IGNITE AGM highlights include undetailed operating budget and strategic plan

Published On April 2, 2018 | By ajeffrey | IGNITE, News

Ignite executives presented the 2018-19 operating budget to students at North Campus at this year’s annual general meeting. (Image Credit: Son Ha Tran)

Andrew Jeffrey

Students got a small glimpse of what the next few years will hold for IGNITE at last Wednesday’s Annual General Meeting.

The main orders of business for Humber’s student representatives at the public meeting was to provide an update on the organization’s strategic plan for the next three years, which IGNITE dubbed the Next Level Project. It also approved the group’s Operating Budget for the 2018-19 school year.

IGNITE’s budget once again provided a broad overview of expenses, but lacked the detail of budgets publicized by other Ontario universities and colleges.

“The IGNITE revenue comes primarily from student fees, so we take the responsibility very seriously and ensure that these revenues are invested back into student lives while we’re making this budget,” said Tara DeFrancesco, IGNITE Financial Director, at the AGM.

IGNITE’s operating budget accounts for the usage of more than $11.13 million in total revenue and expenses, based on a projected student population of about 32,000. As they’ve done in past years, The organization provided an infographic to students with broad points about how student fees would be used.

However, IGNITE’s infographic presentation of their budget falls short of the level of detail students can find from the University of Toronto Students’ Union, York Federation of Students and George Brown College Student Association.

IGNITE’s largest expenditures outlined in next year’s budget include $6.69 million to its services budget, which includes the Flexible Health and Dental Insurance Plan, bursaries, financial relief and staffing, and $1.94 million for its administration costs line, which mostly covers full-time and part-time IGNITE staff.

Compared to two years ago, IGNITE has dropped the amount of money it allocates to governance to 3.8 per cent of IGNITE’s total expenses in 2018-19 from 10 per cent of IGNITE’s total expenses in 2016-17. This includes funding for IGNITE’s student advocacy efforts dropping to $45,000 from $342,500, and its student outreach budget dropping to $69,000 from $353,000.

The Next Level Project was the other major topic of this year’s AGM. IGNITE compiled this strategic plan to identify the biggest priorities and concerns of Humber College and University of Guelph-Humber students after reaching out to thousands of students from last August up until January earlier this year.

This action plan was separated into three priorities, alongside the advocacy actions necessary to turn those priorities into actionable outcomes. This includes IGNITE working and advocating to make life on campus more affordable, improving students’ financial security and helping students to develop personal and professional skills, among other topics.

The Next Level project will be now need to be approved by IGNITE’s Board of Directors on April 11. From there, outgoing President Maja Jocson said this would be the organization’s target through the next three years.

“Our hope is that through this, this will be a guiding target for our executives, regardless of whether they’re first executives or returning,” Jocson said at the AGM. “We are all reaching a target and not just picking initiatives or projects that we see fit. We are moving into a target that our students tell us that they want us to achieve.”

The budget and strategic plan were both passed without any opposition. IGNITE also ratified the 2018 student election results, and approved BDO Canada LLP as its 2018-19 financial auditors.

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