RSU student group funding shoots up to $100,000 per year

The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) has increased grant funding for student groups more than tenfold, and is now approving applications for as much as $3,000 per semester.

The RSU’s vice-president operations, Obaid Ullah, told The Ryersonian that he approved the proposal in the RSU’s budget in August. The grants are used to fund special projects that go beyond the $600 of regular funding student groups receive.

Daoud Ghanim of the Ryerson Muslim Students' Association holds up one of the groups aging prayer mats. New grant funding will be used to purchase replacements (Arthur White/Ryersonian Staff).

Daoud Ghanim of the Ryerson Muslim Students’ Association holds up one of the groups aging prayer mats. New grant funding will be used to purchase replacements (Arthur White/Ryersonian Staff).

Ullah said funding has long been inadequate for the number of groups on campus, and ran dry in February of last year.

“In the past, (the RSU) had $8,000 for 62 student groups, which is a ridiculous, absurdly low amount,” he said.

Now funding will be set at $100,000 per year. Course unions will have access to a smaller cash pool of $40,000, five times the previous amount.

“Course unions are eligible for funding in other places, including from their departments,” Ullah said. “So we gave them an increase, but it wasn’t as much as student groups.”

RSU president Andrea Bartlett said the money for the funding boost came from savings the union reaped on the health and dental plan when they switched to a new insurance broker this year. She says the new funding is “sustainable financially.”

Ullah said several proposals have already been submitted and approved, including a grant given to RyeSERC, a student-led emergency response unit. The Ryerson Muslim Students’ Association also got much-needed funding for new prayer mats. The group’s president, Radwan Al-Nachawati, said his members are “thrilled” about the new funding.

“We have been using the same prayer mats for over 25 years,” he told The Ryersonian. “I can safely say that we have reused them over 600 times over this time period.

“We’re absolutely grateful for the grant, and think that this addition in funding will be great for many student groups.”

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