Winter orientation gets cold shoulder

The Concordia Student Union’s winter orientation consisted of a week of activities tasked by VP student life that many felt fell flat due to poor advertising and organization.

Although various events stretched out through the week at both campuses, including a sugar shack, Cultural Night and a night at Igloofest with the CSU, Mia Nesto, a first-year student claims she wasn’t aware of the winter orientation and if she had known about it, she would have attended.

“I may have seen signs at school but they did not catch my attention,” said Nesto. “I didn’t see any Facebook events about it either.”

This was also the case with second-year human relations student, Sabrina Marchei.

“They didn’t advertise the winter orientation enough,” said Marchei. “I don’t think I heard a lot about it at all.”

Former VP external Chad Walcott believes that although VP student life Alexis Suzuki brought in interesting ideas for the orientations this year, both initiatives were largely under-advertised.

“Orientation was not a success this year because it failed to reach students or create any real atmosphere on campus,” Walcott said.

Suzuki, on the other hand, said she believes that the winter orientation went well. She feels some events turned out better than others but claims the last two events were a hit with the couple hundred people who turned up.

“I got really sick during orientation, it was really tough for me to keep moving and I did as much as I could while I was ill,” Suzuki said. “I think there’s always things we could’ve done better but we did the best that we could.”

First-year student Meghan Birch, who attended several events last week, agrees with Walcott.

“I found it to be quite disorganized actually,” Birch said. “All the events I went to started late and the organizers were rushing around to get stuff done once they had already started.”

Walcott claimed he made suggestions about advertising and how to effectively use student media to spread the word about the events but was ignored. CSU Councillor Melissa Kate Wheeler stated that she contacted Suzuki to be put on the volunteer list for the orientation but was not put on.

Communication confusion

Last year’s VP student life Laura Glover claimed that she offered her full assistance to Suzuki after training her for the position but states that Suzuki never took up the offer.

However, Suzuki said “she never offered her assistance for winter orientation” and stated that she hasn’t heard from Glover in a long time.

“Instead of attempting to explain what her difficulties have been or even face the criticisms that we have put forth, she has chosen to avoid the issues and seems quite content to let her executive take the heat for her lack of performance,” Walcott said.

VP Loyola, Stefan Faina claims that the turnout at the Loyola campus was a success but that there is always room for improvement. “I personally would’ve liked a little more advertising,” Faina said. “I wish we could’ve had a greater variety of events.” He states that although some events couldn’t happen, they still had the chance to do the ice sculpturing and serve a large population of students as he planned.

Walcott went on to emphasize that part of Suzuki’s mandate as VP student life is to submit a post-mortem orientation report. He claims that council asked her to submit a revised report. In response to their request of a re-write, Suzuki stated she would submit a “how-to guide” on June 1, 2013, while the mandate of CSU executive ends May 31. When Walcott expressed to Suzuki that June would be too late, her response was that she would only submit it then.

Walcott claims that at the next council meeting, he will bring forth questions about the winter orientation as well.

“Part of being in executive is being accountable, and right now [Suzuki] is demonstrating very little will to be accountable,” said Walcott.


Putting a face to the name: Know your student leaders

Schubert Laforest

Concordia Student Union President

Laforest’s mandate began on June 1 when he replaced former President Lex Gill.
Laforest is in charge of the student union that represents Concordia’s 30,000 undergraduate students and he is there to ensure undergraduate students’ voices are heard and concerns are addressed during the upcoming academic year. The president’s job is to oversee his executive committee’s management of funds, their promotion of student life, their campaigns and services.

Laforest plans to tackle issues and scandals at Concordia with a sustainable and transparent government approach. Laforest promised that students would feel represented in administrative decisions and the CSU would hold governing bodies accountable for their decisions. The incumbent president said that he will tackle the tuition fee increase by lobbying for change within the internal management of the university.

Telephone: 848-7474 ext. 8899

Simon-Pierre Lauzon
VP external affairs

Lauzon is in charge of handling Concordia’s external affairs and therefore deals with individuals, programs and groups outside of the university institution. VP external is responsible for liaisons outside of Concordia and the mobilization of students to actively participate in campaigns organized by the CSU. Lauzon must also sit on the External and Campaigns committee.

For his mandate, Lauzon plans to implement student-run research papers that count for credit in order to have a more informed student body. An advocate of the student movement against the tuition increase, Lauzon will work with international student organizations who face similar situations.

Telephone: 848-7474 ext. 8906

Andrew Roberts
VP Sustainability

The role of VP Sustainability is to develop a responsible and sustainable environmental and social policy for the CSU. Roberts must promote sustainable campaigns and initiatives for Concordia. As part of his duties, Roberts sits on the board of directors for the Sustainability Action Fund and the Concordia Volunteer Abroad Program.

Roberts aims to promote sustainability at Concordia by addressing new undergraduate students at orientation. His goal is to create and update a sustainability website to promote awareness about environmental measures.

Telephone: 848-7474 ext. 8902

Lucia Gallardo
VP academic and advocacy

VP academic runs the legal clinic and Advocacy Centre while acting as a liaison to the Graduate Students Association and those appointed to represent academic bodies on academic issues. Gallardo is also responsible for the organization and chairing of meetings of the student academic caucus, and she must oversee the appointment of individuals on academic bodies or sit on them herself.

Gallardo wants to implement a sexual assault centre with the help of the Simone de Beauvoir Institute at Concordia. Her goals are to focus on students in need of financial aid and a sexual harassment policy.

Telephone: 848-7474 ext. 8903

Keny Toto
VP finance

The job of VP finance is to oversee the CSU budget in terms of preparation, accessibility, updating and reporting on a monthly basis to the council. Toto must ensure the budget is respected and in the best interests of the student body. VP finance is also responsible for sitting on the board of CUSACORP and on the financial committee.

Toto aims to focus on the needs of undergrads and welcomes their input for the budget. His goal is to make the CSU budget easy to read and to access. Toto also promises to make CUSACORP more profitable through new services while properly managing inventory control and improving marketing strategies.

848-7474 ext. 8901

Nadine Atallah
VP clubs and internal affairs

VP clubs and internal affairs oversees all non-academic groups belonging to the CSU. Part of Atallah’s mandate is to have a relationship with clubs, manage club budgets, and sit on the Clubs and Space Committee. Atallah also acts as the secretary of the corporation aspect of the CSU and must oversee the CSU’s corporate books.

In order to create a more democratic CSU, Atallah promises to implement online voting so that more students can participate in decisions made by the CSU. In addition she wants to encourage all students to find a club or student group that interests them.

848-7474 ext. 8900

Alexis Suzuki

VP student life

The role of VP student life is to act as a liaison for all faculty associations. Suzuki is responsible for organizing major events at Concordia, specifically that of student orientation at the beginning of the fall semester.

Suzuki promised to work closely with clubs and faculty associations to ensure involvement in student life on campus. Her goal is to revitalize student life by reaching out to students to get them involved over the duration of the upcoming academic year.

848-7474 ext. 8905

Stefan Faina
VP Loyola

This position protects the best interests of students at Concordia’s Loyola Campus. VP Loyola is responsible for promoting a united university community and strengthening ties between both campuses. Faina must also maintain a strong CSU presence at the Loyola Campus.

Faina stated that he feels Loyola has the potential to play a greater role in student life this year. He promised to create more events at the campus and to bring back the Winter Festival. Faina also plans to introduce movie nights and a music festival at Loyola.

848-7474 ext. 8912

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