, the Students’ Union will work with decision-makers across TRU to determine how the university can best respond to these priorities. As these decisions are made, they will be published on the Student Budget Consultation webpage. Stay tuned!
For more information: