A year in review

Since this is my last editorial and I couldn’t just think of one thing to give you my opinion on, here’s a breakdown of my opinion on as many of the things that happened over the past year that I could fit into this space.

July 2016 – UFV adds preferred pronoun and name options

As of this past fall semester, students applying to UFV are now able to identify their preferred name and gender identity. It’s a change that needed to happen, and kudos to UFV for making it happen.

July 2016 – Pride and women’s centres

The Student Union Society (SUS) announced at their July board meeting that they will be opening a pride centre and a women’s centre on the second floor of the Student Union Building. The weird thing about this is that it’s SUS creating these spaces, and not the university, unlike most institutions. It’s happening either way, but it’s more than a little disappointing.

July 2016 – SUS flag display

SUS installed an international flag display, representing the countries UFV’s international students were from. Then they took it down in August. Then they finally put it back up in February, this time with Sto:lo, Metis, and pride flags, as well as flags with the SUS, Cascade, and CIVL Radio logos. It’s a cool idea, but it kind of hurts my eyes. And as someone pointed out on The Cascade’s Instagram account last week, the Polish flag is upside-down so right now there’s two Indonesian flags.

August 2016 – Committee to create sexual violence and misconduct policy formed

As mandated by the provincial government, UFV started working on a sexual violence and misconduct policy. The cool thing about this is that they included students on the committee, although they weren’t required to do so, and were much more open and transparent about the entire procedure than they needed to be.

Sept 2016 – Dana takes over

Dana replaced Sodexo as the food provider on campus, mainly in the cafeteria and wow, what an improvement. Not only is the food slightly cheaper, but it’s also locally sourced, and their breakfast is probably my favourite thing about UFV right now.

Sept 2016 – Canoe turns into another cafeteria

The Canoe used to be my favourite place to get food on campus. Now it’s my least favourite, and not only on campus. To prevent SUS’ food services from being over budget again, when the restaurant reopened in September it was “cafeteria-style,” meaning that instead of normal restaurant service, you order at the counter and then they bring you your food. This isn’t the problem — the problem is that the food is now pretty horrible. Except for the yam fries. But everything else is horrible.

Oct 2016 – Cats on campus

In my opinion, this is the most exciting thing that has ever happened at UFV, or at least in my time here. There was a cat that moved on campus, she had kittens, everyone was looking for them, they eventually got rescued, a professor adopted her, and I got to write three stories on the whole thing. It was just great, and may end up being the highlight of my journalistic career.

Oct 2016 – Pinholes in condoms

In October, a student poking pinholes in the free condoms offered in a washroom in the Student Union Building lead to promises of condom and feminine hygiene product dispensers installed on campus. I’m afraid to comment on this because of the emails I’ll get from SUS. Just read our previous coverage on it.

Nov 2016 – New myUFV platform

UFV updated the myUFV platform in November, and while it looks fancier and all that, you can no longer view your class list. Turns out registering for classes is a lot less fun when you can’t creep all your soon to be classmates on Facebook. I’d go back to the old myUFV, which I never had a problem with, just to have those class lists again.

Nov 2016 – Disability email

An email sent out to all student registered with a disability accidentally didn’t blind the recipients so all emails were shown. Someone forgetting to click bcc turned into a huge privacy violation. That sucks.

Jan 2017 – Jordan Abel as Writer in Residence

UFV’s English department brings in a writer in residence each year, but the cool thing this time was that it came with the department’s first ever Literary Arts Week, and a whole bunch of other great events focussed on publishing. With experts from local publications including Anvil Press, Geist, and SubTerrain, this was probably the most impactful event that I’ve seen as my time as an English major, and without a question should become an annual thing.

Jan 2017 – Margaret Trudeau

Margaret Trudeau came to campus to speak about mental health, everyone made a huge deal about it, and then we all went on living our lives and it hasn’t really been mentioned since.

Jan 2017 – UFV app

When I first found out UFV was making an app I thought wow, what a waste of money. But then I downloaded it and started using it. And now I use it a lot. You can check your grades and class schedules, along with a whole bunch of other helpful stuff. Good job on this one UFV.

Jan 2017 – CIVL mini school

CIVL Radio got a $50,000 grant from the CRFC and used it to bring in industry professionals and give training to students, which they then could use to make radio pieces which they could get paid for. This is probably my favourite initiative that a student society has come up with, and not only this year.

Jan 2017 – Digital Hub

It’s not technically a thing that’s happened yet, but UFV contracted Stantec (a professional services company) to help with the pre-planning of the digital hub, a fancy new building that’s going to be built on UFV’s Abbotsford campus. I don’t really know how I feel about this because I don’t really know what a digital hub is. “Architecturally stimulating” and “stimulated innovation and collaboration” and “true entrepreneurial spirit?” Those are just big words.

Feb 2017 – Presidential search continues

Current UFV president Mark Evered is retiring this summer and UFV has spent the past year completing a very careful search to find his replacement, which they did. But he withdrew his application and they had to start the search again. We actually paid the candidate off with hopes that Evered would stay but no dice. Just created a fiasco.

Feb 2017 – Better Wifi

UFV announced that it’s spending $450,000 to improve WiFi on campus. According to a UFV survey 47.8 per cent of students thought the WiFi needed improving, but I wasn’t one of them. It seems like a lot of money to fix a problem that I never noticed needed fixing. I’d be more impressed if they tried to improve the cell service in the Student Union Building. I’m sick of having to find windows to stand by every time I need to send a text.

Feb 2017 – SUS finally found an ED

After nearly a year without one, the Student Union finally hired a new executive director. SUS wouldn’t say why the last one left, but if I made you a bet that it wasn’t voluntary, I probably wouldn’t lose. The good part is that the new ED is a great guy with great experience, and now that SUS once again has adult supervision, it looks like they’re for once on track to get their finances in check and start making decisions that are practical instead of impressive.

March 2017 – SUS elections

People ran in the election and people voted in the election. But this time, the winner of the presidential spot is someone that has never had any experience with SUS, and ran on a platform based almost completely on making SUS more fun. This could go either way, but he’s right, SUS could definitely be a lot more fun.

March 2017 – Gender neutral washrooms

SUS announced at their March board meeting that they would be changing the washrooms on the second floor of the Student Union Building to be gender neutral — and that they would be spending $3,000 to take the urinals out of what’s currently the men’s washroom. A number of students were upset about this use of funding, saying that those who cared if there were urinals in a gender neutral washroom could just use the one without them right beside it. They were also upset that they had no idea SUS was even going to be voting on this.

March 2017 – SUS gets rid of scholarship

Out of all the things SUS has done in the past year, this is the only one that I was one hundred per cent okay with. The $40,000 scholarship that was awarded to a student every year had to be the biggest waste of student funds I’ve seen in my time at UFV. Here’s to hoping that they don’t use it to fund something equally lame. My vote would be on using it to paint a Death Star in the Canoe, kind of like the one that used to be in Aftermath. Actually, they should just use the money to bring back Aftermath.