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SUS Elections: a breakdown

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What is the Student Union Society?

The Student Union Society (SUS) is a student lead, non-profit organization on the University of the Fraser Valley campus that is funded by student fees. It is run by a board of elected student executives, faculty representatives, hired student staff, and a small group of permanent staff.

SUS is the official representative of the student body, and serves its members by providing services and engagement opportunities, organizing clubs and associations, and communicating students needs and opinions to the university and government. The SUS also manages the Student Union Building (SUB), and services such as the UFV/SUS campus connector, student advocacy, financial aid, and hosts events.

What do you pay towards SUS per semester?

$30.00 General Operations
$27.23 Campus Connector
$4.98 FixIT
$35.00 SUB Building Fee
$43.13 U-Pass program
$215.59 Health & Dental Plan Fee (yearly, full time students)

What positions on the SUS board are up for election?

President

The president is the official spokesperson of SUS, and is responsible for carrying out the strategic goals of the board, and representing the interest of the students. The position is public-facing, and is responsible for external communications with various national, provincial, local, and university groups. They also lay out strategic goals and orders of the SUS board.

Vice President Internal

The VPI is the treasurer and secretary of SUS, and oversees clubs and associations. They are responsible for ensuring financial responsibility and compliance with governing documents, and overseeing the management of student organizations.

Vice President External

The VPE is SUS’s representative at the local, regional, provincial, and federal government levels, and coordinates advocacy efforts for the interest of UFV students.

Vice President Students

The VPS is a public-facing role involved in the creation of student programming designed to build community on campus, and provide educational outcomes.

College of Arts Representative

Student representatives act as the voice for the student body they are representing on the board.  

Voting is available online from April 9 to 12.

What services does SUS provide?
The U-Pass program
The campus connector shuttle bus
FixIT IT services
SUS food bank
Health and dental coverage
Funding for clubs and associations
The Canoe restaurant
Fair Grounds coffee shop
Emergency student grants
Various scholarships and awards

A year of SUS
June: Created gender neutral washrooms on the first floor of SUB
June: Moved shuttle bus location to the front of SUB
September: Put in place plans for a shuttle bus shelter (still incomplete)
September: Turned SUB lounge into clubs and associations room
October: Free pancake breakfast every Wednesday
December: Hosted the new event Winter FUNderland in collaboration with E-sports Valley Club, Pen and Paper Tabletop, and the Computing Students Association
December: Cancelled by-elections due in part to starting late and the UFV email hack
February: The second EGM attempt saw the approval of a bylaw allowing SUS board of directors to approve the SUS annual budgets
February: Brought back vice-president students position
March: Launched Advanced Leadership Program (ALP), hosting a total of four speakers at the events
March: Hosted budget consultation focus groups to gather student opinion

2018 Electoral Statements

Alec Zinman
Running for Vice President Students (VPS)

Qualifications
Secretary of the Pen and Paper Tabletop Club, worked on Winter FUNderland charity event.

Area of Study
Currently enrolled in the general studies diploma but plans on getting BA with minors in theatre and applied ethical political philosophy.

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How would you accomplish your goals in this role?
My goals are definitely to listen to the students, and know what they want. I think VPS is definitely about planning events and student advocacy, and they go hand-in-hand with knowing what the students want, and helping them accomplish those goals. So I don’t want to just put on events that I think are cool, I want to put on events that students think are cool.
Right now I have the idea, I don’t know how viable it would be, but I want to make a way for students to come up to me, and tell me what they want in a more focused manner than just having emails or through open door policies. I want to get out in the atrium and be like, “I am here, and I’m listening. You guys can come up to me.” Because it’s easy to say “Oh, I have an open door policy, just come in and talk to me anytime.” But that’s kind of intimidating, and the SUS offices can be a scary place. There is people with a lot more power and authority in there. So, I want to be that middleman between students, and the student union that isn’t scary or intimidating to talk to or be around.

How would you go about improving communication between SUS and the student body?
Like I said before, I want to be that middleman between the two that kind of takes away that big, scary presence that the student union can be. I think the current union has already done a lot of improvements when it comes to transparency and communication, so I definitely want to continue that route on getting the information out there, and know that we are not hiding anything. If you guys want to know you can; you have the right to know.

Is there anything in the past that SUS has done that you would have done differently, or believe could have been done differently?
I know being part of the clubs, working with the clubs, we have a new club room that kind of goes unused. There’s certain things that we thought we would have been able to do with the room, that we ended up not being able to do with the room. And I know that causes conflict both between the students, who see an empty room, and that are now mad at clubs and associations. Then clubs and associations now have an empty room that they can’t do anything with. And can’t do the things they wanted to do.

Are there any bylaws or policies you would change?
I mean, the policies themselves, I guess there’s some that are conflicting with each other. Like, I know just in the election there were certain things where they said “Oh, we thought you could do this, and it turns out you can’t, so don’t do that anymore.” And I think sometimes there’s things that are worded in weird ways that can be miscommunicated. But I think as VPS, my important goal is knowing what the students want changed, then bringing it up to the board, not necessarily making my own changes. Not saying “Oh, we need to change this,” but saying “Oh, this is what students want, what can we do to move forward.”

Sharnpreet (Sunny) Singh Cheema
Running for Vice President Students

Qualifications
Student Ambassador for New Student Orientation, worked with UFV’s Lead program, volunteered at CCSL (Canadian conference of student leadership) and Town & Gown, Treasurer for Cascade Journalism Society Board of Directors.

Area of Study
Bachelor of Business Administration program.

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How specifically would you accomplish your goals in this role?
Well, I have three main points that are going to add up to that.

The first is that I want to increase the knowledge of the students, and increase awareness of things. So one of the bigger things that I want to do, and it’s not even that big, it’s actually pretty small scale but I think it would make a huge impact, is make an events calendar. I intended to make it somewhere in the Student Union Building, something like a physical bi-weekly calendar where you can come and see all of the events that are happening. Also, along with the knowledge thing, I want to embark on clubs and associations a bit more, like another area where it would show all of the clubs and associations list, and maybe a short description, and who you need to contact for these clubs and associations, that kind of stuff.

The next step would be unity. I want to unify more of what’s going on in S building in these types of services and stuff. I know Student Life and the Student Union Society don’t really get along that well. They aren’t really talking to each other, and there isn’t really too much going on there. That’s one thing that I absolutely want to work on.

And finally, making the Student Union Building a little more accessible. Renting space is quite pricey, and there really isn’t very much in place that makes and gives incentive to people to rent out and do stuff here. For that, I’m going to be looking more towards budget, and what’s going on there. Because the Student Union Society is a nonprofit organization, there should absolutely be a way with a budget to make that work. We’ve been seeing a little bit more of that lately with the ALP stuff, and the pride event that went on. We can see more things coming in to Student Union Building, but I still feel like it’s not being used to the extent that it could be.

How would you go about improving communication between SUS and the student body?
I don’t know if you know this, but they’re actually already starting to work together better. Like, all those different areas: Student Life, PRLC (the Peer Resources and Leadership Centre), the collegium, Campus Rec, the Global Engagement and Associates Centre. And that’s good. And that’s going to help a lot of students work together with that. The next step is getting SUS to work with them as well. And as well, by doing that, creating unity. People are going to be able to not only learn about these things, but expand their knowledge. I find when people go and do stuff with Student Life and just Student Life, they don’t hear much about any other things. So, this is going to make it better, if it’s all unified like that. If I can act as a bridge between Student Life and the Student Union Society, to an extent that they can work together along with all the other organizations, it’ll make it a lot easier for students to learn and intermingle in between the different places, and actually become a part of the university.

Are there any bylaws or policies you would change?
Maybe policies based on fundraisers. I know SUS changed [the policy], so now there are fees applied to fundraisers and what not. I want to look at that a bit more. I only briefly heard about it, and it seems a little bit ridiculous to say the least. Other than that, I don’t think there’s many policies directly related to what I’m saying. In my candidate statement as well, I mentioned trying to reach out to the food bank. I’ve been digging into information about the food bank and their fundraisers, and that’s where I stumbled across this, the fees that they’re charging for fundraisers and stuff. That’s really one that I can think of besides that. And that really directly applies to VPS.

Is there anything in the past that SUS has done that you would have done differently, or believe could have been done differently?
I feel like SUS could be engaging students more. I feel like that’s also why they created this position, and brought it back. Telling the VPE to do all of the external stuff and student-related stuff is probably a bit much. So, they were lacking quite a bit, and actually being able to run these events and do that stuff. What I’ll mostly be doing is not creating policies, that is more VPI, but I definitely will be working with the VPI to organize large-scale events, and to actually hold these events. The VPI handles paperwork and stuff like that, but there’s nobody that really builds on it and markets it a bunch, and gets it going and all that. If you’re talking about SUS’s engaging factors to students, it’s quite slim at the moment, but I want to help improve that.

Rajdeep (Raj) Dhaliwal
Running for Vice President External (VPE)

Qualifications
Works at SUS Collegium, volunteer with Student Life.

Area of Study
In biology and kinesiology courses.

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How would you accomplish your goals in this role?
One of the things I didn’t add on to my statement is that I want to work on student-tenant rights. We have the residential tenancy act, so if you are renting a basement or an apartment outside of campus you have those rights: a landlord can’t just come onto your property, they can’t increase the rent amount by such and such much, etc. However, that doesn’t apply to any educational institution. See, that’s a problem, because if there is no provincial law or regulation, students can’t take any legal recourse or legal action against the university if there was a dispute, and there is no third party for students.

The union can’t step in either, there is no outside organization that can help students, so I’d work closely with the Alliance of B.C. Students (ABCS), or with other universities around us, like UBC, SFU, or other student societies to work with the provincial government to pass a modified version that is unique to post-secondary circumstances. Because there are cases, let’s say police have to get involved, there are emergency situations, perhaps they have to check for bed bugs or for sanitary issues, so it wouldn’t be the same as the RTA. But there should be set standards, such as maximum percentage increase for rent, so they can’t hike it up. It’s hard right now, especially with the circumstances in Abbotsford regarding housing, there’s a huge demand.

How would you go about improving communication between SUS and the student body?
I know my opponent Logan, on his candidacy statement, mentioned he wanted to have town hall meetings of some kind. I think having something of that sort would be really difficult to implement based on how the last extraordinary general meeting went. We didn’t have much of a student turnout. I’d like to have a meeting, like, every three months, quarterly meetings, just to let the society membership know what we are doing, but it should be known that all the executives do publish their monthly reports on what they have and haven’t been doing.

I’d really like to update the society on what I’m working on, what’s happening, what has been done, what I would like to do on a regular basis, but it’s difficult. With monthly meetings, if they do make them happen, or the quarterly meetings, I would like to be able to live stream them for students who aren’t able to attend.

VPE is about advocating for students, so apart from the meetings, I would like to utilize surveys. SUS sends out those emails regularly, so if we can attach a simple survey, for example, ‘this is the topic of the month, how do students feel about this?’ that would be nice.

Are there any bylaws or policies you would change?
My role as VPE, can also be referred to as VP academic, just like VPI is VP finance, and VPS is VP social. I’m mostly with the academic body, so with that being said, I’d be working very closely with the VP academic of the university. One policy I’d really like to make, because I can’t think of any I’d like to change, as I mentioned before, restrict the percentage of online course materials, because I don’t think those are necessary.

Is there anything in the past that SUS has done that you would have done differently, or believe could have been done differently?
I think SUS actually did do it; splitting up the VP external role into students and external itself. Before, VP external had to manage the duties which are now VPS, they had to balance it all together. I think splitting that off was really good. Now the VPE can focus on all the advocacy, diplomacy, outside of the university, on the policies, and without the added stress of on-campus issues.

With that being said, this VPE position is relatively new in comparison to what it was last year, so basically, it should be treated like it’s a new position. I also think it isn’t my place to put down a society that I am running for, it’s our society. I think we can make things better, of course.

Logan Clelland
Running for Vice President External (VPE)

Qualifications
UFV Clubs and Associations Commissioner, Pen and Paper Tabletop Club Treasurer, member of Economics Student Association (ECONSA).

Area of Study
Third year business and economics student.

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How specifically would you accomplish your goals in this role?
I have a number of goals. First and foremost would be the bus schedule, which I wish to accomplish by communicating with the University of the Fraser Valley, as well as B.C. Transit. I attended a bus sharing meeting recently, and I brought up the point in which we have access to B.C. Transit, but not TransLink. And I am a commuter student, I live in Maple Ridge. So, even though I am paying for the bus pass, and I’m absolutely fine to do so, I also gain absolutely no use of it because I’m on a different system. So, hopefully, I want to look into allowing U-Pass to access not only B.C. Transit, but also TransLink. I can’t say that I will promise that can be accomplished, but it is definitely something that I want to look into.

How would you go about improving communication between SUS and the student body?
I intend to host town halls either bi-weekly or weekly if I am elected. I also intend to have one hour a week, in both Abbotsford and Chilliwack, and hopefully in Mission, where I will sit there in the building and say, “Come and talk to me, what do you want me to know about?” I also wish to work closely with the newly hired commissioner to discover problems that students are facing both on and off campus, and just ways in which we can help.

Are there any bylaws or policies you would change?
I hesitate to answer the question because there are some policies and bylaws that are not under my portfolio that I am not particularly in accord with. I’ve been warned against mentioning things that I do not directly relate to.
But I can tell you what I would like to do for the advocacy portion of it. And that is, I would like to gather students, and honestly just teach people how to reach out to people and communities that can help them, and to create a sense of “we are doing something as well as we can get things done.”
I do not particularly enjoy the philanthropic booking policy. Or the fact that when rooms are booked by students, well, there might not be any upfront costs in booking the rooms, but if they need any tables or chairs set up, costs are not insubstantial, and not particularly forthcoming.

Is there anything in the past that SUS has done that you would have done differently, or believe could have been done differently?
I think that personally, I am an avid fan of communication. I really like, as a student in general, knowing what is going on, and I feel just recently that I have little to no idea what that is. So I would love, if I am elected, to get involved, and also just to have weekly meetings in which I go out and say, “Look, this is what we’re doing, this is what we’re trying to do.” So that is one thing that I would do differently, and plan on doing differently. Just facilitating easier communication between SUS, and students at large.

Andrew Stahl
Running for College of Arts Representative

Did not show up for interview.

Jaleen MacKay
Running for Vice President Internal

Qualifications
Current SUS VPI, Acting VPE along with the president, previous executive of Esports Valley Club and UFV Advocacy for Men and Boys Club, member of multiple committees at UFV.

Area of study
Fourth year biology student.

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How would you accomplish your goals in this role?
I’d like to do much of the same stuff that I had been working on, but also branch out to some new projects.  I would like to see that clubs and associations have better access to the resources that matter to them. So fund requests, for example, I did try to create a new and better system for fund requests. But I have noticed that engagement with the digital forum hasn’t been very good. So, I would like to improve the funding requests procedure, clarify the policy, and make services more accessible to clubs and associations, as well as elucidating our finances, which I think we did pretty well with the current budget.

How would you go about improving communication between SUS and the student body?
Yes, and I’ve already been working on that. I’m working on a survey that was adopted from the Graduate Student Society of UBC. This was made by professors and experts in the field. I’ve been prototyping it with the board, and prototyping a little bit with the executive committee to kind of ask students topical questions. So the type of communication that I want is two-fold. I want to solicit feedback, but I also want to have in-person, smaller dialogues like the budget consultation sessions. I hadn’t initially planned to attend, but I did end up actually going to all of them, and speaking with students directly. So, we want there to be a conversation. We want there to be data, like collectable, numerical data, on a variety of things. And so to really go back to that, how do I intend to improve communication? I want to have more surveys, and I want to meet with students, and that’s something that I’ve already been working on.

Are there any bylaws or policies you would change?
Actually, I’m trying to finish that before the end of my current term, but I’m doing a comprehensive policy review. So before the end of my term, I hope to finish all of them. I’ve done approximately half of all of the policies that are on our website, by just reviewing them, and going over the difference between policy and procedure. So the answer is all of them.

There is a variety of things that I would like to see with the bylaws. I’ll be bringing it up during the debate, but accountability. So, now that we have an additional VP, the composition of the board has naturally changed. The proportion of executives to everyone else, so one thing that I want to present are a couple of different options for accountability of executives to the board. Now, granted, I think the board should be in support of the executives. It’s a weird relationship, both holding someone accountable and supporting them, but I want to see that in future years when we don’t know who the executives are, who the board is, that we have a consistent understanding that we’re here to serve students together as a group.

Is there anything in the past that SUS has done that you would have done differently, or believe could have been done differently?
This past year, of course I have the bias of having been in the office for the past year, so I can’t really think of anything I would’ve done differently with the knowledge that I had at the time, if I were to do it again. I did learn that there are certain types of information that we need to be careful with when handling, which is, for example, why the surveys have taken so long to get off the ground. If I were to do it again, I would’ve put out more surveys on things that directly impact students, where we could have solicited feedback like the food bank, the gender equality and pride centres, and the change-over for the fund requests policy. One thing that I do kind of regret was due to my own inexperience. I would’ve made the public board sessions at a standard time every single time. What we had done was, we would have the in-camera as long as we needed it to be. And then the public was just, whenever. What I’d want to do in the coming year is, we’re going to have the public at the same time, every time.

Gurvir Gill
Running for President

Qualifications
Current SUS President, current CASA Membership Relations Vice Chair, UFV Student Engagement Team Member, UFV Student Ambassador, UFV Global Engagement Volunteer, UFV Campus Tour Guide, UFV Rowing Team Member, UFV Baker House Residence Association President, UFV Baker House Residence Association Vice President.

Area of study
Fifth year student, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts, business/communications.

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How would you accomplish your goals in this role?
So I think, it’s trying to be flexible, because in any game situation, or organization situation, you don’t know what’s going to come through the doors, and you don’t who is going to be here. The whole organization changes every year, so I don’t know who my team is going to be, or if I will even be on the team. So, I think it’s just trying to stay open, and prepared for every single scenario.

So I think in any case, in any project, just being prepared, not being stuck to it. With the platform, it should be a flexible type platform. These are things I want to do, this is what students want me to do, and it’s also the role, even when you come into the job and understand it, you’re like ‘Woah, did not know all this other stuff behind the scenes.’ So, maybe let’s see what’s realistic and reasonable. Every year it changes. We could have more students next year, or not enough students next year. I don’t know. The government could do something. It’s an interesting organization to be a part of, but I think it’s just, making sure all the projects are flexible, because we don’t know what’s going to happen to any single tool for that component.

Is there anything in the past that SUS has done that you would have done differently, or believe could have been done differently?
The only thing I can really think of is, well, we are trying to adjust a lot of those issues, so like the lack of communication and understanding. So, we’ve went and worked with the university to go and get an email set up, and a newsletter set up for our membership.

Another component was just openness, and presence of the executives. That’s something I have done this year, is to just push open doors, everyone’s, just open doors, in your office. When you step on campus you’re an executive, so open door policy. Be there for students, and try and be out and about.

How would you go about improving communication between SUS and the student body?
I think definitely with communication it is just the marketing of everything. I want to make it more crisp and clean, so like you get newsletter, you know boom, boom, boom. I don’t want to overload students with information, but they should be aware of what’s going on, whether it be through email communications, or just one-on-ones.

I know we are looking into doing more town-hall like information sessions. We do have them kind of at our board meetings when there’s a public session, but maybe moving those around, or just trying to have more interaction face to face with students. Because I think at the end of the day we can send the email communication, and someone could just misread something, but until we just sit down and talk, and I know we do that a lot, just sit down and talk to our students more. But until we do that with all our students, that helps get everything across.

I think the biggest message we want to emphasize is what SUS was, and what SUS is, is two completely different things, and two completely different organizations. I think personally we are something different than what we were before. And so that would be my biggest communicator, saying we’re open, we’re here for you, we’re here to serve you, and we want to hear from you.

Are there any bylaws or policies you would change?
This response was given over email
I would like to look into the Elections Policy regarding the schedule of the elections. I feel that we can shorten some of the timelines as we have access to emails and online marketing. Therefore maybe look into reducing the nomination period, review period, and even the voting days. I understand why the process we have now existed. Therefore like many other universities let us look into a simplified process.

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