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SUS lays groundwork for fall semester’s Weeks of Welcome, Leadercast, and SUB

In president Thomas Davies’ report, he noted that the Student Union Building (SUB) is going through some kinks prior to its official opening in the fall. For example, there is still some construction to be completed.

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By Megan Lambert and Remington Fioraso (The Cascade/Contributor) – Email

Print Edition: June 3, 2015

Photo Credit Megan Lambert

“The woman’s washroom is missing half the wall. It’s not supposed to be like that.”

Although the summer term brings a hush to campus, the Student Union Society (SUS) is keeping busy with plans for the fall.

The SUS Board of Governors meeting started at 6:43 p.m. at the Chilliwack CEP campus last Thursday, May 28. VP internal Ricky Coppola was absent due to illness, so president Thomas Davies read Coppola’s VP internal report.  Apart from the usual update on granting clubs and associations funding, Coppola wrote about working with UFV to start opening the new CCR program over the summer.

Then, VP external Sukhi Brar said the dates for Weeks of Welcome are tentatively set for September 8 to 11 for both the Abbotsford and Chilliwack campuses.

“We’re keeping it to one week, because in the past we’ve done two to three weeks and this has become hard to manage,” she says. “We’ll do a week of events on both campuses and really focus on having high-quality events that are well-attended.”

As far as planning is concerned, she spoke about the UFV Student Life Leadership Without Borders retreat, where some of the activities were based on generating ideas for Weeks of Welcome. Brar noted that in addition to these suggestions, the Weeks of Welcome planning committee is looking to gather more student input.

She then went on to say that she attended a UFV-sponsored event at HighStreet Shopping Centre called Leadercast — a livestream of leadership talks.

“Imagine six talks in a row that are super motivational and inspiring. I’ve never had talks like that, that were of that quality back-to-back,” she says.

Brar said she is planning to ask the university to bring the Leadercast stream to campus for UFV students.

She said she also met with the Alliance of British Columbia Students (ABCS) at their annual general meeting (AGM), noting that SUS is stepping away from its involvement in that organization to focus on what’s happening at UFV.

“We were really involved in CASA and ABCS, but it takes so much time and it’s such a commitment. I think we did great work last year. But having been here for seven weeks now, I know how much we do,” she says. “I think it’s a smart move to not over-commit.”

She then gave a brief overview of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) conference.

In Davies’ report, he noted that the Student Union Building (SUB) is going through some kinks prior to its official opening in the fall.  For example, there is still some construction to be completed.

“The [second floor] women’s washroom is missing half the wall,” Davies said. “It’s not supposed to be like that.”

Davies added that he met with the U-District planning committee, but there were no substantial updates. He did say the committee has decided it will not affect the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) on King Road, although it was discussed at the initial meetings in 2012.

Davies did mention that SUS will focus on the Get Out and Vote campaign, as federal elections are approaching in the fall. As mentioned at the CASA conference, the purpose is to encourage the young adult demographic to vote.

Brar agreed, adding that because the student voice in elections is currently small, it is easy to ignore. “Governments care about people who vote,” she said. “Even if you don’t like politics, they are still important.”

Faculty of health sciences representative Ria Geluk brought up a point of order — that student representative reports were not on the agenda. There was a motion to add it, which carried. After Brar gave her report on CASA and Davies presented his StudentCare annual stakeholders conference report, the reps began their updates.

UFV Board of Governors rep Greg Stickland did not provide an update. However, he mentioned the UFV Board of Governors retreat is coming up on June 19.

Aboriginal representative Jennifer Janik said aboriginal students are planning for Aboriginal Awareness Day on June 16. Additionally, students are working with Stó:lo Nation in Chilliwack and various high schools to promote mental health initiatives.

College of arts representative Ekaterina Marenkov had no report.

Geluk noted that even though she exchanged email addresses with students in health science programs, she did not hear from them — and assumed no news is good news. She said she will revisit the licensed practical nurse (LPN) program in October to meet the new class representative.

Moving on to new business, Davies gave a brief overview of the purpose of executive goal plans for the new members of the board. The goal plans were implemented last year to give the SUS president, VP internal, and VP external a timeline to reach their particular goals while in office, and so the Board of Directors could keep up with executive decisions. These plans have not yet been written, but will be drafted in the coming weeks.

The board adjourned at 7:59 p.m. For the next meeting, Sukhi Brar will have a more comprehensive report of Weeks of Welcome planning, and former SUS president Ryan Petersen will give a presentation about the U-District planning.

The next SUS board meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on June 25 in room S3103, in the SUB on the Abbotsford campus.

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