Leaving winter formals, a wall of debt campaign and called-for impeachments behind them, the St. Thomas University Students’ Union president, Husoni Raymond, said they have a full schedule of events to fill their and students’ plates in winter 2020.
“What we’re looking forward to most is just engaging with students and building meaningful connections between students and their union,” said Raymond.
Throughout the semester, the university will start its annual budget consultation process. Raymond said he hasn’t seen the budget yet but once it’s released to the budget consultation committee, the president and the vice-president administration will ensure students know they can submit their perspectives. The executives will then ensure those perspectives are heard in committee meetings.
In addition, the STUSU will reform their code of conduct throughout the semester. It will be updated to be a stand-alone policy. Raymond said the expanded version will have a “broader scope,” cover a variety of circumstances and will outline the process of dealing with violations of the policy. Right now, a code of conduct is under the STUSU’s Human Resources policy.
In the early weeks of January, the STUSU presented the Winter Carnival and the Winter Clubs and Society Fair.
On Jan. 22, the STUSU joined the New Brunswick Student Alliance pre-budget campaign. A letter is circulating on social media asking Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Trevor Holder to address barriers to Indigenous students, international students and provide financial aid. The letter asks the provincial government to invest in the creation of a $1.5 million fund “to support reconciliation initiatives and programming” at New Brunswick post-secondary institutions, integrate blanket exercises to employees of various government departments.
They also call to regulate international tuition fees and cap increases at two per cent per year for incoming students. As for financial aid, the letter asks for the government to repurpose the tax credit, “invest more money into upfront, needs-based grants” and create a debt relief program.
Following this campaign, there will be a Canadian Alliance of Student Associations advocacy week on from Feb. 16 to 23 that focuses on similar asks to the NBSA pre-budget campaign such as financial aid for graduates, new parents and apprenticeships and eliminating remaining barriers for international students. Typical student association advocacy weeks involve meeting with ministers, public servants and other stakeholders in the community to advocate for improvements to the post-secondary education systems within their area.
On Feb. 5, there will be a career fair. Representatives from more than 19 companies such as Alcool NB Liquor, Wolastoqiyik Family Services and the Canada Revenue Agency will be there.
February is also Black History Month. Raymond said every week, a new event will take place. A video release, a panel, a talent show and a video screening are planned.
The STU Leads Conference will also be held on Feb. 8. Its theme this year is sustainability.
“We want to nurture the leader in you by incorporating a sustainable standpoint that will allow you to thrive responsibly and actively engage in environmental consciousness,” said a statement on its Facebook event page.
In late February or March, the STUSU spring general elections will be held and a new team will be chosen by the student body. The newly elected executives will then shadow the current executives to ease the transition.
A Sexual Assault Prevention Training in partnership with Sexual Violence New Brunswick will also be held at STU in mid to late March. The training will be more advanced and build off the previous semester’s training.
They also helped to organize the CCAA Men’s National Volleyball championship that will be hosted by the STU Tommies and held at the Grant Harvey Centre from March 11 to 14.
The STUSU’s annual general meeting will happen at the end of March or early April. All students are invited for a free semi-formal dinner and a recap of the semester, complete with speeches. Awards will also be given out at the event and calls for nominations will be announced soon.
The executive team agreed they generally attend 15 to 20 hours of meetings a week as well as answer emails, complete office hours, answer questions, and complete pre-and-post meeting work to make these events happen
Raymond said the position comes with ups, downs and challenges. Still, it’s rewarding to know they’re able to leave a mark on the institution.
“[It] is fulfilling when we’re able to promise something and deliver on it or see the impact that our work has on the student body.”