The Ways EngSoc is Here to Serve You

Abdullah Bakarat - VP Finance
Posted on: October 22, 2016

Hello everyone! I hope you are all having a wonderful term so far (I mean, EngSoc is a thing, so how could you not?). In this issue, I would like to provide some information and updates on a key part of the VP Finance portfolio—the Engineering Society commercial services. As you may or may not know, the Engineering Society runs a number of services in and around CPH where you can make purchases—coffee, donuts, snacks and meals at the C&D; swag, merchandise and other apparel at Novelties; electronic components and hardware at RidgidWare; and printing, binding and ticket sales at the EngSoc Office, to name a few. The management of each of these areas is a very important part of what I do as your EngSoc VP Finance. Recently, we have done a lot of brainstorming in these areas, and came up with some cool ideas on how to improve them. A lot of people may view these as being stores, where you come, you pay money, and you leave with something. However, since the Engineering Society is here first and foremost to represent and serve you, the engineering undergraduate students, I like to think of each of these areas as a service.

Sure, we take in money, but as a not-for-profit, the only place that money goes is back into the service, which means we can expand to better serve students. I think this is an important distinction, and as we look to expand and grow in future years, something that we need to keep in mind. Why call them a service, though? What makes the C&D any different than a coffee shop in the plaza? Why should I buy from RidgidWare instead of ordering the parts myself online? When you look at these questions on the surface, there isn’t much of an obvious distinction. For me, the difference is what the goal of these services is. I can tell you that when it comes to EngSoc commercial operations, the goal is not to be able to say we’ve sold more coffees than anyone else. The goal is to offer students the best products that we can, at the best price, and make it convenient and accessible. We want to make them into more than just stores.

There’s RidgidWare, which is still relatively new; we only opened 2 years ago. This is our biggest up-and-coming service, and we are continuously brainstorming ways to improve and expand. Last Winter we got Square into RidgidWare, meaning that we were able to start accepting credit card payments. We are starting to reach out to companies and try to work out some deals to have a pre-order system going, as well as trying to get better deals on our stock in order to further benefit students. We’ve started bringing in robot kits and running workshops in collaboration with our Student Services Commissioner in order to provide something new for everyone. Have a cool idea for something you would like to see? Let us know!

Then there’s Novelties—one of the only places to get cool UW Engineering Swag. How can this be a service? We are looking at expanding to offer the items that students actually want, and also doing things like helping to coordinate class orders of swag. Once we clear some of our existing inventory in Novelties, we can start looking at cool new items you want to see.

To summarize, the Engineering Society commercial services are here to serve you. We are constantly looking at ways to improve and better serve the students at Waterloo, whether it be new methods of payment or new merchandise options. If you ever have any suggestions on what you would like to see available in any of these areas, or a question about them, please don’t hesitate to ask me. Email me at vpfinance.a@engsoc.uwaterloo.ca or drop by the EngSoc Office (CPH 1327), and we can chat!