Print Edition: September 25, 2013
Student Life has officially passed all clubs and association responsibility to the Student Union Society (SUS). This means that all registration, room bookings, poster-stamping, and funding goes through SUS.
In theory, this change, combined with the recently developed clubs and association committee, should mean a more straightforward approach to clubs and associations.
The new committee will be made up of students who are involved in student organizations. By meeting once a week and focusing only on clubs and associations, this committee will be able to process requests much more quickly and thoroughly than SUS has in the past.
However, the transition is not entirely seamless, explains University Christian Ministries vice president Nicole Vanspronsen.
“The forms take longer to go through,” she says, “but it seems like there are more safeguards.”
In order to book a room, an organization must now submit a form to SUS and wait for it to be approved, a process that takes about a week.
Under the new model, associations are given a larger amount of money at the beginning of the semester, with the remaining budget to be distributed among associations based on the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) students in their area of study. According to the BC Ministry of Education FTE reporting manual, an FTE is defined as what each full-time student in a full-time program should generate in each academic year.
For some groups, like Computer Information Systems Student Association (CISSA), the calculation of FTEs gives a clearer picture of their members.
“For CISSA, we say we have about 1000 members,” CISSA vice president Graham St. Eloi says, “but through FTEs, our numbers are about 400 or 500.”
However, FTEs can be ambiguous as they don’t correspond directly with head counts, explains SUS president Shane Potter.
“The thing about FTEs is it’s not just majors,” he says. “It’s concentrations, it’s minors, it’s majors, it’s anyone [taking classes] in that program… [they] do a much more accurate job.”
One of the drivers of the changes to student organization policies is the creation of the co-curricular record (CCR). CCR is a way of officially keeping track of extracurricular activities, allowing students to add to their resumes and prove practical skills to prospective employers. Students wanting CCR for their involvement in a club or association need to be able to prove what they did.
“We have to communicate with associations to make sure their members are eligible for that credit,” says Potter.
Though the changes are designed for accuracy and a more streamlined process, some associations have raised concerns.
Biology Chemistry Student Association (BCSA) president Jennifer Martel explains that there is still some ambiguity around the calculation of FTEs and how they affect association funding. As well, under BCSA policy some positions are applied for and presidents serve two-year terms. But under new SUS policy, all positions must be nominated and voted on each year.
Martel says there are “still gaps that need to be filled and explained,” but adds that “once they’re hammered out they [the policy changes] could be really positive.”