Su Report Card: VP op/fi Joel Lockwood

Between budgets, operating agreements and the ongoing MacEwan Student Centre redevelopments, Joel Lockwood’s VP op-fi portfolio requires a shrewd negotiator who is able to be business-savvy without forgetting the needs of students. For the most part, Lockwood has met these requirements.

Lockwood self-admittedly faced a steep learning curve coming into his position. As a kinesiology student, he had limited knowledge of the business workings of the SU and the university. Lockwood has put in long hours in the office learning from SU staff, and is often the first one there in the morning and the last one to leave. He is pragmatic, and if he doesn’t know something, he’ll find out right away.

While his pragmatism has kept the business side of the SU running smoothly, Lockwood has been criticized by other members of the SU for taking an approach where the bottom line overshadows student interests. Granted, business is the side of the SU Lockwood was elected to deal with, and he has done so in accordance with his election platform.

With so much on his plate, Lockwood has had to use his commissioners well. Under his leadership, his commission has been cohesive and unmarred by the conflict present in other parts of the SU. Though his commission has met less frequently in the second semester, he generally gives his commissioners their own projects in order to use his efforts where they count most. Some of these well-placed efforts resulted in renegotiation of the SU/university operating agreement to save the SU $2.2 million over the next 10 years, making the Den and Black Lounge smoke free, and third floor re-developments which are scheduled for completion May 1.

Part of the re-development is the CJSW relocation saga. Things appeared to be on track last year with a new operating agreement signed after 10 years of negotiation, and they mostly are–depending on which side you talk to. At the moment the space is ready, but CJSW claims they were quoted a lower redevelopment cost, and lack the additional cash to fund the project. Though Lockwood failed to move CJSW into its new space during his term, he’s optimistic the project will move forward in the hands of incoming VP op-fi Cody Wagner.

As he passes the torch to Wagner, Lockwood should be proud of his solid run this year as VP Op-Fi.

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