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The Enwaaying Building which contains Peter Gzowski College. Photo credit: Rishabh Joshi.

Speaking Together About the Gzowski College Cabinet Surplus

Written by
Angela Slater-Meadows
and
and
November 24, 2022

Angela Slater-Meadows is a Senior Student Journalist for Arthur as well as an Equality Ambassador for Gzowski College Cabinet.

‘Enwayaang translates from Nishnaabemwin as "the way we speak together." In other words? We play well with others, including the First Peoples House of Learning, with whom we share the building.’ – Peter Gzowski College

Speaking Together About the Gzowski College Cabinet Surplus
The Enwaaying Building which contains Peter Gzowski College. Photo credit: Rishabh Joshi.

As a Trent student, do you wish you could have more to say about where your tuition fees go? A significant portion of it is distributed on your behalf to Trent Levy Groups such as the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre (KSAC); the Trent University Native Association (TUNA); the Trent International Students Association (TISA); and Arthur Newspaper to name a few. Recently, Arthur has been looking into why levy groups such as Gzowski College Cabinet (GCC) may have accumulated a levy fund surplus and what they plan to do with it.

Why does Gzowski College Cabinet have a levy fund surplus?

GC Cabinet accumulated a significant levy fund surplus during the pandemic. According to Principal Melanie Buddle of Gzowski College, a surplus of this size is unusual and was due to administrative challenges throughout the pandemic such as the inability to coordinate in-person programming. GC Cabinet VP Megan MacPherson further explained that the sizable surplus accumulated because the Cabinet was unable to access levy funds over the past few years due to the pandemic. Many Trent levy groups, according to MacPherson, “are in the same financial situation.”

How much is the Gzowski College Cabinet levy fund surplus?

The exact amount of the GC Cabinet levy fund surplus, according to Senior Treasurer Angela Chrysler at the cabinet meeting on November 6, 2022, is $60,301.93. Currently, the surplus levy funds are being held by the Trent Central Student Association (TCSA) and Trent Finance, who collect and distribute levy funds on behalf of Trent students through their tuition. The surplus funds will be released, according to Principal Buddle, once GC Cabinet submits an up-to-date budget and financial plan.

What is the Gzowski College Cabinet levy fund surplus plan?

The proposed plan for the GC Cabinet surplus, according to VP MacPherson, will be based on the goals “to increase student supports and build community.” More specifically, the funds will be divided into three Gzowski College renovation projects including: the college office, the student kitchen/lounge space, and the bathrooms. Additionally, funds will be contributed on behalf of Gzowski College to the TCSA Emergency Grocery Assistance funding as well as the Indigenous Living Learning Community Bursaries. 

GC Cabinet Senior Treasurer Chrysler offered further budget details with regards to each surplus spending initiative. The Gzowski College washroom renovation will be the most costly and long-term and will include adding gender neutral washrooms to the first floor of the building. This project will be allocated just over $21,300 of the surplus funds but is expected to cost more than $65,000. Extensive renovation planning will be conducted in order to complete this project over a few years. 

The Gzowski College student kitchen/lounge space will be allotted $19,000 of the surplus funds and is expected to cost just over $21,000. This project will include new flooring, walls painted in Gzowski colours, device charging updates and furnishings such as an eight-person high-top table with stools, a couch and lounge chairs. The Gzowski College office space will be allotted $12,500 of the surplus funds but is expected to cost up to $65,000. This project aims to create additional office space by expansion of the current college office outwards. Much of Gzowski College’s office space is presently shared amongst staff and new space will provide more one-on-one consultation between advisors and students. Funding from other university sources will be initiated in order to complete these renovations. 

In order to support the TCSA’s Emergency Grocery Assistance funding, according to Treasurer Chrysler, Gzowski College Cabinet plans to contribute $2500 from their levy fund surplus. The One-Stop Chop food pantry is now located inside the TCSA office and can be accessed confidentially by any Trent student. In addition, a Student Emergency Relief Fund application can be made on the TCSA website to help students with unexpected costs or unforeseen challenges while attending Trent university. In order to support the Indigenous Living Learning Community Bursaries, two contributions of $2500 each will be made on behalf of GC Cabinet. These bursaries are intended to support Indigenous students who require financial assistance in order to live at the Gzowski college student residence. More information can be found on the First Peoples House of Learning (FPHL) website.

How can students and community members learn more and/or get involved?

Information with regards to any College Cabinet activity is public and available to any Trent student or community member. Affiliated with a particular college, studeunts can access this information through Cabinet meetings and minutes, College newsletters and websites, and by contacting any public member of a college or cabinet. Students may provide input to their Cabinet representatives through public Cabinet meetings or by reaching out in-person or via email. The Cabinet executive representatives make final decisions in accordance with their constitution and in consideration of Cabinet goals. Gzowski College Cabinet, according to VP MacPherson, is “committed to transparency.”

If you are interested in being involved in student government and making decisions like these then you can join your College Cabinet. Elections are coming up for open Gzowski College Cabinet positions and will be announced soon. The next GC Cabinet meeting is Sunday December 4th at 5:00 pm. The Zoom link can be found on their website and in the Gzowski college newsletter. 

Trusting in “The Way We Speak Together”– Enwayaang.

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