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University of Calgary Students’ Union prepares to create three-year Strategic Plan

By Matty Hume, December 19 2018 —

At the Dec. 4 meeting of the University of Calgary Students’ Union Students’ Legislative Council, vice-president academic Jessica Revington presented an overview and timeline of the SU Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan is high-level overview of the SU’s vision and objectives that is reviewed and implemented every three years.

Revington described the Strategic Plan as more “visioning” than “planning.” She urged SLC members to reflect on the current environment of the U of C and to consult with students directly for meaningful feedback.

According to SU president Sagar Grewal, the Strategic Plan is the document that affects all SU operations, including the Annual Plan and any event plans.

“The Strategic Plan [is] comprised of our mission, our vision and our values which we should be fulfilling through everything we do and everything we strive to do as an organization,” Grewal said. “Our Annual Plan should be helping us achieve our goals of the Strategic Plan overall. Every three years it must be reviewed just to make sure we continually hear what students want to see reflected in their organization.”

SLC members will fill out planning surveys from Jan. 2–11. Internal focus groups will be conducted for SLC members and SU staff on Jan. 29 and 30, respectively. Then, SLC will review a first draft of the Strategic Plan on Feb. 26. SLC will vote to approve a first reading of the draft one week later on March 5, with a second reading and official approval vote on March 12.

During the Dec. 4 presentation at SLC, Cumming School of Medicine representative Jarin Thundathil voiced concerns that the one-week turnaround between the first draft and first reading may put constraints on the inclusion of any substantial revisions to the Strategic Plan.

Revington assured him that if substantial revisions are needed, SU executives and staff will be capable of implementing SLC’s feedback.

Regarding the focus group sessions, Grewal said they will remain largely internal to the SU.

“We’re hoping to hold more internal [sessions] in the sense that we’re going to hold one for SLC and probably one for employees,” he said. “Reason being is we want to make sure that we create a Strategic Plan which our elected officials and our employees see themselves reflected in and can by into.

“As an organization, we need to make sure that those people that carry out our operations believe in it just to make sure the students on the back end don’t suffer from having people who don’t believe in the same thing,” Grewal added.

He expanded on the internal focus of the Strategic Plan, citing that people within the SU as an organization are the ones that will be putting it into action, in terms of SU operations and initiatives.

“This year, we’re going to be doing one consultation in the Strategic Plan for people involved with the SU whether they’re volunteers with volunteer services, part-time employees in The Den or wherever they may be, whoever it is, including SLC,” Grewal said. “In addition to that, we’re hoping to use all of our SU Annual Survey data and our Clubs Survey data to hopefully illustrate how this translates to our operation and services, because that’s what really matters to students in terms of, ‘How does the SU benefit us?’ ”

Despite largely internal consultation, Grewal said undergraduate students should contact their faculty representatives to voice their input for the Strategic Plan.

“A great way to get in touch would really be to reach out to your SLC faculty representatives or any of the executives about some of the ideas you have,” he said. “In addition, the SU Annual Survey will also be going out and there are some questions in there that do relate back to how the SU can serve you better.”

Grewal urged students to attend SLC to remain informed and engaged with the SU, especially regarding long-term initiatives that affect them directly, such as the Strategic Plan.

“Make sure students check out SLC,” Grewal said. “That’s where we talk about things like this.”

The first meeting of SLC is Jan. 9 at 6:30 p.m. in the MacHall Executive Council Chambers. Meetings occur most Tuesdays during the winter semester.

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