There are a lot of ways to spent $1.4 million; vacations, a new wardrobe, a flashy new car, a single bedroom condo in Calgary. But, luckily for students at the University of Calgary the Students' Union has choosen to spend the $1.4 million in quality money given to them by the Board of Governors on initiatives to improve student life.
This is the fourth year the su and the Graduate Students' Association have received quality money from the bog. The total funding this year is approximately $1.7 million, with $1.4 million of that given to the SU.
"We have funded every suggestion that came up," said su vice-president academic Shannon O'Conner. "There are always areas that could use more funding but the su feels it has hit on the most important areas. The su is reallyhappy to have received this quality money."
The $1.9 million funding was allocated to nine different areas, based on student suggestions and the suggestions of faculty representatives in the Students' Academic Assembly.
The su spent $70,000 on the Ebrary and Refworks research databases. An additional $8,000 was spent promoting and providing information about these programs to students.
The su palns to build a Student Commons to replace the current MacEwan Student Centre Patio in hopes of offsetting lunch-hour overcrowding. This year the su gave $350,000 in quality money to this project.
Social Science corridor
One hundred thousand dollars in quality money was allocated for rennovations to the Social Sciences corridor as part of U ofC's Take Your Place Project to rennovate 40 student spaces around campus. This was the first of the nine quality projects to be fully completed.
"This is our first project with the Alumni Association," said O'Conner. "We're really happy with how this turned out."
Dr. Peggy Patterson awards
These awards, named for former U of C associate vice-president student affairs Dr. Peggy Patterson, recognize students involved in campus life. These awards are given to students for aspects of student experience aside from academics. This year, the su allocated $21,000 to this award. Combined with money from previous years, this creates two awards of $3,000 per year.
There are several grants available for students who want to travel to academic conferences, for research grants or for study aboard.
"From personal experience, this creates an amazing impact," said O'Conner who advocates more funding here. "This not only benefits the students, but also increases the international presence of the U of C."
Innovative teaching grant
Professors who have successfully completed the faculty teaching certificate program are eligible for this grant, which is designed to reward professors for innovative teaching initiatives. Additionally, this grant is designed to encourage professors to improve their teachings skills.
More than 300 computers were purchased for the information commons last July. In support of the su sustainability initiatives, the computers will be wind-powered.
Though the computers are not directly powered by windmills, the su gives money to the Pembina Institute and theyuse the money to buy wind-powered turbines.
"There are always students who are waiting for a computer, and although this might not accommodate everyone, the su is really happy about this number," says O'Conner. A total of $250 000 has gone into this project.
Campus involvement award
Seven awards of $1,000 will be given to applicants with financial need. This award is directed at students who don't get a lot of funding from other sources,but are active in the campus community.
This award shows the value the su places on getting involved, noted O'Connor.
Class size reduction and enhancement of the learning experience
Every faculty received a portion of $200,000 to go towards class size reduction. This money will pay for more professors, more sections of popular classesand classes that wouldn't otherwise exist.