With orientation week coming to a close and the new school year upon us, the Concordia Student Union (CSU) detailed some of their plans for the upcoming year to promote an increase in student involvement.
Last spring, newly elected CSU President Mohammed Shuryie said he wanted to make the CSU accessible to all students. He stated that by the end of September, everyone should know who the CSU is and what it can do for them.
In a telephone interview, Shuryie explained the CSU’s involvement during orientation week.
“Our main goal is to get out there for people to see. All of our execs have been out promoting orientation and I delivered four speeches to three different groups of students.”
Shuryie said that during the first few weeks of school, CSU executives would be promoting healthy eating at Concordia by providing students with oranges and apples during their breaks. The CSU also plans to have their website revamped within the coming weeks.
“All of this is being done to get students to participate,” Shuryie said.
As one of their major priorities, the CSU will be hosting two days where students can learn more about Concordia’s different groups and associations. The first will be held at the Loyola campus on Sept 13 and the second will be Sept 14 at the Sir George Williams campus.
Shuryie said the CSU will be “pushing clubs for recruitment” and hopes to see more parties on campus in the coming months. He also intends to rectify any problems with the formation of new groups, an important issue in last year’s elections.
“According to university bylaws, a new club can only receive funding after it has proven its commitment for a year,” Shuryie said. “Last year, our executives dropped the ball on this issue because they already had too much on their plates.”
He said that this year, students seeking new club status would receive immediate responses from CSU executives.
Student space projects are another hot topic on the union’s to-do list. Shuryie said the CSU intends to move their offices to the seventh floor of the hall building and develop a prayer space for Muslims. Other plans for the seventh floor include a new communications office and more cafeteria space.
On the other hand, any hopes to revive The Hive have been shelved because, according to Shuryie, this would cost $100,000.
“We will start fundraising for The Hive in October because we don’t have the financial resources to support renovations,” Shuryie said.
Chris Schwartz, a representative of Conscious Concordia on the CSU’s elected council, agrees that student space projects must take precedence at council meetings. Other topics that concern Schwartz are sustainability and university tuition.
“The government wants to deregulate tuition and we recognize that this is an important issue to our students,” he said
Schwartz, who is doing a double major at the liberal arts college and in political science, also said the university’s poster policy must be addressed. During last year’s election, this policy angered Conscious Concordia leader Anastasia Voutou who criticized Mohammed Shuryie and Evolution of creating “a ridiculous postering race.”
A council meeting that dealt with postering and other electoral reforms was supposed to be held in June but was postponed because the CSU did not have a CEO. The meeting will be rescheduled for a later date in September.
When discussing his promise to increase bursaries, Shuryie announced that fundraising CSU bursaries would expand by $15,000 this year.
“We will focus on athletes, students with disabilities, international students and residents when handing out our $500 bursaries,” Shuryie assured.
An attempt to liven Concordia’s Loyola campus is also on the minds of the union. According to Shuryie, CSU executives plan to be at the campus more often and hold two parties in the coming year. He also hopes to get the campus’ residents more involved.
Conversely, any hopes of having CSU meetings held at Loyola were dashed when the council voted against the proposal to have alternating meetings between the two campuses.
“Unfortunately, we will only have one council meeting at Loyola because all of our financial resources are available at the downtown campus,” Shuryie explained. “The Loyola meeting will be held sometime in January.”
In an effort to help older students avoid the gas price hikes, the CSU will work with other universities during the November municipal elections to increase the city’s age group for students using public transportation. Currently, people attending school between the ages of 18-25 have access to lower rates on bus passes. However, students above the maximum age must pay full fare.
“We have good things to work on but we’ll just have to deal with stuff as it comes up,” Schwartz concluded.
For more information on the CSU, visit their website at www.csu.qc.ca.