On March 27, the Campus Affairs Committee gathered to review the Hospitality and Retail Services updates and initiatives.

Vicky Jezierski, the Director of Hospitality and Retail Services at UTM, delivered a presentation regarding contract updates, construction updates, sustainability projects, and other upcoming projects.

Jezierski began her presentation by describing the improved May 2018 contract with the e-commerce platform company, called ITC, that allows students to tap at all cash registers, including the T-Card’s meal plan function. The contract with ITC has also given UTM the ability to install e-commerce platforms on the printing centre in the library, which will soon be functional. 

In November 2018, the university signed a vending machine contract with Naccarato (a three-year contract with an expandable two one-year terms). This will allow UTM to have non-exclusive contracts with various companies. 

UTM currently has over thirty vending machines stacked with classic pop beverages, candies, and chips.  With the privilege of the non-exclusive contract, UTM also has a trial period with three different companies to test out the Best Buy Express, the My Lil’Healthmart, and the THEOS Coffee Espresso Bar.

Regarding the success of the three trial-run vending machines, Jezierski commented, “In IB, after we removed Second Cup, we put in THEOS Coffee Espresso Bar and very quickly we had to add the second one because it was just so busy.”

The Campus Affairs Committee meeting also unveiled the layout of the New Food Court in the Davis Building.

The New Food Court will include: Rotisserie, Thai Express, Harvey’s, Fusion 5: Asian Food Box, Pizza Pizza, Mongolian Grill, FairTrade Canada, Bento, a salad bar section, and an international food section.

The Hospitality and Retail Services decided on these food retail services after several research projects detailing the food preferences of UTM students and faculty, and after determining an appropriate price range and food retail contract for the university.

“Three years ago, we did extensive analysis and community engagements sessions […] and we had a lot of feedback from students and faculty,” said Jezierski. “We [also] have ongoing sessions and consultation through our food advisory committees which UTM graduates and undergraduate students sit on, and we consult all of these options.”

While the food retail services will have a permanent location in the new food court, Jezierski believes that there might be last minute additions to the food court layout. Most likely the all-day breakfast café, named Oh La La, will make a permanent move to the center of the New Food Court by FairTrade Canada.

“We decided to try the all-day breakfast [at the temporary Davis food court] and to our great surprise it is a very popular location. We have been getting a lot of requests to move it into the food court. So although we don’t have a permanent location for it, we will accommodate for the full-day breakfast in the new food court when it’s all done.”

Jezierski also confirmed that the New Food Court, like most of the food services at UTM, will have food options for students who maintain a religious diet.

“Most of our meat currently served is halal meat,” said Jezierski. “We meet with students on a regular basis that have nutritional requirements, medical requirements, or religious requirements and we work with them to make sure that they have choices that are suitable to their needs.”

“We have been quite busy over these last 7 months,” concluded Jezierski. “[The New Food Court is] coming soon. But like with any construction project, there are challenges. Especially when you have a building that’s really old and you’re trying to build it up to where it needs to be.”

Budget and Funds

Scott Mabury, Vice-President of Operations and Real-Estate Partnership, and Jeff Lennon, presented U of T’s 2019-2020 Budget Report  and the Long-Range Budget of 2019 to 2024.

The U of T balanced budget of 2019-2020 is projected to be $2.77 billion with 63 per cent of revenue coming from student tuition and fees, and 59 per cent of expenditure covering faculty and staff compensation.

The projected average revenue growth rate is 3.5 per cent at the institutional level, a decrease from the 5.2 per cent projection that was calculated before the provincial government’s 10 per cent tuition cut. This means a revenue loss of $65 million for U of T.

The new provincial tuition fee framework also entails that, with the domestic tuition fee frozen at the 2019-20 rate, there will be a decrease of domestic tuition revenue and an increase in international tuition revenue.

U of T’s revenue in the 2019-2020 academic year will be funded by 34 per cent of international tuition fees, 24 per cent of government funding (from the Operating Grant), and 21 per cent of domestic tuition fees. In the 2022-2023 academic year, U of T’s dependence on international tuition fees will continue to increase as the Long-Range Budget projects U of T’s revenue to be funded from 38 per cent of international tuition fees, 21 per cent of government funding, and 21 per cent of domestic tuition fees.

To this end, Mabury and Lennon present the Four Corners to develop a new source of revenue for U of T. Some of the goals of the Four Corner plan include: “Improving the amenities and environment on the campus edge, growing the portfolio of quality attainable housing, and promoting innovation and commercialization by providing suitable space.”

The operating budget presentation shows that while UTM had 12, 553 undergraduates enroll in the 2018-19 academic year, UTM had a 0.3 per cent domestic enrolment variance to plan and an 8.7 per cent international enrolment variance to plan. This means that there are more international undergraduate students enrolling to UTM than the university has planned.

This movement is most significantly seen in St. George’s domestic undergraduate enrollment results as it is projected that the St. George campus will have a decrease of 5.1% of domestic undergraduate enrollment, a loss total of 1485 students. The overall undergraduate enrollment at U of T is then projected to decrease by over 2% by the 2023-24 academic year,

Regarding the effects of the OSAP changes the presentation noted 62 per cent of undergraduate students at U of T received OSAP in 2017-18, a total of 29,323 students. At the UTM campus 65 per cent of undergraduate students had received OSAP in the 2017-18 academic year.

The changes to OSAP will also be affecting U of T’s financial aid program, the Student Access Guarantee (SAG), as its framework works as a supplement to OSAP. When a U of T student requires financial aid, they can apply for the SAG program where their case is first sent to OSAP and if there is still an outstanding balance then the university’s reserve for financial aid covers the remaining fee.

“Our SAG program is closely linked to the OSAP program, so as it changes, those changes will flow into SAG,” said Lennon. “As fewer people are qualifying for OSAP, fewer people are going to flow into the university’s SAG program.”

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