To the Undergraduate and Professional students of Western University, University Senate, and Western Administration,
University-facing advocacy for the 2022-2023 academic year focused mainly on one key issue: returning to campus. After 3 years of hybrid and virtual learning, approximately 35,000 students were welcomed back to campus, with a renewed focus on community building and student experience.
The University Students’ Council has had a successful year working in partnership with administration to mobilize student priorities, and we are excited to see the ways students’ voices were represented in the 2023-2024 Capital and Operating Budget.
Our budget submission was presented to relevant stakeholders in November, after consultation with student leaders on identified themes. The themes that the USC voted to prioritize were Mental Health, Racial Equity, Gender Equity, and Academic Supports and Programs.
While not all of these themes are named in the 2023-2024 Western University Operating and Capital Budgets, we are pleased with the outcome and funding priorities for the 2023-2024 budget. In the brief report below we include themes that students have identified as key issues as we return to an in-person Western student experience.
For the current budget cycle, the brief below includes the USC’s formal response to the proposed 2023-2024 university budget. We recognize this budget as student-centred and appreciate the time and consideration that went into preparing and presenting this budget.
Lauren Jarman, USC Vice President University Affairs 2022-2023
Ethan Gardner, USC President 2022-2023
Maria Farooq, USC Vice President University Affairs 2023-2024
Sunday Ajak, USC President 2023-2024
University Budget Brief
Prior to the budget being released, the Office of EDI-D announced that they were in the process of creating their strategic plan. This was our main ask for the 2023-2024 Budget Cycle, and as a result of that recommendation being fulfilled, we wanted to highlight other EDI-D priorities from the budget:
A sum of $115,000 one-time to the Office of Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion to support the Black Student Leadership University Experience Initiative (BLUE) and programming initiatives
A sum of $455,000 in base funding to continue the expansion of scholarships aimed at recruiting Black Students and Indigenous Students. At the end of the 3-year planning cycle, total annual funding is expected to reach $1.9 million
$128,400 in base funding and & 75,000 in one-time funding to the Faculty of Law to support a Director of EDID position and supporting resources
$100,000 in base funding and $400,000 in one-time funding to the Office of Indigenous Initiatives to support additional staffing, programming initiatives, and the hosting of the annual Building Reconciliations Conference
Academic Supports and Programs
While funding for the Centre for Teaching and Learning was not a specific request in our budget submission, we are glad to see investments towards improving e-Learning opportunities for students. Many students continue to learn online and in hybrid classrooms, and a specialist for e-Learning will contribute positively to online learning for students at Western.
$100,000 to Centre for Teaching and Learning for an e-Learning specialist
We are also incredibly excited to see additional investments in summer transition programming for new students. Smooth transitions to campus post pandemic are crucial for incoming students, and this funding will ensure students are academically and socially prepared for their first year.
$100,000 to Student Experience Portfolio in support of enhancing summer transition programming for new students
Sustainability on Campus has been a key focus for the USC and other student groups for many years. Seeing the tangible investment from Western towards sustainability projects is a step in the right direction and students appreciate the ongoing work and commitment towards a sustainable future.
Projecting $29.7 million in expenditures for university-wide Campus Sustainability, Energy Conservation, and Infrastructure Projects in 2023-24
Investment in specific supports for equity-deserving students is a priority for the USC, and we are excited to see the ongoing investments to support Indigenous students.
50k for Office of Indigenous Initiatives for Mental Health Counsellor