By Nikayla Goddard, April 14 2020 —
The Quality Money program was founded in 2004 as an initiative between the Students’ Union (SU) and the University of Calgary Board of Governors to fund projects that result in the betterment of the campus, community and overall student life. Over 250 projects worth over $28 million have been approved and funded since its foundation in 2014.
Quality Money reviews and approves projects based off of its funding pillars, which include Quality of Education, Quality of Student Life and Affordability and Accessibility. A total of 17 projects were approved and funded this year, plus a carry-over fund to next year, resulting in a total expenditure of $1,672,385.
The largest portion of the Quality Money fund was $750,000 that went towards the Students’ Union Program of Education-Related Work (SUPERWork), which provides a $1000 wage subsidy award to undergraduate students earning less than a competitive wage at a summer employment position related to their degree program. Created in 2010, this new funding will allow the number of students supported through this program to double to 150 students per year.
Two ucalgarycares projects were funded: Indigenous Leadership and Engagement in the Yukon was funded $41,800 and Diversifying Participation in Experiential Learning was funded $28,000. The Indigenous Leadership and Engagement in the Yukon will allow both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students to participate in service-learning in two First Nations communities, allowing “students across disciplines to explore Indigenous ways of knowing through an unconventional learning environment” according to the Quality Money report. The program has been in place since 2013, but more funding has allowed for more seats in the program as well as expansion to experience and training provided.
Another project Quality Money has been supported and long-anticipated by the campus is the On-Campus Multi-Sensory Room. The Quality Money report cites that studies suggest that 1 in 20 students “experience sensory processing challenges that are significant enough to affect their ability to participate fully in the classroom without support strategies and assistive technology,” meaning that 1,300 students on campus are challenged to meet their basic sensory needs. $8,710 was given to this project, which will result in the creation of the room in a central location at the TFDL, open to any and all students.
MacHall washrooms, the ones near the concert hall on the first floor, will receive a long-needed upgrade since they have been around since the original construction of MacHall. More efficient water-saving faucets will be installed, as well as new countertops, sink basins and hand dryer units, costing a total of $48,875.
A few smaller projects that were funded included upgrading MathSci four central whiteboards to be Clarus Go! Mobile Whiteboards ($14,190), funding fire pits to be brought to the Taylor Family Quad area for volunteers to welcome students together for marshmallow roasts during colder seasons as a part of the Unwind initiative ($4,200), providing funds and publication support for an Undergraduate History Journal ($1,000) and purchasing a projector screen to be used in the Engineering Lounge for clubs and events ($362.75).
A total of $296,683.72 will be carried forwards to 2021-22 — the first time in Quality Money’s history that the entire funds were not allotted. But, due to a “combination of factors this year, including uncertainty of provincial funding leading up to the Fall 2019 QM application deadline,” there will be more funds to distribute next year. This will “ensure the ongoing integrity of the evaluation process by approving only those projects that meet the highest standards for approval.”
To check out a full list of 2020-21 funded projects, as well as past projects, see the Students’ Union Quality Money website.