Vice chancellor leads budget and finance forum

Discusses University efforts to save money
The forum gave students an opportunity to get involved in UW-Eau Claire’s finances. (Photo used with permission from Kristen OBrien)
The forum gave students an opportunity to get involved in UW-Eau Claire’s finances. (Photo used with permission from Kristen O’Brien)

A budget and finance forum to discuss the current and projected financial state of UW-Eau Claire was held last Thursday in Hibbard Humanities Hall. The forum was led by the university’s vice chancellor for finance and administration, Grace Crickette, and discussed the university’s finances and efforts to save money. 

Crickette began the forum by discussing the current projections for the financial year of 2024. 

Crickette said the university is “able to maintain the recommended amount of financial reserves of 20-40% range,” meaning that the university has a comfortable amount of savings. 

Crickette said “even with the pandemic, we were able to stay in that range.” 

Story continues below advertisement

Crickette also made a special point of saying that the university has no plans for layoffs of any kind. 

The university’s effort to save money is called Working Smarter and was a focal point of the presentation. According to UW-Eau Claire’s website, Working Smarter is a “cost savings and revenue generation initiative, designed to propel the university into a new era of financial sustainability and academic excellence.” 

Crickette said they are “having conversations (with) leaders on campus about cost savings.” 

Working Smarter has groups of faculty from each department and college that meet regularly to discuss potential ways for campus to save money.

Crickette gave several examples of the Working Smarter program changes. Crickette said that because of restructuring the Human Resources and Benefits staff, they were able to fill an important vacant position while also permanently saving the university $108,179. 

Crickette said the College of Art and Science was able to save $148,500 on supplies and other expenses. 

Other members of the faculty spoke about plans to reduce costs to the university.

Lily Strehlow, UW-Eau Claire’s sustainability coordinator, spoke about efforts to save on campus furniture and office supplies. Strehlow said that roughly $708,000 was spent on those items annually since October of 2017. 

Strehlow also said that spending on furniture has decreased thanks to efforts being made to reupholster furniture rather than buying new. When UW-Eau Claire chose to reupholster the furniture in Centennial Hall rather than replace it, the project was able to save 50%. 

Strehlow said that using Amazon has been very helpful for the university. 

“It’s easy and we get exactly what we need,” Strehlow said. 

Strehlow said that they’re investigating Amazon Business to examine any possible savings that it could bring to UW-Eau Claire. 

During the forum, there was discussion about transportation on campus. By looking at the last 10 years, the university found that overall, it would’ve been cheaper to lease cars than to purchase them directly. 

Roberta Christensen, the associate director of Budget and Finance of the student union, succinctly summarized the intentions of these efforts. 

“They’re about stopping, being intentional and rethinking,” said Christensen. 

This finance and budget forum was the first of several throughout the academic year, but the dates have yet to be announced. 

Sherry can be reached at [email protected].

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Spectator intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. The Spectator does not allow anonymous comments and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Spectator Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *