Zap Copy and SUBText revamp underway with new budget approvals

Aug. 13 UVSS Board meeting recap

Some hefty sums were thrown around at the latest UVSS Board meeting, as the Board of Directors (BoD) approved major technical purchases for Zap and SUBText while also approving a new Strategic Plan and amending Clubs and Course Union policies.

With the Executive Director away and without any advocacy group representatives present at the meeting, the reports and announcements segment of the meeting flew by.

Next was Question Period, which was occupied entirely by questions from the Martlet about the new Strategic Plan and a recent policy change regarding in camera sessions.

Director of Finance and Operations Curtis Whittla spoke most about the Strategic Plan, though the message was clear no matter who was speaking: the UVSS’s plan is to boost the positive image of the SUB and the students’ society. As Director of Student Affairs Isabella Lee said, a well-executed strategic plan would see greater integration between students and their union.

“I would hope that students have more of a connection to the UVSS, because I feel like there’s kind of a disconnect,” Lee said. “I want people to feel like they’re members, like they’re a part of something. I want a more positive perception of what goes on here and being aware of what’s going on . . . I just hope that [the Strategic Plan] brings more clarity to students of what the UVSS has to offer.”

Pierre-Paul Angelblazer, Director of Outreach and University Relations. Photo by UVSS

Next, Director of Outreach and University Relations Pierre-Paul Angelblazer defended a policy change made at the July 30 board meeting wherein the requirement to state in camera topics of discussion on the BoD meeting agenda was abolished.

Angelblazer said the policy — as it was — left too much up to interpretation regarding definitions of ‘legal’ and potentially could have directors revealing confidential information. He also addressed concerns that the change damaged the board’s accountability.

“I think that overall, transparency before and after the policy was passed is going to stay the same.” he said. “In the end, I didn’t think there were any real downsides to this policy change.”

The remainder of the meeting was mostly spent discussing two policies :  Zap equipment upgrades and a change to Clubs and Course Union Policies.

After deciding to spend $33 000 on a new Point of Sale system at SUBText, the board listened to Whittla and UVSS General Manager Dale Robertson discuss options for replacing the decade-old equipment at the Student Union Building’s copy and printing centre — a bill that sits around $105 000.

Whittla and Robertson explained that the new equipment bought for Zap included more than just printers. The copy and printing centre would have an entirely revamped network with new features, such as remote mobile access to printers. 

“I think that overall, transparency before and after the policy was passed is going to stay the same.” he said. “In the end, I didn’t think there were any real downsides to this policy change.”

Whittla explained that in an effort to encourage double-sided printing, the cost of printing single-sided black-and-white pages would go up from seven cents to eight cents per page but double-sided black-and-white pages would still cost seven cents per page. Colour pages would most likely cost less than the 40 cents a page it currently costs.

Curtis Whittla, Director of Finance and Operations. Photo by UVSS

“If we’re going to be charged a lower cost [to print a page], then we’re going to at least pass some of those savings on to students,” he said.

The cost of the purchase seemed to baffle some of the directors around the table, but Kerr explained the importance of the investment.

“Personally I think the service is valuable enough to students that it’s worth spending money on,” Kerr said. Lee agreed, noting that students would be more likely to use Zap after the upgrade.

The motion carried, with the replacement planned to begin during November reading break.

“If we’re going to be charged a lower cost [to print a page], then we’re going to at least pass some of those savings on to students,” he said.

After passing the Strategic Plan (which will be broken down in a future story on the Martlet website) and funding an upcoming union event on campus, Lead Director Lee took centre stage to explain her Clubs and Course Union policy changes.

Until now, clubs or course unions were not allowed to charge money when hosting events in the SUB beyond just accepting donations. The changes proposed by the BoD would allow clubs to charge up to $10 per student ticket for one event per year in the SUB (though the event cannot involve club governance decisions). Any exceptions to the rule regarding ticket cost must pass through Clubs or Course Union councils first.

Director-at-Large Tyler Arnold questioned the $10 limit, wondering why the Board would adhere themselves to that arbitrary number. However, as Lee and Director-at-Large Adrienne Graham explained, the $10 limit had been approved by the Clubs and Course Union councils and provided a nice financial incentive for clubs while at the same time remaining accessible for students.

The change was passed as-is.

The next Board meeting will be on Aug. 27 at 6 p.m.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Zap funds could be kept on a student’s ONECard. This is incorrect — currently and going forward, Zap currency can be purchased with ONECards. We regret the error. 

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