BY VANESSA GRECO
Ryerson spent nearly $120,000 in a year on meetings, some decked out with continental breakfasts, imported beer and multimedia equipment, the Eyeopener has learned through a freedom of information request.
The 118-page document details Ryerson event bookings ordered between May 1, 2008 and April, 30, 2009 from conference services — a catering and hosting provider run out of the International Living Learning Centre (ILC).
Within that year, faculties such as psychology and graduate studies managed to rack up tabs of over $5,000 to wine and dine their meeting attendees. The biggest spender was human resources, running up a bill of over $20,000.
However, not all items purchased from conference services are paid for by the university. Sometimes the cost is picked up by conference guests or groups outside of Ryerson. Conference services defines these people as external clients.
Any student that might want to book with conference services would fall under this category as well, according to Patti Franklin, assistant manager conference and food services.
“Students can book with conference services but they’re considered external clients,” said Franklin. “Faculty get paid by Ryerson, therefore they are considered internal. The money stays within.”
Ryerson staff are not obligated to book events through the ILLC-based hosting service. As well, conference services will not deliver food to meetings outside of the ILLC during the school year.
All buildings on campus — excluding Oakham House and the ILLC — are subject to Ryerson’s contract with Aramark, a food services provider.
“If someone contacts conference services for a meeting outside the ILLC, we’d refer them to Aramark,” said Elaine Tran, catering conference assistant. “There’s definitely a co-operation that’s required between us.”
When Kelly Abraham, Ryerson bookstore manager, needs someone to host his staff training sessions, he chooses to go through the ILLC.
“I look at it from a convenience point of view,” he said. “Everything gets set up for us.”