BUSAC: Looking into the future

RYAN VERBEY-VERUTIS

BUSAC convened for the first time on Feb. 25 since the BUSU Executive and Board of Directors elections. While the council members reviewed and ratified the results from the past elections, the majority of the meeting was spent discussing changes in policy and preparing for the future.

The meeting began with a presentation from the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA), a non-partisan, non-profit organization that advocates on behalf of post-secondary students to the federal government and inter-provincial bodies. CASA is a well-respected organization, having been invited to speak before the House of Commons on multiple occasions and frequently meeting with members of the Canadian government to discuss student issues.

Since 1999, Liberal and Conservative governments in Ottawa have implemented programs and spending that were lobbied by CASA, bringing over $13 billion back to students. For example, CASA proposed the Textbook Tax credit, which has since given $308 million back to students, making it easier for them to afford post-secondary education.

While these past successes are certainly noteworthy, council members wanted to know how being a member of CASA benefits the Brock students. Considering the fact that membership costs a minimum of $5045.00 per fiscal year, council members wanted to ensure that this fee is a worthwhile investment.

According to their website, CASA is composed of 22 student organizations, representing over 300,000 students from across the nation. As the CASA spokesperson explained, membership makes it much easier for BUSU to bring the concerns of Brock students before the federal government.

CASA also promoted their ‘Get Out The Vote’ (GOTV) campaign, which helps students become informed as well as encouraging them to vote at the federal level. Since a party’s post-secondary education policy can impact  the quality of Canada’s university and college system, it is important for students to have their
voices heard.

This logic also applies to the BUSU Executive and Board of Directors elections, which is why Jimmy Norman, the Chief Returning Officer (CRO) for BUSU, was happy to announce that voter turnout has been gradually increasing over the past four years. Norman attributed this increase to the implementation of online voting, which allows for students to access the polls directly through their email.

Additionally, BUSU Club Coordinator, Charlotte Ristich, spoke about updating how BUSU manages their clubs, suggesting three main changes to the bylaw: installing set ratification periods, requiring all clubs to submit a budget at the beginning of the school year, and clarifying the offenses that result in the de-ratification of a club. These changes are intended to help students find opportunities to get involved in an efficient manner.

BUSAC and Senate elections are right around the corner. Visit the BUSU reception desk before Mar. 6 to pick up a nomination package. There are 35 seats available between the following faculties: Applied Health Science, Education, Math and Science, Social Science, Goodman School of Business, Humanities and extra faculty. Also available are two non-academic seats, one Board of Trustees seat and four Senate seats.

For more information, contact Chief Returning Officer (CRO) Jimmy Norman at cro@busu.net.

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