By: Nick Scott

The Annual General Meeting for covered what UPEI’s student union has accomplished so far into the year, and furthermore on what they plan on tackling in the following semester. The executives were impressive, providing a concise, detailed and thorough overview of their goals and projects, past, present and future.

A major theme that came up throughout the evening was the issue of course evaluation forms. Much was said, especially by President Dana Kenny and VP of Academic Advocacy John Rix. Most of it concerned the lack of accountability associated with the forms, that the professors can simply read the qualitative feedback, ignore it and continue as they please. Both have pledged to address this issue in the upcoming semester, but stressed that student involvement (and passion) is needed to push the issue. They can hardly say anything if there’s no one behind them to exclaim “yeah, that is what we want!”, so keep your ear to the ground if you’re interested in seeing some form of change with the course evaluation forms.

Overall, the amount of projects they’ve done was pages long (literally, I took four pages’ worth of notes on what they said). In specific, I was amazed at how many committees each executive sits upon. Although it sounds like a complicated and chaotic bureaucracy, it’s clearly a bureaucracy hard at work, and the executives seem to be keeping the cogs and gears well-oiled.

With that said, here is a quick recap of what each executive member covered.

President Dana Kenny

What has been accomplished

  1. The first topic that came up was “fence gate”. Kenny informed the crowd that the issue has come to a tentative resolution in his dealings with the City of Charlottetown.
  2. The attack of the crows is being dealt with, with the UPEISU bringing in some crow experts (didn’t realize that was a thing) to relocate the predators of the sky.
  3. A new arts program will be coming in UPEI sometime in the future. Its current, tentative program name is CLC (Communication, Leadership and Culture).
  4. Meaningful Dialogues’ discussions concerning stigmas on mental illness, sexual violence on campus and so forth have been successful projects on campus and will continue in the future.

What he plans on accomplishing

  1. Hosting a UPEISU outreach week, to educate students about the student union and how it works. The point came up that as students, we are all a part of the student union, and pay $164 per semester to belong to this union.
  2. Creating a Financial Contingency Plan to use funds newly freed up from mortgages on student union property on new programs.
  3. Creating a Council Transitioning Program to help future student union executives to continue the projects already existing.
  4. And finally, the issue of course evaluation. During this portion there was a lot of talk about students either getting “mad” or “riled up”, my feeling was that it must be a pretty hot topic. Kenny talked mainly about how he is working towards getting rid of the multiple choice course evaluation forms, and working towards making professors accountable for the quality of work they put into their courses and teaching.

VP of Academic Advocacy John Rix

What has been accomplished

  1. The Get out to Vote campaign was a great success, with 1,133 students on campus pledging to vote, and 43,000 across Canada. It was $1,000 under budget upon its close.
  2. Advocacy priorities have been focused on generally improving students’ conditions. For example, helping international students to get recognition for English secondary language credits.

What he plans on accomplishing

  1. Putting together an advocacy team to meet with legislative members to make sure they’re listening about the student union’s advocacy priorities.
  2. Working on professor evaluation forms, again with an emphasis on the need for people to get “mad” so that the student union can harness this energy when talking to policymakers and bigwigs.
  3. Creating elevator pitches to explain to student population the goals and objectives of the advocacy priorities in a condensed manner.

VP of Student Life Nathan Hood

What has been accomplished

  1. The creation of a volunteer list (aka “voluntinder”) which helps students to find volunteer opportunities. To date, over 500 matches have been found so far.
  2. Pub events were a big success this fall, and made a fair amount of revenue.
  3. The Future Executive Development program, a series of workshops for first years students to prepare them for executive positions in societies, has been going well.

What he plans on accomplishing

  1. Throwing three pub events, “Two Years’ Eve”, “Love Pub” and “Beach Blast”.
  2. Creating a Society Strategic Plan, which would basically be a broad framework hoping to accomplish long-term (3-year plans to be precise) initiatives to help societies grow.
  3. The Diamond Awards Program, which will work towards recognizing and awarding students scholarships based on their personal potential. There will be 20 awards, each up to 500$.

VP of Communications Alex Heighington

What has been accomplished

  1. The creation of a communication form, so all social media requests for information to be shared through the student union can be directed to one place.
  2. A new graphic designer has joined the “street team”, (Which if I remember correctly, is the group responsible for putting up posters and so forth around campus)

What she plans on accomplishing

  1. Creating a new website for the student union.
  2. Creating a “communication hub” for the her communications team to operate from.

 

VP of Finance Zach Tweel

What has been accomplished

  1. Catching up with the other executive members and doing maintenance and numbers work.
  2. Looking at UPEISU business reports. It was noted that the first semester has been a big success for the Wave.
  3. Creating financial reports, such as on expenditures.
  4. Handling funding requests from societies.

What he hopes to accomplish

  1. More of the same thing as in the first semester.
  2. Creating policy and structure for the funding committee.
  3. Creating a budget committee.
  4. Taking the yearbook in a different direction. (While not for certain, it seemed as if by different, he meant digital).

Final Comments

To conclude, it was also mentioned that students can apply for an undergraduate fund for $250 per individual, or $500 per group to improve student life on campus. They are looking to increase this fund in the following semester.