With a total expenditure bill totalling to €238,070 and a total of 131 fulfilled initiatives, KSU has never been busier and more expensive to run. Andrea Gonzi looks at the way those funds were utilised and to what extent they innovated upon last year’s KSU executive.
Culture and Entertainment:
With roughly 27% of the total initiatives being done by the culture and entertainment office and a total expenditure amounting to 46% (€ 110,302) of KSU’s total expenditure, this year’s KSU has followed the trend set by previous administrations by focusing on this particular area.
The setting up of 3 bodies composed of student organisations and students alike (the Culture Committee, the Organisations Forum and the Events Team) lead the spearhead in a major reform in the way the Culture and Entertainment office operates by making it more accessible.
An unprecedented collaboration with KSJC was in order, probably due in no small part to being elected on the same party ticket, in the form of the KSJC Summer Bash and other minor JC related events.
Probably owing to the close relationship formed by the organisations’ forum, a collaboration between KSU and several student organisations gave birth to an initiative which encouraged students to watch several matches of the Maltese national teams in football and rugby. Another sports themed initiative worthy of mention was the formation of a University Futsal Team.
The highlight of this year’s culture and entertainment office was the collaboration on the ‘Christmas on Campus’ initiative which resulted in 29 student organisations collaborating with KSU to gather a total of €12,000 for charity.
KSU has also participated in initiatives relating to the art and culture mainly collaborating with ‘V18′, meeting up with the Secretary for Culture, cultural internships, the KSU Art in Action Gallery Space and the ‘One-Time Art & Design Workshops’ all striving to promote the arts on campus.
International, Social Policy and Education offices:
Whilst being the largest and presumably the most active offices, the International, Social policy and Education offices had the least impact on expenditure totalling to 6.6% (€15,784) – a reduction of 23% (€4,590) from last year’s KSU executive.
Education, being the focal point of KSU, is only attributed 18 out of the 131 initiatives in the magazine’ and carries only 0.4% (€ 847) of the total expenditure. The legel studies controversy could be considered the first foray for the education commissioners with the education commission’s inability to present a common position until the issue died down upon the subject’s complete removal.
During the month of September KSU also embarked on a ‘Revision of Paper Refund’ and an Education Officers Meeting intiative. Other noteworthy pre- christmas projects range from the ‘Feedback Survey on earlier library opening hours’ resulting in the extension of the opening times of the library from 9am to 8.30am.
Due to the impending expiration of the collective agreement, KSU were strongly advocating the formal recognition of its student charter and a reduction in the deadline to mid- March.
With a doubled expenditure vis-a-vis last year, regular practice was maintained by the international office with activities that sought to integrate foreign students such as ‘Orientation Days for International Students’ and a new innovation in the form of the ‘International Students’ Handbook’ which was handed free of charge to international students.
KSU also coordinated student exchanges in conjunction with student organisation TDM2000. The informal ‘Spotlight on Your MEP Candidate’ reception was also organised allowing students to mingle with several MEP candidates.
Considering that the social policy office ended with a reduction in expenditure of 76% (€8441) it boldly tried to veer off established convention by organising the ‘Debate Society League’ and the KSU ‘Health Days’. A debate focusing on spring hunting was also organised and a first ever AED defibrilator was introduced on campus.
In term of KPS the social policy office formed 3 working groups, released 2 reports and issued 3 statements. The lack of work done in terms of KPS when compared to previous years may reflect its pervieced decline. However according to KSU President Thomas Bugeja, there has been a record attendance for KPS meetings and KPS/KE seminars.
This year’s administration was locked in a tricky position owing to last year’s NAO audit report on students house which cited several irregularities. KSU’s position at students’ house was regularised and strengthened through discussions with the university administration.
Despite Arriva’s unglamorous departure, KSU have managed to retain the benefits of its sponsorship with them. A screen displaying arrival times for bus routes was installed and a transport fund of €10,000 encouraging students – with 30-40 applicants at the time of writing – to use public transport was set up. The KSU administration also put pressure on the canteen operators, becoming part of the tendering board in the process, and also on the education ministry in regard to stipends for repeaters.
A concentrated effort to become closer to the student was adopted through the incarnation of a consultation meeting and the formation of several sub-committees allowing members outside of the executive to take part in the running of KSU.