YUSU Strategic Plan

Excited you probably aren’t, but interested you should be. After months of consultation, Union President Tim Ngwena has released the draft version of YUSU’s strategic plan for 2010-2013, claiming that the report “sets the framework for making the right decision in the future.”

Certainly, this won’t be the most exciting document you read this year, if indeed you do. But its contents hold the key for the next three years of the Union.

“There was a need to take stock. Stop. Break. Pause,” explains Ngwena. “We – to see what the things are that we do really well, and then in the future we can be radical and try different things.”

Suitably, the report marks a period of financial tightening for YUSU, curtailing any further commercial expansion of the Union with no “significant new increase[s] in costs”. However, Ngwena admits that if an “amazing opportunity” arose he expects the Union to take it into consideration.

Notably, the report makes only passing reference to the looming decision regarding the location of the new YUSU centre, should the current location be deemed unsuitable.“That was almost deliberate,” Ngwena explains. “I didn’t want it to tie us down to one course of action.”

YUSU were expected to use the space vacated by Langwith College’s 2011 move to Heslington East, but plans to develop their current building or potentially construct new premises on the University expansion have also been mooted.

The report also makes official the expected plans for YUSU to hire a new staff member to assist JCR Committees with finance and administration issues, echoing candidate policies at the recent YUSU Elections.

However, the role’s creation, slated for 2011, is listed as dependent on University funding, and Ngwena notes that of the three new staff positions proposed in the plan, it is listed as the least vital.

Stating that YUSU currently employs 128 staff across all its various administrative and commercial entities, the report appears to suggests an increase in administrative positions throughout.

“Our staff numbers are behind other Unions. We’d want to increase [them],” explains Ngwena. “There is a trend towards staff roles in [the YUSU] building. They bring in expertise and take workload from the Sabbs so that we can get out and do more representation things. That’s our primary role.

However, despite setting out three specific roles that the Union will create in the next two years, Ngwena expects the next strategic plan, in 2013, will purposely set out to re-balance the student officer to staff ratio: “This isn’t the whitepaper for that. The next one will be.”

Groups, including YUSU Council and the GSA, will engage with the draft before a final edit is produced later in the term. However, with only 163 members in the report’s feedback Facebook group, Ngwena’s new challenge is to get ‘non-engaged’ students to give their opinions on the plans.

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