AMS Report July 8th, Part 2

Thanks everyone for your feedback and questions with regards to the last post. I’ve tried my best to outline what happened during the second part of the AMS meeting. Keep in mind that I had to leave sometime before it ended, so the ending may not be as detailed as I would have liked it.


There are many things that bring joy to my life: well-made lattes, urban outfitter sales, hot yoga, pies, academic nerd talk, etc. Out of all of them, however, there is one thing in particular that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside- a marvellously well done PowerPoint. While our budget may be showing a substantial deficit, Tom Dvorak definitely did not cheap out when it came to making his PowerPoint:

A classy black and white colour scheme? Check.
Apple animations? Check.
Sticking to three points or less per slide? Check.
A professional yet casual suit? Check.
Nailing the presentation despite its dire content. Check.

Big thanks should probably go to Tom Dvorak for taking the time to make such a clear budget as well as all the members of the budget committee (Ben Cappellacci, Joel Martens, Dia “Diamond Dust” Montgomery, Johannes Rebane, Klazina van den Berg, and Kyle Warwick) for going through everything during the summer. Budgeting is NOT an easy process and mad props goes to all of you.

Now I’m going to try as best as I can to recount the very basics of a close to 14 million dollar budget:

(1) Main sources of Revenue (budgeted):
• AMS General Fees, that’s the amount you pay the AMS every year: 4 325 300, up about 39% from last year
• Graduating and undergraduate fees, that’s the $266 you pay to the CUS every year: up about 4% from last year
o An interesting note here, if you take a look at the actual amounts from last year, the CUS account makes for a whopping 51% of all undergraduate society fees (666,013/1,296,400)
• Health and Dental Fees, that’s the plan I try to opt out every year: 7,000,000, up about 6% from last year
• Business Operations Net contribution: 936 200, up around 8% primarily due to the strong catering revenue stream. This is a one-line item since the extensive business ops budget is heavily guarded lest UBC Food Services should get their hands on it. Personally, I would very much like to see the Pit Pub budget, but that’s just me.
• Investment Revenue: 250 000, down about 2% due to the current economic environment. I’d like to extend a warm finance hug to Henry Chen, the AMS’s treasurer and controller who has done an impeccable management of our investments.
• Sponsorship revenue: 30 000, the same as last year
o Another interesting note here: sponsorship represents less than one percent of the AMS’s total revenue while it represents over 13% of the CUS’s revenue.
• Total Revenue: 13 885 500, up about 13.8% since last year

(2) This may very well look like a lot of cash, but much of that is non-discretionary, meaning that nobody can play with it. For example, the health and dental revenue goes into the health and dental fund, the SUB renew revenue goes into the SUB renew fund etc. When all said and done, the AMS has $1, 1990,500 of discretionary income to allocate as it sees fit.

(3) Projected Expenses for the upcoming year are:
• Programs and Publications, that’s things like the Welcome back BBQ, Block Party, various smaller events and the agenda thing you’re supposed to use but use the Prospectus instead. Amount: $556 626 (that’s 141 275 tall green tea soy milk sugar-free vanilla lattes). Expense rating? Good because it funds Block Party.
• Administration and Info Systems: This is only a partial contribution to the expenses (the other part being from the secret business budget). This accounts for all the wonderful full-time staff and other overhead. $696 000 (no comment on the funny number)
• Student Government: This is where all the execs get their money so it is obviously important and accounts for 31% of all expenses! Budgeted amount is $751 319, up 7.8% from last year. This is also where council gets free food, so it’s very important.
• Student Services: That’s Safewalk, Minischool etc. Very important because when I’m going home to Surrey, I always have a big Safewalker by my side (I wish. Ben, we should be able to rent safewalkers…preferably good looking ones. Action item right there.) It’s up 1.3% to $439 957. I was actually surprised to find how little of the expenses, 18%, student services take up since they’re so vital to the society.

Wait a minute you may say. I am a commerce student majoring in accounting/finance/HR/Marketing/World domination and thus know how to read a budget, so how come the discretionary income does not match the expenses? In fact, the expenses are $453, 402 more than the revenues. The reason lies in the AMS taking out from its funds to support the budget. Some of these funds are okay since they’re replenished every year. Other funds are not. MOST notably, it the whopping $287 605 budgeted amount taken from NON-REPLENISHED funds (eek!). That’s over a 104% increase from last year and represents a startling change. While last year most savings occurred because budgeted projects were not followed through and catering did exceptionally well, this year spending is on the rise, despite the economic climate.

Tom’s suggestions?

1. Begin a structural audit as soon as possible to figure out ways this doesn’t happen again. This is already in the works.
2. Student Fee Referendum
3. Promote Volunteerism (No problem here, I already do not get paid)
4. Seize New Business Opportunities such as internal pricing or…JAPADOGS. Yes, you heard right.

Indeed I felt a little disheartened coming out of the budget presentation. I look forward to Tom & Co. (sounds like a line of nautical-themed polos….new business venture perhaps?)’s initiatives.

(For more information, please corner Tom and bother him. He is a lonely individual, so he would appreciate your company. Also feel free to contact me I will try my best to answer questions.)

Final note: Fall U-pass will be BLUE. Blue is known to be calming so next time your bus passes you by because it’s too full, or you have to commute an hour and a half to Surrey in sweat-infested traffic, take a look at your Upass and you’ll feel calmer right away.


In the interest of efficiency, I have outsourced my post to Neal’s. So take a look at it if it strikes your fancy:

Much love,

Your AMS rep.

PS I too am a lonely individual, so please e-mail me questions at