Spring 2021 Elections The UTSU Elections are finally underway and we are just a few more days away from the start of campaigning period (how exciting)! I’ve been working closely with the Executives, ERC, and our VP Ops, Dermot, to make changes to our Elections Procedure Code, come up with marketing strategies, and increase overall accessibility for our elections.
Strategic Planning Coordinating and crafting the strategic plan in collaboration with our full-time staff is still one of the biggest internal projects that Dermot and I are working on. Since we’ve come to the end of our Board strat plan sessions, we are now moving on to assessing internal controls, human resources, and Executive insights. I’m excited to continue sharing updates about this as we make more progress in the near future!
Transition Planning While slightly different from the overall strategic planning process, transition is still an important component of our strategic direction moving forward. Dermot and I have been working closely with our Learning and Development Coordinator, Arlene Williams, to develop a timeline for transition following the end of our elections and into the new term.
VICE PRESIDENT OPERATIONs
Bylaw Reform This month, I worked to get a large assortment of bylaw changes approved in time to be considered at our Special General Meeting, now taking place on March 27th. The changes aim to make the UTSU’s governance much more efficient, accessible, and accountable, and I look forward to presenting them next month to the students we represent.
Electoral Reform I worked with the Elections & Referenda Committee to pass governance changes that will make our elections more accessible, both right now and for the future. The number of nominators needed to run was reduced, candidates can now run using their preferred names, and our campaign finance system has been completely overhauled. Now’s a great time to get involved!
Health & Dental I’ve been working since the new year with Studentcare on our Health & Dental benefits, the proposed credit system (which would make refunds faster and easier), and the viability of bringing their Student Assistance Program “EmpowerMe” to our campus. We recently met with the university to discuss these priorities, and I’ll be providing more updates as soon as possible!
VICE PRESIDENT PUBLIC & UNIVERSITY AFFAIRS
Report on the CFS This month, the ad hoc committee on the CFS has been working with one of my Executive Assistants, Josh Bienstock, to finish its report before the end of the term. This month we’ve been focusing mainly on the CFS’ governance structure. Next, we’ll be focusing on the CFS’ services and finances as well as its advocacy apparatus.
U of T Budget Advocacy This month I spoke at the U of T Planning and Budget Committee to offer the UTSU’s recommendations for the 2021-2022 U of T Budget. These recommendations included freezing international and domestic tuition fees and lowering tuition for online classes. I’ll be speaking to the Academic Board on March 11 to provide insight on student consultations for the university’s budgets.
Federal Budget Submission The UTSU submitted a Federal Budget Submission this month! We called on the federal government to expand financial aid and support international students, reinforcing recommendations made by UCRU. Some of our recommendations included a two-year grace period on student loans, and expansion of the Canada Student Grant Program.
VICE-PRESIDENT STUDENT LIFE
Recipe to Self Romance This month we had the pleasure of hosting Morgan Lynzi, a fabulous TikTok creator, for a virtual cooking class and chat! Morgan talked about topics from personal development to personal well being, working with students to teach and educate them on building a brand and using their individual voice. It was a really great event and I really hope to see more of these events.
ASSU Collaborations I had a wonderful time meeting with Ikran from ASSU to finalise our collaboration on a few upcoming projects. We are looking forward to working with ASSU on changes to our new clubs policy and coming up with a joint way to support course unions. Further, we will be partnering on two upcoming events which I am thoroughly excited for!
WICS X UTSU The girls at WICS collaborated with us to host an incredible event during reading week on Imposter Syndrome in various industries, specifically focusing on tech. It was an open and safe space to have honest conversations that left many participants feeling very inspired after – myself amongst them! Events like these have a great impact on our student community and I loved supporting Anjali, Micaela and their team on this initiative!
VICE PRESIDENT EQUITY
XAO: Equity in Action! This year’s eXpression Against Oppression (XAO) campaign, Equity in Action!, sought to engage students with diverse community groups, organizations, and businesses. This year, we collaborated with a number of diverse local businesses through events, social media engagement initiatives, and giveaways.
U4Consent In collaboration with the Dandelion Initiative, we will be holding “Empowered Bystander” workshops at the very beginning of April to raise awareness of consent. We recognize that this is right before exam season, which is why we will be holding a minimum of two workshops with a combined total of 30-40 people in addition to gift-card incentives.
SBA x UTSU Disability, Sexuality & Consent Workshop: This workshop will be a conversation space centering the relationships that we have to and with disability and sexuality. We will explore the connective tissue between ableism/saneism and sexuality, especially with the ways that our world has shifted in the last year. We invite folx to share in discussion around navigating communication, consent, connection, and isolation.
VICE-PRESIDENT PROFESSIONAL FACULTIES
UTSU Scholarship Program I am super excited to announce that the UTSU will be running a Scholarship Program to celebrate the leadership and campus involvement of our students. Over the next month, you should be looking forward to seeing the call for applications. This will be a great way for you to be recognized for your achievements.
Pro Fac Residence Report I have completed my project on First-Entry Professional Faculties and Residences on campus. Through using surveys and residence demographics, we have outlined recommendations that the university needs to consider in order to properly support our professional faculty students. I will be disseminating the report to university administration to make effective change.
2nd Entry Gym Access This month, I have been working closely with KPE to conclude this issue from my predecessor. Because of COVID-19, there has been not much movement on the administrative side. However, I am actively preparing for my transition and ensuring that my successor is knowledgable about this issue, and find solution once time permits.