What a difference planning can make

By Bryan West

When the 62nd Student Legislative Council was inaugurated last May one of the first things identified as a key weakness in the organization of the Students’ Union was a lack overall purpose and direction. For years the SU has survived (and in some areas even thrived) on the bare minimum of future planning. This trend has been called the “nature of the beast” as every year the council is purged of its executive council and replaced with a new one. However, it was felt strongly by this council that if we could construct a well-researched, comprehensive, and yet flexible document, it might be able to survive as a template for future executives. With that in mind, we started the process of constructing a plan which will hopefully be a tool that will help shape the direction and the very face of the organization over the next three years.

The process for constructing this document has been a monumental undertaking. To begin, early this summer both the SLC and SAA were consulted in the development of a key mission statement for the organization. Subsequently, each commission (Academic, External, Events and Operations and Finance) and their respective vice president undertook an analysis of their portfolio and developed a plan that reflected the mission statement with strategic goals and priorities. In the third phase of the project each of the specific commission plans were brought together and merged under umbrella themes that will serve as the pillars for the plan.

The most important aspect of the strategic plan is the mission statement–the bedrock for all future organizational initiatives:

“The Students’ Union, the University of Calgary, exists to serve and represent the diverse student body.”

Our goal is to enhance the access to, and quality of university education and experience through effective, efficient, and responsible government.”

Our vision for the future of this organization is to strive to become the national model for all student associations across the country, to provide the very best in representation and service efforts and to position ourselves financially so that the organization is far less dependent on student fees. Within the plan we have identified key values that help shape specific goals organizationally, but also serve as a link to our mission statement.

The plan will rest on four major pillars: communication and awareness, sustainable growth, student outreach, and effective representation. Each of these pillars contains subset goals and strategies which form the shell of specific workplans.

The strategic plan will be available to students and the general public within the next couple of weeks. If you have a particular interest in the project the Students’ Union encourages you to get involved. Drop by our offices in MSC 251 or email Bryan West at studun@ucalgary.ca. The Students’ Union is eager to become the best student organization in Canada and it starts with your support and input on our strategic plan!

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