By: The Cadre Editorial Board
Before reading our report cards, check out our rubric here. Looking for another report card? Find them here: President (here), Vice President Academic and External (here), and Vice President Student Life (here).
This year’s Vice President Finance John Ployer has done a good job at identifying key issues facing the Student Union. However despite this, we have yet to see tangible evidence that Ployer is making progress towards achieving his goals for the organization.
Ployer says he is very satisfied with the performance of The Fox and Crow to date. While October and November profit-loss summaries aren’t available yet, Ployer says he expects the business to either make a modest net profit or at least come close to it, something that hasn’t happened in years. In September, The Fox and Crow lost $13k, compared to $18k last year. Ployer attributes this to one-time expenditures such as training and purchasing new furniture.
One of the SU’s lesser known businesses, the Nexus Yearbook, has been a puzzle for many previous VP Finances due to lack of sales and overall awareness. In his mandate, Ployer stated he would like to conduct a critical review of the yearbook to determine it’s future. This is a refreshing idea, although when The Cadre questioned Ployer on the status of this review, he didn’t have much to say other than that work hasn’t been “anything formal” – a few notes and inquiries into yearbook practices at other universities. As the yearbook is typically only fully completed mid-summer, he certainly still has time to get in gear.
As Business Manager of The Cadre, Ployer manages our funding and operations and has a vested interest in our readership. Ployer has played the role of manager well, often times checking in to see how we’re doing and how he can provide support. He is pleased with the outcome of The Cadre website re-haul, though is unsure if that has actually increased readership.
Part of Ployer’s mandate was to sell advertising space on The Cadre’s website, something that hasn’t happened since we went online in 2012. With the renovation of our website, that is now a possibility. Ployer recently created a media kit to sell advertising space, but has yet to sell any spaces to businesses. Ployer says this will happen over the Christmas break, even though the website has been ready for three months.
Human resources also falls under Ployer’s portfolio. One of Ployer’s goals in this area was to create training guides that will ease the transition process for future employees of the UPEISU. Another great idea, but as Ployer said, “it’s only kind of complete,” although he expects to finish it by the end of his term.
One of the most impressive things Ployer has done during his term was hold budget consultations in light of the $55,000 surplus the SU collected after student enrollment numbers exceeded expectations. Ployer held two in-person consultations and sent out an online survey so that students could have a say in how they wanted the SU to spend their money. While budget consultations are not a new concept, they were well advertised and publicized this year, with more money put towards academic enrichment and events.
Over the summer, Ployer was elected to the Board of Directors of Campus Trust, the UPEISU’s health and dental benefits company. By sitting on the board, Ployer acts as an advocate for UPEI students, which is always a welcome thing. To increase understanding of the Trust Ployer has used promotional materials such as posters, which is nothing new but it is an effective way to advertise the service.
One of the biggest tasks ahead of Ployer is his completion of a sustainability strategy which will address the social, financial, and environmental sustainability of the SU. This is an enormous project which Ployer has acknowledged in several council meetings, although there is little evidence of progress. Ployer says he has been trying to get councillors onboard to help, although from our observations he only mentioned it once at a council meeting in October. Ployer says it will get done before the end of his term, but we can’t see how.
The Cadre’s main concern with Ployer’s performance thus far is that, six months in, we are still seeing a lot of incomplete commitments or promises to dive into projects during second semester. While he certainly has plenty of aspirations and the best of intentions, Ployer will need to step it up over the next few months in order to achieve his goals.
Photo: UPEI Gallery