Jared Dodds, News Reporter

Humber College’s student government IGNITE announced its budget of about $13.57 million for 2020-21 at its Annual General Meeting on March 27.

The online meeting also outlined IGNITE’s accomplishments from the previous academic year and present a financial plan in what could be a year marked by uncertainty because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ercole Perrone, executive director of IGNITE, and Monica Khosla, the current president of IGNITE, hosted the AGM online last Friday and outlined the financial allocations. The student government is operating on a balanced budget this coming school year, with just more than $13.5 million in revenue and expenses.

Ercole Perrone, IGNITE executive director, answering questions posed by Et Cetera reporter Jared Dodds about the student government’s 2020-21 budget during the March 27 Annual General Meeting. The meeting was held online because Humber College’s campuses remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Jared Dodds)

The organization organized it the same way they align fee categories under the Student Choice Initiative: Mandatory, Optional and Ancillary.

Optional fees account for more than $3 million of the total budget, while mandatory fees are $1.75 million of the total, and ancillary amounts to about $1.23 million. Insurance accounts for the bulk of the budget, at more than $7.55 million.

Mandatory includes services such as Academic Support, and Health and Wellness, the latter which operates at under five per cent of IGNITE’s total budget, or about $616,000.

This contrasts with the largest section of the Optional fees, Events and Social Opportunities, which came out to more than $1.27 million, or close to 10 per cent of the budget.

This dwarfs not only Mandatory Health and Wellness, but also Financial Support, another section of Optional Fees coming to just in excess of $606,000.

Perrone said Health and Wellness being mandatory makes its chunk of money secure but balancing out Financial Support and Events would be a process IGNITE would look into.

“There’s no harm in us looking into it, and in fact I think it is something we should look into,” Perrone said.

“At 60 per cent [opt-in rate] like we were expecting, that total dollar value was something we thought we could thoughtfully contribute to fun events,” he said. “Greater than that I think might pose some challenges for us to allocate those funds.”

IGNITE’s budget and accompanying business plan, however, remain in flux due to the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19.

“Obviously some of these revenue projections are based on our understanding of what student enrolment is going to be like in the spring as well as the fall and winter, and we don’t have any clear understanding of what the spring and fall intake will be like,” Perrone said.

.Other highlights include more than $500,000 towards advocacy, which he said would be aimed at easing concerns students have over time, money and stress.

IGNITE has also set aside over $575,00 for part-time staff, as they continue to be one of the largest on campus employers of students with an average of 75 positions available.

The AGM was for the first time held exclusively online because the campuses are closed due the the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The anxiety was certainly high,” Perrone said of the meeting. “Humber’s IT staff were amazing, and for our first ever go around doing it that way, it seemed to be pretty smooth.”