SRC Decoded: What you missed February 26th

The Students’ Representative Council (SRC) is a council composed of a body of students elected by their peers, who are tasked with running the Acadia Students’ Union (ASU). The SRC meets every Friday at 1:00 PM on Teams, however, they would usually meet in the Beveridge Forum located off the Michener Lounge in the Students’ Union Building (SUB). Each meeting is open to the public and students are welcome to attend meetings to learn more about the decisions being made on their behalf.

This week’s meeting began as per usual with a roll call and the approval of the agenda.

Before any discussion began, Chairperson Molly Anderson warned there would be the talk of the election, giving Sadie McAlear and Menat Tahoun – who are both running in the election – the opportunity to declare a conflict of interest and agree to refrain from conservation around that topic.

The first item of discussion was surrounding the Neighbors Helping Neighbors initiative, where Acadia students volunteer to assist residents in Wolfville with tasks like yard work, technology, or just provide some company! VP Student Life, Robbie Holmes assured that the event was still happening.

Next up, Jordi Chaffer, the Science Senator, filled the council in on the small-scale turned large-scale project that he has been a part of. He explained that the Research and Graduate Studies Dean who he has been working with, will be proposing their project to the other Deans in the weeks to come and that it seems the university staff see it as a great opportunity to pull in prospective students. Jordi emphasized his desire to ensure this project continues to be student-led, and that there seems to interest and support within the student body to ensure that can happen. Mary Tajeddin suggested that there be two award categories: one for ongoing research and the other for early lit-review proposals. Other council members seemed to think this was a great idea.

Bylaws were the next topic of discussion. Molly announced that the council will be holding several bylaw review sessions with students and that members are expected to be fully versed on those bylaws so they are prepared and can adequately explain and discuss them with students. Robbie necessarily added that if members do not understand the bylaws well enough to discuss them with students, then they shouldn’t be voting on them. Lara Hartman, Arts Senator, gave full disclosure stating that she has a plate fully loaded with commitments meaning she may not be able to attend these sessions, despite her best intentions. Mary Tajeddin echoed those thoughts. Brendan MacNeil added that he is hoping for as much student engagement throughout these sessions as possible so that members should try and advertise them as best they can.

Brendan MacNeil led the conservation into a discussion about the Career Services Centre. He explained how he wanted to bring forward a motion regarding the SRC’s commitment to the centre in relation to Matthew Rios’s presentation last year (refer to SRC Decoded article for October 26th for a recap). Brendan explained his desire to increase the support – which is currently lacking – that students receive from Acadia. This would be anything from resume and interview workshops, to preparing for the workplace as a professional, to assist with job placements. This initiative is a cooperation between the Alumni Association, the university, and the ASU with the ultimate goal of developing a high functioning and effective Career Services Centre at Acadia that is supported and run by Acadia after four years. Brendan’s proposal is regarding what the ASU can commit to this project.

Firstly, he inquired what amount of work these committees can invest to support this professional development project for the student body. He went. Brendan said that he feels that student-run organizations have a history of doing really good work in this department already, but with a new budget they would have many more opportunities. That being said, Robbie put forward the first motion: to ensure that ASU groups work in an environment of collaboration with the Career Services Centre of Acadia, including but not limited to funding grants available to them as student organizations under the ASU. Brendan seconded the motion, and it was passed unanimously.

The second motion regarded the ASU’s monetary contribution to this project. Brendan suggested that the ASU contribute their own $10,000 each year in addition to the $350,000 across 3 years from the Alumni Association. He explained that the two roles in Career Services at present are funded by the Alumni Association and his proposal is to create four more student positions that are funded by the ASU which are devoted to programming for students. He explained that there is a $150,000 reserve in the Student Wellness Fund which can only be spent on student wellness and that the ASU takes the yearly 10 thousand from there. Alex Surette, Sustainability Officer, asked whether the student positions would remain even after the Centre is transferred to the university and Brendan MacNeil answered honestly that he did not know. He went on to mention the council has the power to make that conditional upon approval; when the power is transferred to the university, they can put in the contract that those student positions must be maintained. Brendan moved this motion: to allocate $10,000 annually for the next three years from the accrued capital of the Wellness Fund to the Acadia Career Services initiative, pending approval by the Financial Affairs committee, with a yearly re-evaluation by the ASU executive, conditional that the ASU make some form of commitment to carry-on these initiatives after year-four. Soyini Edwards seconded the motion and it was passed unanimously.

Next up Molly addressed an issue that occurred during the ballot distribution for the election. General election ballots were accidentally only distributed to full-time students at first, so the council thought it best practice to extend the period of time for the ballots to be submitted so that those students who received theirs late weren’t rushed to vote. Brendan Keeler motioned to extend the voting period by 24 hours for all associate members of the Union, to conclude at 4:30 pm on Saturday, February 27th, the voting period for all ordinary members of the Union will remain the same, as indicated in the previous election plan that was submitted to SRC. Alex Surette seconded the motion and once again, the council passed the motion unanimously (save those with a conflict of interest).

Molly passed the conversation to Alex Surette, who wanted to discuss his project proposal. He proposed to create a sustainability page on the ASU website which would include past and current sustainability initiatives that have occurred on campus that the ASU have been involved with. This would also provide a place for students to access different contacts and see how they can become more involved. Menat motioned to make his proposal, Lydia seconded it, and the council passed it.

Lastly, Community Relations Representative, Sadie McAlear made a proposal to the council to create a Wolfville Vlog Series that engages students and permanent residents in Wolfville. Some examples would be a video compilation of people in Wolfville answering the question “What is Wolfville to you?”. Sadie emphasized her desire to help bring the residents and students together to create a tighter-knit community and thought this project would be a great way to facilitate that. Alex motioned to accept the proposal, Menat accepted in, and the council passed it.

After a few more short conversations the meeting for this week concluded.