Posted in SFSS Elections

Election Special: VP Finance

Candidate: Baljinder Bains, Archit Bansal, and Tawanda Masawi

VP FINANCE

The vice-president finance is responsible for the Board’s finances, including budget breakdowns, fund allocation, and investments. They are also responsible for payroll and signing cheques. The SFSS is a multi-million dollar organization and this position is responsible for the financial stability and success of the society as a whole.

 

Baljinder Bains Baljinder Bains Headshot

 

 

For Build SFU, my main goal will be to ensure that the projects move forward in a way that is optimal for students and mitigates all of the financial risks associated with the projects.

In regards to the stadium project, the current deal with SFU outlines that the university will provide funding for expenses incurred beyond the $10 million budget, however, it is important to continually re-evaluate the project’s financial resource use. This will be done so that I can keep other board members and stakeholders informed and up to date, in order to sustain the current deal.

Furthermore, the Student Union Building (SUB) is currently under construction and the finance agreement is complete. I will work upon the progress made by my predecessor to ensure continuity and that the transition period does not lead to financial impediments. Additionally, I will work with the Build SFU General Manager to ensure that all of the finances are in check.

Overall, I want to ensure that students are able to receive all of the benefits outlined in the proposal of both projects while mitigating their financial risks.

2. What will you do that your predecessor specifically did not do?

My predecessor was an active advocate for the reformation of the current granting system. It is also my goal to advocate for reform, as I see it will lead to increased benefits to students. I would like to create specific objective criteria for the granting system, as opposed to the current subjective one, that focuses on the four pillars that SFSS is based upon. Furthermore, these criterions would be communicated to students, which will allow them to understand the basis of their grant approval or rejection.

This grant reformation will allow funding to be accessible to many groups, including new clubs. Furthermore, this will allow students to anticipate stable funding from SFSS, which will allow for better events. Thus, increasing value to the student body.  

3. What is your top priority if you are elected for this position and why?

My top priorities are outlined in my platform. I would like to reform the granting process to provide stable funding for students. Furthermore, I would like to increase transparency by introducing financial dialogue, which will allow students to hold board members accountable for their actions. Last but not least, I would like to responsibly and efficiently disburse funds by reallocating them from non-value added activities and moving them to projects that add more value to the student body. The value of these new projects will be based on the four pillars that SFSS stands upon, which are academic, social, financial, and health and well-being. All in all, I believe that these priorities encompass all of the responsibilities for the role of VP of Finance.

 

Archit Bansal 0D6A0141

 

1. How do you intend to handle the financial aspects of the Build SFU and Stadium projects?

The Student Union Building project is on track, with the debenture being secured and levies being collected without any issues. Due to the great advocacy effort by SFU’s Athletic community there is a new draft for the Stadium project after the 300% fiasco. This draft goes to Board of Governors on March 30th for approval.
If it passes my focus would be on two aspects, firstly to secure the best possible loan/debenture without increasing student burden by not surpassing the current money collected through the Build SFU Levy. Secondly, to produce a complete breakdown of the Society’s commitment to secure such a loan which would involve the re-payment structure, risk potential and possible penalties. Also, if the Board of Governors does not approve the proposal I pledge to resolve their issues and prepare a new proposal. Which would reflect the membership’s interest without putting them at any sort of financial burden.

2. What will you do that your predecessor specifically did not do?

The current VP Finance has done a good job improving the operational aspect of the portfolio. Most important of which has been the granting process and cheque requisition reform. I want to take what has been done and now particularly focus on how can we grow the society’s resources and better serve all students. Some might argue that because we are a not-for-profit organization we should not focus on revenues. However, the important thing to understand is that only if we focus on growing our revenues will we be able to provide all the current organizations under the umbrella of the SFSS to engage with broader segments of the membership. Also, it will foster an environment that enables students to start new clubs, Faculty/Departmental Student Union’s with much more support and encouragement than what we can provide them as of now.

3. What is your top priority if you are elected for this position and why?

Let me introduce you to the “Opportunity Engagement Fund”. This would be a fund created out of the surplus of the budget starting from the fiscal year 2018-19. It would amount to between 2-3% of the entire budget and would be allocated to the introduction of new projects specifically by the Board of Directors. Currently, all the promises that students hear from the candidates running for the election cannot be fulfilled. Why you ask, quite simple because we have a carried down budget, which every new Board has to follow. This leaves no flexibility to serve and engage the membership about the relevant issue(s) during a particular year. Also, to clarify we do almost every year run a budget surplus beyond the number I am proposing which is in addition to the surplus we keep by law. The second piece to this is delivering quarterly financial reports to the student council. Making sure they understand it and also keeping them informed of how efficiently each member of the Board is contributing will be my utmost priority. This allows the Board to have flexibility in introducing new and exciting projects but at the same time increases accountability so no hard earned student money is wasted.

 

Tawanda Masawi

Tawanda Masawi did not submit either answers to the questions or a photograph before the given deadline.

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