Trinity College Dublin’s Graduates Students’ Union (GSU) has reported a surplus for the academic year 2019/20, despite the financial implications caused by Covid-19.
The GSU has maintained a surplus of €2,861 this year, compared to a €1,545 the year before.
Trinity College Dublin’s Students Union (TCDSU) reversely reported a deficit of nearly €50,000 for the same academic period, having to make provisions for the outbreak of the virus back in March.
The GSU has returned a surplus every year since 2016.
Speaking to Trinity News, the union claimed that their financial position is due to “substantial increased sponsorship revenue”, which was raised by the former Vice President and current President of the GSU Gisèle Scanlon.
GSU developed a number of commercial partnerships in 2019/20, which the union claimed was “incredibly important” considering “the limited amount of funding the Graduate Students’ Union receives via existing funding structures”.
Scanlon stated: “I pressed for multi-year agreements in 2019/20 from sponsors which allowed the GSU to be able to forecast financial income in the future and this took us through the difficult months of the summer where external funding dried up because of the impact of Covid-19.”
“I’m working on a long-term strategy for the union to secure our financial future which will be outlined in the 2020-25 GSU strategic plan published in the Spring”, she explained. “I’d like to ensure that the financial model helps us sustain growth.”
The GSU Treasurer’s report for the academic year 2019/20 showed that the income of the GSU increased by almost 17%, where expenses increased by approximately 16%. The union stated that the increase in income can be “directly attributed to the GSU Vice President’s vigorous targeting of external commercial opportunities which were then mainly dedicated to cover the increase of expenses for Events and Elections which arose due to pandemic”.
An increase in events-related expenses was also reported by the union to a total of €3,906 over the prior year. Decreased publications expenses of €1,867 were also reported, “reflecting the communication strategy with a focus on targeted online resources”.
An increase in election expenses of €3,807 was reported, with the union claiming this is “because of a change in election process due to pandemic”.
In a forecast for the upcoming financial year, the union stated that it is “the view of the GSU Sabbatical Officers, Treasurer and external Auditor, that the Graduate Students’ Union is operating as efficiently as possible and has given a true and fair view of the state of the Union’s affairs as of 31 August 2020”.
“The Graduate Students’ Union is in a healthy financial position again and has increased its net surplus which is up slightly on the previous year,” the statement added.
Due to Covid-19, the GSU had to cancel their annual GSU Ball, as well as change their voting systems to take place online.
In May 2020, former Vice President Gisèle Scanlon was elected President of the GSU with the largest ever voter turnout for a Sabbatical officer at the Union, and she took office on July 1.
The GSU is one of College’s five capitated bodies that receives funding from the Capitations Committee, alongside Trinity College Dublin’s Students’ Union (TCDSU), the Central Societies Committee (CSC), Trinity Publications, and Dublin University Central Athletic Club (DUCAC).