SU Reviews: SU VP operations and finance Cody Wagner, a.k.a the clown

Keeping everyone happy may look easy but it most certainly is not. Wagner must use all of his wit and resources to cater to diverse groups who all want to be entertained, or in his case, they just want money.

The SU vice-president operations and finance holds the purse strings of the SU, though giant sack strings may be more appropriate to describe the $12.8 million SU operating budget Cody Wagner oversees.

With a wad of cash that large and thousands of poor undergraduate students, everyone wants their cut. It is up to Wagner to ensure clubs, student travel requests and various other stakeholders get what they need, without favouring any one group over others. This isn’t an easy task at the best of times, but Wagner prides himself on being fair and has made it a priority to grant funding only when requesters meet all required criteria. While his policy of fairness has worked well for the most part, it also caused a great fiasco when the World University Service Club had their funding revoked a week before the event they had been planning for months, just to have it reinstated a few days later, all because they didn’t meet funding criteria exactly.

Cody’s top five accomplishments
1. Ensured fairness when dealing with all external requests for funding such as clubs funding requests and travel and conference funding.
2. Revamped the Campus Recycling Board into a viable body after several years of stagnation.
3. Created tuition insurance for no extra cost as part of the SU health and dental plan.
4. Improved the disability resource funding process so money goes directly to the Disability Resource Centre and students in need of funding get it faster.
5. Signed a three-year agreement to guarantee space for Muslim students and staff in MSC during Ramadan.

Yet to come
•Comment cards in SU-run businesses like Bound and Copied and the Den.
•A students’ choice award for tenants in MacEwan Student Centre to recognize businesses who provide superior service to students.
•The Campus One card, which would act like a debit card, accepted at retail outlets across campus.
•Examining the university’s contract with Pepsi, which expires next year, to ensure students get the best deal.
•A plan by the end of semester for CJSW to move into their new space.

Luckily, Wagner is willing to learn from his mistakes, and vows to work on communication with external groups as well as his own commissioners and other executive members in the coming semester. This commitment to communication, combined with newly updated clubs bylaws and more streamlined funding application processes, should prevent similar problems in the coming semester.

Apart from funding, Wagner also deals with operations in MacEwan Student Centre and environmentally-minded students will be pleased to know that Wagner’s efforts brought the Campus Recycling Board back on track this year after a period of stagnation. The next semester will see the installation of new recycling bins in MSC and a new green direction for the entire SU. But even bigger than recycling, Wagner–along with VP events Eric Jablonski–should be commended for his efforts to re-examine CJSW’s move to their new space. After years of inefficiency, inflated building costs and hurt feelings on both sides, a long-overdue plan to move CJSW onto the third floor of MSC alongside the Gauntlet and NUTV offices seems almost possible by the end of the year. If Wagner can indeed get the CJSW move back on track, it would be a smashingly successful end to his term as VP op-fi.

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