English literature, for many, serves as a passion, a delight, and an interest that draws students and Professors together in a sense of community. The English Students Association (ESA), within the last two years, has emerged from a long period of dormancy and is once again active among the UFV community. The idea that the classroom is the only representation of the English community at UFV is being challenged by the ESA; they believe there is a grander community prevalent on UFV’s campus and are reaching out to students and faculty to get involved with ESA events.
Sam Goss, treasurer of the ESA, has a specific direction in mind for the association.
“The ESA exists to create a good community for English students and arts students in general. We noticed a lot of the science clubs are well connected with their students, and we want that,” said Goss.
With liaisons such as Ron Sweeney from the English department, it is clear that the association has support. It is important to have department support for the ESA to survive. Without professorial support many associations would not receive in-class representation. The liaisons around the ESA has provided its members with a sense of recognition and connection to other students from varying backgrounds.
The events that the ESA host typically vary in themes and modes. Goss believes free food has something to do with attendance numbers, but isn’t the whole story.
“There’s two types of events: the events where free food is offered and the events where it’s not,” Goss said. “We usually get a higher turn out when food is offered, but we still have people coming even if there’s no food. It shows people are invested.”
Overall, the club has been doing well, barring the cancelling of the games night at the Boardwalk Cafe last week on Tuesday, Feb. 26 due to the flu and varying personal emergencies. The ESA has also hosted a wide variety of events in the past few months: this past October the association ran a Frankenstein film fest, and had a coffee house event this past January. The association is also planning a Paradise Lost reading during, and in collaboration, with UFV’s Valley Fest on March 12.
Like many associations, however, funding has been an issue. Typically, funding from the Student Union Society (SUS) would be available; however, SUS’ new policies tend toward efficient bureaucracy rather than simply submitting request forms. Constraints implemented by formal structures used by SUS can be difficult to work with and intimidating. In this regard, the constraints put in place by the additional request forms have had the unfortunate side effect of making many executives on the ESA, and other clubs and associations, fund their events via their own pockets.
The dedication the executives have put into the ESA is quite admirable and noteworthy, but the association’s success should not be the sole responsibility of these individuals. It is a great opening for not just UFV as a university, but also the community, to see active interest and student involvement in the ESA and other associations. Overall, the ESA represents a great opportunity for students invested in literature, have a general passion for spoken and written word, and to get involved with a community outside the structured limitations of class scheduling.
Image: ESA’s annual Paradise Lost reading, March 12. 2019. (The Cascade)