Renovating Louis’ a prudent move for the USSU

By in News

While the University of Saskatchewan has asked the provincial government for a 90-million-dollar bond for five building renovations, the U of S Students’ Union reveals that it is fiscally responsible and unaffected by the cuts to postsecondary institutes.

Last year, the University Students’ Council moved to upgrade Louis’ Pub, located in the Memorial Union Building, to address structural issues and improve the style of the space. The project has been completed in time to serve the influx of undergraduate-student patrons this fall.

Caroline Cottrell, general manager of the USSU, worked closely with Strata Development on behalf of the USC to ensure that the renovation addressed the diverse needs of students while also attracting outside business to rent the venue. “I need Louis’ to function as someplace people want to come for lunch.

I need Louis’ to function as someplace where students want to come for Toonie Tuesdays,” Cottrell said. “I need Louis’ to function for weddings in the summer, because that’s our bread and butter in the summer months when students aren’t here. It allows us to stay open.”

Undergraduate students are shareholders of Louis’, because it is owned and operated by the students’ union, which they pay into with their student fees. The union is a non-profit, financially independent entity, and any revenue generated by Louis’ and other sources, like the Lower Place tenants, goes against the projected budgets for each USSU department and the various resources provided for the benefit of students.

Leigh Thomas, a second-year urban and regional planning student, believes that the renovations will attract more business to Louis’.

“It will bring in new business, I think, because — the old [Louis’] — you wouldn’t really want to bring in anyone in here unless it was to have fun, but now … you can come here and feel comfortable,” Thomas said.

Cottrell explains that the USSU is responsible for maintaining Place Riel and the MUB, which is why the USSU accumulates $122 from every full-time student’s tuition each year. This money goes into the infrastructure fund that was implemented in 2003 to finance renovations, minor repairs, mortgage fees and any cases of property damage to the student union buildings.

“I’m very proud of the way we’ve managed finances for students. I’m not going to tell lies about that either,” Cottrell said. “We have money in the bank. We have reserves, we have investments, and it’s all on [students’] behalf.”

As general manager, Cottrell’s job is to ensure that students can be proud of the spaces they own. She encourages undergraduate students to take full advantage of the venue by booking Louis’ for club events.

Cottrell explains that money from the infrastructure fund can only be accessed when the USC votes on a project proposal. The USSU financial statements are available on their website, and Cottrell assures students that the staff remains mindful of how finances must be spent.

“Everybody is very cognizant [of] whose money it is that we spend,” Cottrell said. “There’s nobody on our staff who is not fully aware, and if I think they’re forgetting, I remind them that this money is money that is provided through undergraduates, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s [from] undergraduates paying their fees or eating at Louis’.”

Nykole King / News Editor

Graphic: Lesia KaralashGraphics Editor