Why GSS members should vote YES
In Support of Yes!
The GSS Executive Board has choosen to support a Yes campaign!
Their motivations can be found below each of the corresponding posters
Designated Fees for Designated Services
The GSS currently supports the Food Bank, CFUV and University 101 programs through funding from the Operating Fund. By creating regular fees for these programs, we are securing support for years to come. The Operating Fund is limited and stretched thinly. If there is no designated fee for these services, there is a great risk that they could be cut from the Operating Fund when the yearly budget is approved and these programs could suffer.
Vote Yes because...
These are great programs to support and ones that UVic graduate students' are regularly involved in. There are two problems with leaving funding of these programs in the Operating Fund:
- The Operating Fund is stretched extremely thin. By supporting these programs through designated student fees, the GSS will have more flexibility in the Operating Fund. This could mean an increase in GSS focused services (ex. events, etc.) or hiring of additional staff members to support the society and its members (ex. a graduate student advocate, etc.)
- Each year the GSS budget is approved by our members. There is a risk that support of these programs could be cut each year when the budget is decided upon.
Increased Funding to WUSC
GSS members currently contribute $2 per term to WUSC. WUSC is nationaly, the largest supponser of refugees and UVIC WUSC (through the Student Refugee Program) has sponsored more than 35 students. Due to the escalating refugee crisis in Syria and its surrounding areas, the GSS Executive Board decided to give members the option to increase this contribution by $1. UVIC WUSC sponsors four students each year from refugee camps to pursue their post-secondary studies at UVic. The sponsored students receive Permanent Residence status upon arrival in Canada. All fees collected goes directly to the sponsored students’ budgets. This includes the cost of accommodation, tuition, books, and other living expenses. Find out about the lives affected by this Program at Stories of Student Refugee Program.
GSS Travel Grants
The GSS currently supports these travel grants from the Operating Fund. This represents a significant portion of our Operating Fund. By creating a dedicated fee for Travel grants, we are opening up space in our Operating Fund to better serve our members. As well, we are securing support for these grants so that the monies available increase with CPI and enrollment.
Vote Yes because...
The travel grant programs are some of the most accessed GSS services by graduate students. Graduate students have continuously expressed their support of these programs. Moving these to a separate fee is the best way to secure increases to these programs for years to come.
The GSS has been saving for a building renovation since 2008. These funds have been reserved exclusively for a building renovation and cannot be spent elsewhere. If the GSS moves ahead with a renovation, this saved money will be combined with a bank loan to finance the project. The expected term of repayment is seven years. The design team really listened to our needs and wants and provide two excellent designs to help our society space grow and change.
Vote Yes because...
- It has taken three years to develop this renovation proposal. Renovation designs are based on staff proposals to improve space for sound, layout, and function. Grad students, Executive Board members, GSS staff and Grad House staff were all consulted and participated on the building renovation committee.
- The GSS has dedicated Capital fee of $9 per student, which generates approximate $80,000.00 per year. The GSS has been saving for renovation since 2008. The cost of this renovation can be covered with these reserve funds and a business loan. The loan can be paid off over 7 years using a portion of the capital fee, with no fee increase required.
- Two recent renovations in the SUB cost approximately $600,000.00 – public construction costs more than residential!
- Restricted funds such as the Capital and Building funds cannot be used for anything else, so if we don’t want to spend the monies on this proposed renovation, they will be spent on a different renovations in future.
- This renovation would make the space better to work in and would create a better grad student space on campus
- Furnishing, fixtures and paint depicted in the architect drawings are place holders, not a representation of proposed furniture purchases.
- We are not intending to install another coffee shop but would be able to serve great coffee and augment our revenue streams around restaurant peaks, catch some of the walking by traffic and provide yet another service to grad students.
These renovation drawing are awesome because they provide solutions to address long term problems identified by staff, students and friends of the GSS such as:
1) Keg lines are too long – we lose at least $5,000.00 of potential revenue do to beer foam and beer lost to line cleaning.
Solution: the bar would be expanded to allow for keg storage under the bar.
2) Bar current design is inefficient – not enough space to store the thing we use regularly. Not enough space or correct plumbing to fit an espresso machine. No space for staff to put their stuff and it therefore ends up on the floor.
Solution: By expanding the bar there would be more space behind the bar to allow for an espresso machine, a large coffee brewer (hello wednesday coffee lovers), some more useful staff space and potentially offer some easy grab and go snacks.
3) Dirty dishes and glassware on the bar is unappealing to customers and we cannot therefore seat singles or customers at it.
Solution: Create a small staff only space by the kitchen entrance, this would provide a better space to clean glasses, deal with food waste and dirty dishes. It would also obscure the view into the kitchen which could also cut down on some of the noise transfer into the restaurant
4) The space is really loud when the restaurant is in full swing because we lost the room divider and the walls/ceilings have no sound absorbing materials.
Solution: Install door between sides of the Grad House, the bar expansion includes are pocket doors to block sound transfer between sides. Both designs include sound panelling!
5) The small side (David Clode Room) is a study space that is poorly defined and causes daily confusion / frustration for both staff and customers. It doesn’t have enough electrical outlets to support the modern students computing needs.
Solution: Change the furniture and décor to make it feel less like the restaurant and more like the best place to study on campus. Install a self-serve hot water tap, maybe even a toaster oven. Add additional electrical outlets install. The small side may or may not become its own café with dedicated staff and grab and go food.
6) Our current doors need to be made safer and more efficient.
Solution: replace existing front entrance doors with crash bars, improve weather stripping and seals for improved energy efficiencies.
 The 2015 Audit shows that as of March 31, 2015, the GSS had 246,458 cash reserves in the Capital Fund and $185,746 in the Building Fund. A portion of these reserves (est. 300,000) can be used as a down payment on the renovation project.