Photo: Chris Blanchette

Equity centre sponsorship in question

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By Nicole Schmidt 

A delay in sending out sponsorship packages has made navigating funding difficult within the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) equity service centres.

In past years, individual equity centres have compiled sponsorship packages to help support staple events like Pride and the Reclaiming our Bodies and Minds Conference. These community sponsors are often the major source of funding, said equity and campaigns organizer Corey Scott. This year, the centres collaborated to create one major package.

Employees started working on the package in August, which was supposed to be sent out last October according to RyePRIDE coordinator Daniella Enxuga. RSU president Andrea Bartlett said that since this was a new initiative, compiling pictures, budget breakdowns and content took time. Because of this, the package wasn’t sent out until mid-February.

“It’s really frustrating because we’ve been working on them since the end of last summer,” said Enxuga. “There’s really no reason it should have taken that long.”

The package is intended to attract both internal and external community sponsorships. But last month, members of the RSU executive team approached the university asking for the full amount of sponsorship that the equity service centres requested. Ryerson supported 100 per cent of the request, donating $27,900.

“We have a long history in supporting RSU initiatives with regard to equity and inclusion,” said interim president Mohamed Lachemi. “We feel that creating welcoming safe space and an exceptional experience is for all students.”

The university has supported equity centres in the past, but donations were made in smaller increments. Scott has been working in the equity centres for three years and said this is the highest amount of money Ryerson has annually donated in that time.

Given the date the sponsorship package was released, some equity centre employees have expressed concerns with securing external funding for the year. “Any money we get from the sponsorship packages will now go to next year’s budget,” said Enxuga, whose contract ends early next month.

The RSU is still waiting on Ryerson’s internal transfer.

Scott added that the equity centres have only been able to secure half of the external funding they’ve made in years past. Bartlett said she’s made it clear that employees are free to reach out for sponsorship at any point throughout the year and that any incoming sponsorship funds from the package can be delegated accordingly.

“My hope is that [the equity centres] will now be able to attract more external sponsorship so that they can go to local companies and actually build partnerships because that’s how the equity centres will better sustain themselves,” said Bartlett.

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