Print Edition: July 2, 2014
The Student Union Society (SUS) met for their board of directors meeting on June 26, which includes representatives from four of UFV’s faculties, the SUS executive, and other representatives from UFV’s student community.
With issues like UFV system errors, the looming Student Union Building, and the upcoming Canadian Alliance of Student Association (CASA) conference on the agenda, the new board structure had much to discuss.
At the last general meeting, college of arts rep Greg Stickland proposed a motion requesting each SUS executive — VP internal Thomas Davies, VP external Dylan Thiessen, and president Ryan Petersen — draw up a goal plan to share with the board in order to remain focused on carrying out their initiatives.
Davies’ report included some of the inconsistencies in UFV registration regarding health and dental.
“We’ve been noticing some concerns regarding how UFV is applying student fees, particularly around the health and dental plan,” he said.
“If you’re a full-time student, you’re supposed to be automatically opted into the health and dental plan,” Davies continued. “What’s been happening though is the UFV system they use for registration isn’t properly picking up the difference; so some students thought they had coverage [but] it turns out they didn’t because of the system error on UFV’s end.”
Davies said they met with UFV’s assistant registrar to remedy the situation.
He also noted SUS is looking to change its financial management in order to increase efficiency. Currently, SUS’s banking is handled through UFV finance; however, they plan to transition to an independent financial institution by the end of the fiscal year.
Petersen then opened discussion about advertising in the new SUS building. The building will not rely on outside sources of revenue — but posting visual advertisements, hosting vendors, or selling the naming rights are options to contribute extra funding to student functions.
“There are things we can do that benefit students,” said Stickland.
The board discussed ways to make the advertising relevant to students. Some suggestions included advertisements promoting community events or public organizations, and partnering with businesses that offer discounts with the U-Pass.
“It should have a mandate to enhance student life,” said faculty of professional studies rep Jennifer Trithhardt-Tufts.
Advertising will remain up for discussion in the coming months while the SUS building is under construction.
Petersen also noted the upcoming CASA conference in July, advocating for youth unemployment initiatives, consistency in trades certification between provinces, mental health awareness, parental exemption from student loan assessment, and female aboriginal representation.
Petersen noted one of his goals is to get a thorough plan with the university for finances, after the latest board of governors retreat.
“The university has been put in a tricky situation with provincial government funding,” he said. The board met at Harrison Hot Springs, discussing the possibility of raising fees for campus residents and international students in order to fill the financial gap.
Petersen also notified the board of a letter he sent to Mayor Bruce Banman and Council expressing concern regarding Abbotsford’s reputation at the last CASA conference, though he did not sign the letter as a representative of SUS.
The manure incident last year involving the homeless had prompted negative comments about Abbotsford from other CASA members.
“I wish to address these concerns to the appropriate people, i.e. the mayor [and] the City Council,” Petersen said.
Thiessen listed various initiatives coming out of meetings with the advocacy committee, including the promotion of mental health awareness.
“We’re hoping to do this year-long advertising campaign on mental health awareness, focusing on people who deal with these issues but are also successful,” he said.
The committee is hoping to hold monthly events focused on ways to cope with mental health issues, featuring workshops promoting healthy lifestyle choices.