At the end of each Brock University Student Administrative Council (BUSAC) year, we ask councilors to reflect on their experiences, and share these thoughts in an end of the year report. Councilors, committee chairs and other BUSAC members write about how they saw BUSAC through their eyes. This helps our governance staff to design and target greater training in problem areas indicated in the reports, as well as gain deeper insights into the BUSAC model of governance. These reports are publicly available as a form of reporting accountability, where members of the greater student body can examine these reports, and question councilors on issues they see as important. With there being several openings for the October By-Election, these reports can provide prospective candidates some insight to their colleagues, as well as what to expect from council. I hope you find these reports insightful, helpful and reflective of an ongoing learning process we are working on at BUSAC.
-Chris Ventura (BUSAC Speaker)
*The reports below have been published as submitted, they have not been edited by The Brock Press.
Unfortunately I will not have much to say about the last four months of BUSAC. This has been a difficult semester for me; I had to put my classes ahead of my role as councillor this semester. As a result I was not a very helpful or a very informed councillor this semester and that disappoints me. The election also put BUSAC on-hold for what felt like a month and that also limited BUSAC’s effectiveness as well, in my opinion. In first semester I had much more free time to dedicate to BUSAC and being an effective councillor and I wish I could have extended that same effort into second semester but I could not. I would like to make some recommendations to the future executives and BUSAC councillors. Passing executives need to adequately pass on the knowledge of what they are leaving behind to future executives, I am sure they already do this but also to new BUSAC councillors, Perhaps with a year-end report from all the executives or a detailed portfolio. If this is already being done then that is great! But I feel as a councillor when I first started attending meetings I was not adequately informed beforehand of the issues. I would like to congratulate the new executives and new BUSAC councillors and I hope that you take to heart that you were elected by the students and you shall serve the students.
-Ashton Govan (Faculty of Social Sciences)
Dear Whomever This May Concern,
My experience on Brock University Students’ Administrative Council has been pleasant. When I was first elected as a Social Science Councillor last March, I wasn’t entirely aware of what my position on council was in regards to what I was supposed to do, what I could do by being on council and what power of change I had. I ran for chair because I wanted to be more involved within the student life community and I can proudly say that not only I am more aware of the internal and external factors at Brock, but I feel much more integrated within the Brock University. I do need to say though, that it was very intimidating and confusing as a new councillor in the fall being only a second year student and not being aware of rules, regulations, bylaws and any of the proper language that was required at BUSAC was, to say the least, excluding. The training in the summer was a little bit helpful but nowhere close to enough for me to feel fully confident to jump right in on meetings when it came to the fall. So ultimately, I stayed quiet and went with the flow most of first semester. I always kept up with the agendas and made my best efforts to understand all of the situations going on but sometimes I needed that extra background information, but I was too shy to ask and this is coming from a person that people regard as an outgoing individual. I suppose it may be due to the professional atmosphere or because of the fear of appearing ignorant or downright stupid in front of all of council.
Luckily, as I settled in and got to know more of my fellow councillors throughout the school year, I started to relax. I began to ask questions, mostly over Facebook message to other members, but eventually branched out to raising my hand and speaking most times with support from others for how to structure my questions or statements. I’ve become a lot more comfortable in BUSAC these past few months and I wish that my term was not coming to an end. If I could have ran for council again, I would do it without question but I am in a collaborative program which means I will be attending another school next year. None the less, my advice to BUSAC would be to upgrade orientation and run activities that focus mostly on two aspects: one, having the councillors get to know one another personally (and thus feel comfortable with each other) and two, practice the environment, language and mannerisms that BUSAC operates under so that there isn’t such an intimidating feel for incomers who feel as though they know nothing and are Jon Snow (Games of Thrones reference, yes… I went there). But I digress. Overall, my experience has been wonderful. I achieved just what I wanted through BUSAC I grew as a person, I made new friends and connections within the Brock community, I learned a lot more about how Brock operates as a University (including clubs I had no idea existed, bylaws that hold the union together, how fees are dealt with and much more), and I also felt like I had an impact on the overall aspect of Brock University life. Additionally, I feel more educated on politics from this experience which I deem an important aspect in our society as a whole in Canada.
If I could change anything, I would increase the amount of speaking turns I used I would ask more questions and speak up more as a councillor but I’m learning, growing, and always expanding my knowledge. I only wish that future councillors will realize what I am realizing now, but much earlier.
-Alena Kondratieva (Faculty of Social Sciences)
This past year has been an amazing experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. Serving on council with so many intelligent, caring, and passionate student leaders gives me great hope for the future of BUSU Inc, Brock University, and the entire Niagara community.
My involvement with the Finance Committee was tremendous. Entrepreneurship week was extremely successful with a wide variety of programs and opportunities to become actively engaged with the business community and has empowered student initiatives in ways which we have never seen before. In terms of the New Buildings Committee, while some consultations have been ongoing, I was blessed with the opportunity of visiting Fraser Valley University and gaining further insight into how the FVUSU made their vision for new student union building a reality, this is feedback I am looking forward to submitting to this year’s committee for next years’ consideration. Referendums Implementation and Levy Review Committee met to evaluate the Student Life Fee, Daycare Fee, and CASA membership, all of those findings will be presented at the final BUSAC meeting.
Over the past few weeks I have been blessed with the opportunity to visit McMaster as part of the OUSA Spring General Assembly. I was also blessed with the opportunity to visit Fraser Valley University in Abbotsford, BC as part of the CASA Annual General Meeting. Both of these meetings helped me in my capacity to see the work that both of these organizations do for students provincially and nationwide and what progress has been made. These opportunities have also given me the capacity to plan out my vision and goals for the year to ensure the best possible strategy moving forward with the entire VPEA portfolio especially enhancing continuing lobbying efforts in Niagara and St. Catharines.
I would like to use this report as a forum to give my most sincere thank you to every member of BUSAC who dedicated their Wednesday evenings to engaging with others for the benefit of the entire student population. For those not returning next year best of luck in all your future endeavours and make sure you come back and visit! For those who are returning, thank you for your continued dedication to our organization and your community, I am really looking forward to working with you folks next year and watching your positive mentorship on our newly elected council.
I would like to give a special thank you to Drew Ursacki, Paul Dermody, Roland Erman and Kyle Rose who have served as an amazing executive team this year and who have each helped me in my personal and professional development over the course of this year. My transition into the VPEA role would not be possible without the consultations and guidance you folks have given me.
-Antonio Sergi (Chair, Board of Directors; Vice President External Affairs [2015-2016])
It’s been good a good year at BUSAC this year. Over my past two years of BUSAC I have seen this organization grow significantly. From a business student prespective there was not any really big issues that arose. The main issues that have remained as part of the organization have been student engagement and involvement however we did notice an improvement within voter turnout. My personal goal for BUSAC was to make the BSA more accountable. I believe I did that by improving transparency of the organization by improving the number of budgetary meetings to BUSAC. I am sure future BSA reps will continue to do so. I believe that this organization is headed in the right direction and with so many returning councillors I believe that all the hard work put in will continue to help the organization flourish and succeed.
It’s been a great year!
-Aqib Zia (Business Student Association)
This has been my first year on BUSAC and my first year being involved in student politics at Brock University. For myself, my committee involvement has been primarily within the subcommittees of Ethics Review where I sat as a voting member and on the Environmental committee as of the beginning of the Winter semester of 2015. The Ethics Review committee met several times during the Fall semester and handled the cases presented with professionalism and competency. Gratefully, consultation and advice for effective mediation of complaints was given by Carole Moss, BUSU’s ombudsperson. Additionally, the Ethics Review Committee successfully proposed a newly amended Code of Conduct which will facilitate faster and consistent action in future ethical cases.
Since joining the Environmental committee to fill a vacant position, the committee has developed and will proposed a new Environmental Sustainability Project in the form of a bylaw which aims to increase oversight of decisions at BUSU which may have environmental impact.
As for club funding, it is my understanding that BUSAC has approved more no-interest loans instead of grants than in previous years. Loans have been given primarily to initiatives which stand to produce revenue as a result of the funding. I stand by the decisions of BUSAC because, though the funding is given as a loan with the expectation that it will be repaid, should a club NOT be able to repay the debt, it is erased at the end of the fiscal year. This provides clubs with the necessary funding to run their events while providing BUSAC with a potential means of recompense to fund other club requests in the same fiscal year. After all, there are many, many clubs at brock which request funding but only $50,000 to be allocated.
Though I have been on leave of absence from BUSAC meetings since the beginning of the Winter term due to a scheduling conflict with evening classes, I believe I have remained involved to a satisfactory level through my involvement with the subcommittees. I look forward to returning next year as a Math and Science Councillor again!
-Adam Zoccoli (Faculty of Math and Sciences)
As an experienced Councillor I can draw from my experience on Council both this year and last year. Looking back at my past two years on Council, there is a clear drop in the productivity of BUSAC Committees. Important Committees such as the Governance Committee, Referendum Implementation and Levy Review Committee, and other Committees have met less often, resulting in less work completed. Another major issue this year at BUSAC has been the overall effectiveness of BUSAC as a whole.
BUSAC Committees have been less productive this term. Committee Chairs have the power to pick and choose the dates and times of their respective Committee meetings. This power has resulted in the delaying of meetings for various reasons which has resulted in less legislative changes and less referendum and levy reviews compared to last year. The Governance Committee with phenomenal assistance from the Speaker, Executive Assistant and the President reviewed the Committees Bylaw so that next year the Governance Staff will schedule meetings on behalf of the Chairs of Committees as well as creating a Schedule that Committees must follow and meet regularly to increase the productivity of the Committees.
Throughout most of the Fall Term and parts of the Winter Term, unprofessionalism, intimidation, and disrespect were a serious problem at Council. Partisanship, lack of participation, and person conflicts have gotten in the way of BUSAC being effective in getting results for students. In the Speaker’s report on speaking turns, he revealed that a large number of Councillors simply aren’t speaking at meetings. I believe that a reduction in the size of Council as well as change in how we elected our representatives will contribute to a more effective, efficient, and respectful Council. Originally, I was opposed to the idea of a reduction in the size of Council but after having met with many Councillors and students to discuss the issue I believe that this is the best way to move forward for BUSAC.
In conclusion, I will continue to work with next year with all Councillors to improve the effectiveness, productivity, and professional of Council as well as Council’s Committees. I will encourage Councillors to speak their minds freely within our meetings and work towards reforms that can bring about better results for students.
-Calvin Eady (Extra Faculty Representative)
Firstly I’d like to thank everyone on council for making this year a fantastic learning experience. I was a little quieter this year than I usually am but now that I got a year of Robert’s Rules of Order under my belt I assure you that is going to change! I feel like through our bi weekly meetings we have all grown as professionals and we’re all better for it. Once we go out into the real world we shall “kicking ass” and “taking names”.
I’d like to thank Mr.Rose and the rest of the Finance Committee for doing everything they could’ve to make our first Entrepreneurship Week the success that it was. Cannot wait to see what we’ll be able to pull off next year with the incoming councillors.
Congratulations to all the councillors on a stellar year. It is my belief that this coming year will be bigger and better than the last. Thank you to the outgoing executives for their general leadership and direction and congratulations to all of this year’s election winners. You all worked hard and truly deserve your successes.
The only thing I’d like to see more of next year would more collaboration for councillors in the same faculty.
-David Hanula (Faculty of Social Sciences)
I am pleased to see another successful year on BUSAC. Unfortunately during the winter term, I was on leave for the Executive election, as well as the BUSAC councilor’s election; I was a campaign team member and a BUSAC candidate respectively. Thus, my participation was limited. Moreover, I am sure BUSU will be in good hands for the coming academic year.
This year, I was pleased to see new clubs come out to BUSAC for club funding, and I was happy to see how diligently BUSAC critically analyzed funding requests. This year, I felt that we were able to adequately satisfy club requests. I’m happy to see more regulation for clubs, especially with yearly club budget submissions much earlier on, thus we can use the club funding much more efficiently.
As well, I have been pleased with our discussion and conversations about CASA over the year. This year, council sent CASA to RILRC. I feel this is an important move for the student population. CASA has large financial responsibilities, so by going through RILRC, it can be critically analyzed and further improved upon.
I am excited for another year of BUSAC, thanks to a successful election. See you next year!
-David Nguyen (Faculty of Mathematics and Science)
As a new councillor, I learned a lot this year at BUSAC. I witnessed the passion of other councillors for their faculties and its something I hope the future Goodman councillors can foster. There is a lack of issues surrounding business students. Main issues surrounding business students have always been awareness and engagement. However, we have witnessed an increase in voter interest in the October and February elections. I hope that this is a pattern that continues.
-Deeksha Sharma (Goodman School of Business)
My first year on BUSAC has been an incredible experience. I had been interested in student politics since high school and always been fascinated at the power of the human voice. This year on council, I have seen some incredible student power and success.
I’ve met some new incredible new people, these people make things happen.
They’ve introduced me to new clubs and really pushed me to get involved. New clubs such as the Playmakers club have thrived this year. The club funding procedure was an enjoyable experience as I feel I contributed to making positive change at Brock. I toughly enjoyed advocating my faculty’s opinions and concerns on council, and I hope that my faculty agrees.
Congratulations to the councillors that have been newly appointed and I look forward to working with all of you next year as your Faculty of Applied Health Science Councillor once again!
-Faisal Hejazi (Faculty of Applied Health Sciences)
I have found that there is a great fear of speaking up at BUSAC. As a member of the DART community, I have often made attempts to make the room a little more friendly be it friendly jokes towards fellow councillors, singing O’Canada in a fun way, or wearing a Christmas sweater to council.
I have found that my attempts are rarely effective. The people in the room who do not speak, in my opinion, have chosen that they will not speak. As it is their job as a councillor to speak their mind in relation to their constituents, I find this to be both politically abusive, and responsibly dismissive. They are effectively taking a voice away from someone who could use theirs.
I have also taken great strides in bettering the students’ experiences with Saint Catharines Transit. I have altered 5 different bus routes which hopefully will take effect in September. The 128, 28, 29, 30, and 122 routes are subject to changes in the next academic year.
-Geoffrey Verrier (Faculty of Humanities)
This year saw the introduction of a new Speaker along with the usual new batch of Councillors and Members. Mr. Christopher Ventura added to the Speaker position with his recommendations to the Committee structure as well as his research on representation from the different faculty representatives. Although there are many other factors involved in representation, the amount of speaking rights used by Councillors throughout the first semester were very interesting to see. I would like to see this continued in future years as it adds to the accountability of BUSAC Councillors.
Committee work overall this year was not on par with previous years however with the recent changes made to the Committees Bylaw (2000), the whole process should have more oversight by Council and thus be better next year. I was rather disappointed in the Academic Affairs Committee this year as I believe the student led teaching awards added last year were a great initiative that should have been performed this year as well.
As chair of the Referenda Implementation and Levy Review Committee, I noticed a great lack of institutional memory within our organization. I have made the recommendation that BUSU look to digitize all previous legislation, and minutes. This will greatly help the RILRC achieve its mandate and work much faster.
A major concern of Council this year was the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations. It is my hope that the Council will consider adapting one of the options outlined in RILRC Political Policy 2 and solve this issue once and for all.
An issue that should be talked about at next year’s Council is Greek Life. They have requested that certain privileges that BUSU ratified clubs receive currently (table/room bookings, ExBU etc) be given to them as well. I think this is certainly something to look into as many other Universities have given privileges to Greek Life organizations already and it is something that is getting more popular at Brock University.
-Istafa Sufi (Faculty of Education)
As BUSAC Councillor within the Faculty of Humanities, it has been my pleasure to continue correspondence with my constituents and express any concerns to the wider BUSAC community.
Fortunately, this year has run like a well-oiled machine, with less animosity and fewer instances of adversarial-ism than I’ve ever witnessed before. We’ve fostered a productive environment, and engaged in deep philosophical questions as to the very nature of BUSAC, its Councillors, and what those responsibilities pertain. As our new Speaker settles confidently into his role, I foresee a climate of development and change within the BUSAC operating structure, and pine at the thought that I will not be directly involved in the process. However, I am sincerely hoping to extend my operations with BUSAC in a continued function within the GSA, strengthening correspondence and collaboration between the two student representative bodies.
As is the case with every year, minute instances of drama and attempted controversy have percolated in the furthest vestiges of the 13th floor, alongside the roaming dust bunnies and redundant words cast aside from amended legislation. However, our Council has handled itself well in the face of such superficial and vindictive lambasting, and it is my hope that they continue to advocate their positions and opinions with pride and without hesitance.
The Appeals committee is operating as flawlessly as ever under the guidance of our excellent team, and I personally guarantee that 100% of those who have participated in the Appeals process this year have emerged appeased and pleased participants. I have fostered friendships, consumed pizza, and engaged in respectful dialogue with adversaries and rivals, in order to reach amicable agreement hopefully representative of all Faculties and student bodies. I have had the privilege of working alongside some fantastic people for the past two years, and it is my hope that I can continue to use this experience to give critical and beneficial feedback in adapting the Brock University Student’s Administrative Council, as well as padding my resume.
-Liam Campbell (Faculty of Humanities)
For the past two semesters I have served with great diligence to vote upon necessary amendments, up keeping on various presentations that are worth the time listening to and helping in any way possible for those clubs to keep entertaining the student body, educating us and most important representing Brock University with pride.
Secondly, I observed a few mishaps and lack of consideration with a few council members in respect to voting and carefully thinking about what exactly it is, that’s been asked. Careful thoughts arrived from correcting legislations, ratification and not thinking about their personal feelings. At the end of all our nights on council it is not only for our benefits but the University and students on a whole.
I will honestly say, all that have been done in respect to meeting agenda was considerably noted and discuss to the best of our ability. I see no alarming faults or concerns that need to be tackled on BUSAC however, my only concern is that of new upcoming council leaders wanting to take this role will abide and fulfill their promises and any platform point elaborated on during their election period will come to light for all of us.
The time and pleasure is humbly appreciated
-Monique Blake (Faculty of Social Sciences)
I would like to open this report by saying it has been an honour and a great privilege serving on BUSAC for this school year. I feel that this year we have been quite productive and have made some significant improvements. My main goals for the year have been ensuring that the Social Science faculty worked as a caucus to help serve our constituents. We did this by having an active Facebook chat and have met on several occasions. I have also vocally spoken for the need to improve the accessibility of the 128 Towpath Rockwood bus and expansion.
The rest of this report in my opinion is a list of ways that BUSAC can be more effective for next year.
- First of all I believe that new BUSAC councilors should be informed of some of the efforts and accomplishments of the past year. It is hard to know what policies are being voted on when you do not have enough discussion or explanation
- I believe the executives should continue to mentor councilors and have one on one meetings with us regularly. Let’s have councilors have lunch with exec members once every week to either communicate concerns or be more up to date with their progress.
- Continue to try and push clubs to not come to us for funding at last minute and be sure that they are prepared in their presentations
- More discussion on by law amendments and policy than just a snap vote
- Encourage more openness for coucillors to bring up issues on the floor that concern them and more help from governance to help draft a policy
- Many councilors have heard desires to fix issues that are not specific to BUSU. Encourage more work with Senators and Board of Trustees Members to help communicate more university issues that the student body would like changed.
- Most importantly I think our roles should not only start and end only at BUSAC meetings but outside of them. Encourage councilors to deal with faculty issues and be more accessible to students
- Continue advocating and promoting ourselves and our brand to make sure we are more accessible
- Use this to also help promote higher AGM attendance
- Continue to have meetings with members of senior administration ( Brian Hutchings, Shari etc.)
- Continue to push committees to meet more and brainstorm how that specific committee can be more effective.
Due to a couple leaves of absences I have been required to take I have not been able to attend as many meetings but I believe that these are the specific areas I would like to continue to work with, or improve for next year. I believe I have done my best I can to be informed but I believe I can do more next time to be more prepared and up to date with what is happening. I would also like to make the effort to be more vocal and contributing in discussions.
Over all this year has been a great pleasure and look forward to a productive year on council this coming year!
-Matt Campbell (Faculty of Social Sciences)
Wow this year has gone by fast. It is a great pleasure to be able to reflect back upon the things I liked and didn’t like about BUSAC. Along with this reflection also comes the actions I took and didn’t take that resulted in the year I had. Unfortunately, I will not be returning to BUSAC due to an increased workload with being a Head Resident within Residence next year. So lets get into it. I really enjoyed the people in BUSAC. I met a lot of people who have a great deal of passion for this school and for BUSU and this is not something I see outside of the chamber.
Unfortunately, I did not share the same magnitude of passion that was expressed by my fellow councillors. I did care I just couldn’t rationalize putting extra time into BUSAC when I am a full time student who is working three other jobs on the side. These are jobs I decided to take on to help supplement my income as University is expensive. I do see BUSAC meetings as the ‘politics’ of the institution and I see a great deal more value in committee work than what happens on the floor and for this reason I look forward to applying to be a SAL for different committees in my Undergraduate future.
I think one of the underlying problems with BUSAC currently is a lack of training of the new councillors. The retreat is nice and I would not cut it I just feel that it is not sufficient for us to enter September and be on the same level as members of BUSAC who have been around for 1 or more years. Looking back I wish I would have pursued more conversations about questions or concerns I had about various topics that came up. For most of the year I played the role of fly on the wall which isn’t overly helpful for BUSAC or the students. The majority of my work was put into having meetings with the Residence Action Council and partaking in their constitution review in which I drafted and fought for a complete redesign of how the council works. I was successful and I think the changes implemented will go a long way to ensure the council representants residence students the way they want to be represented. BUSAC was the push for me to do this and at the end of the day I feel that with respect to my year this is my best accomplishment.
-Michael Dube (Residence Representative)
The year was a very interesting one, but not without its fair share of challenges. Working and acting as a voice for Goodman Students has been a very refreshing experience for me. In my opinion there have been two major issues that have affected Goodman Students. The first issue is the lack of knowledge students have with regards to BUSAC that became apparent during BUSU’s Annual General Meeting. The turnout was dismal and demonstrated a serious lack of engagement within Brock University as it appeared that no one outside of the Council was present. Likewise, the second annual general meeting held was a better turn out and in a more ideal location, but still not enough people are yet aware of BUSAC.
The second issue that presented further evidence of BUSAC’s anonymity was during the time of the October By-elections. Most students who were approached had no idea who to vote for because they didn’t know what BUSAC was, let alone the candidates that were running. After having a good understanding of first semester, as a councillor, I have worked hard to better connect with Goodman Students to ensure that I have a council that is held accountable and provides its students with the best representation possible.
-Melene Mullings (Goodman School of Business)
Greetings Badgers! This is my second and final councilor report. This year at BUSAC has been a fantastic learning experience and I really enjoyed getting to understand the workings of the student union from a legislative and advocacy standpoint. That being said… what did I do this term? Well I am pleased to say that I was a campaign member of the upcoming new Vice President External Affairs, Antonio Sergi. I am confident in saying that he will be a more than capable representative of the students in this capacity. There have been a number of developments in this term that I have supported and believe will help further the student body. The most important that I supported was the change to Bylaw 2550 Clubs policy. This bylaw had several updating amendments but also included that clubs must submit an intent of capital request in the earlier part of the year. Although this does require some work for clubs it gives the Clubs funding coordinator the opportunity to budget and keep council “in the know” so that we are not left with an empty account at the end of the year when clubs are still in need of financial assistance. Although clubs will not be held to this budget exclusively, i.e. clubs can still ask for funds that emerge unexpectedly with the oversight of the VPSS, it just gives a good indication of what clubs may need.
On a personal note, BUSAC has been a fantastic learning experience and I know that my faculty is left in the hands of great new representatives and some wonderful returning councilors. Although I am finished my undergraduate at the end of this term, you may just see me pop up in the GSA! Representing the needs of students in a meaningful way is an extremely rewarding experience and any who are considering this should absolutely try! What do you have to lose?
In conclusion, thank you for the opportunity to represent Applied Health Sciences this year! Al the best badgers.
-Pierre Thibeault (Faculty of Applied Health Science)
During this time in BUSAC, my involvement in the Clubs Policy Committee has been a huge learning curve. The Clubs bylaw has endured vital amendments that will no doubt make club funding much more organized and quick. I was very happy that I was able to be a part of that process as upon becoming councillor, I did not know much about by-laws. Now, I am happy to say I am well-versed on clubs! I think it was a good decision for me to join this committee because I felt like it forced me to actively participate in BUSAC meetings, and even learn more about BUSU initiatives outside of the board room. I sincerely feel that CPC is the most hard-working and eventful committee and I am very happy that I made the decision to become involved with it!
Asides from CPC, I am sorry to say that the FAHS councillors did not meet with the Health Sciences Council this term. I, personally, was on leave two times for the executive elections and for my BUSAC candidacy. My one regret is the relationship between councillors of the same faculty and their relationship with the student body. This is one matter I am both fed up and slightly unsure with. I like to think that the student body has full right to contact any of the councillors to express concerns regarding Brock, their program, etc. Obviously, a lot of these concerns will not be brought forward to BUSAC, but we, as their representatives, can at least guide them to where their concerns can be dealt with. I know another councillor took it upon himself to make BUSAC more known to the Brock Campus, but I personally felt, that a more realistic endeavor would be for faculty representatives to reach out to their respective faculties in any small way. For example, FAHS councillors collaborating with the Health Science Council was a good idea. Though the other councillors of FAHS did not reciprocate the same concern, it will be my mission to make this happen for next year.
I personally don’t know where my future lies with BUSAC, but I know that I was re-elected and that puts a tremendous amount of responsibility on my back to ensure that I work hard and actively participate in BUSAC and BUSAC-related matters.
-Shanza Hashmi (Faculty of Applied Health Science)
I have really enjoyed my time on BUSAC and fell that I have made a difference in the room. I have however run into some institutional barriers which I feel hinders the abilities for BUSAC councillors to do the job which they were elected to do.
Throughout the year I strove to understand the bylaws and legislation surrounding BUSAC there is quite a bit of it and fully understanding it is a great difficulty for a new councillor what I found more overwhelming however were the instances in which the legislation was outright ignored in favour of tradition or precedent. This often puts the direction of BUSAC at odds with what its guiding documents said we could do. This was not as great an issue as it could have been this year as Chris Ventura the BUSAC speaker was a former veteran councillor who understood the thought behind the bylaws but this could present an issue in the future with a less experienced speaker or if a speakers ruling were appealed as I do not see how some of the rulings made this year would be upheld.
Overall I believe we have had a middling year as a council we have answered many questions but I felt that as a council we have dodged certain questions such as the viability of paying for CASA membership out of the division 1 budget. Please do not misconstrue my words I am a great supporter of CASA and I do believe that the decision to pay for CASA out of division 1 was legal when made more than 10 years ago after two referendums failed to meet quorum, this being said CUSA should go to referendum as in my entire 4 years at Brock I have never seen an election fail to meet quorum and the idea that BUSU would pay for anything for 10 years without a successful referendum is a monumental issue.
Finally I would like to thank all councillors and BUSU staff and Executives, without all of them I do not think I could have made as much of an impact as I did on BUSAC.
-Stephen Korecki (Faculty of Social Sciences)
Hello and thank you for taking the time to read my BUSAC End of Year Report. I promise you that it will be very brief and hopefully be insightful as to my role on Council thus far.
I was fortunate enough to be acclaimed as one of the six representative of the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences. I officially attended my first BUSAC meeting as a representative on October 29th. The first year on Council has been simply a learning experience and trying to become familiar with how council operates and its major objectives. I know feel more comfortable being an active speaking member of council as I have the experience. However, I was on leave for all of March, running to keep my seat on BUSAC. I look forward to returning to council and getting back to representing the students.
As far as involvement on BUSAC, I was fortunate enough to be elected onto the Student Life Advisory Committee. This committee oversees the Student Life Fee and ensures that the three departments (Athletics, Student Health Services, Recreation Services) on campus that are associated with the fee. It is the duty of this committee to ensure that these three departments are fulfilling their duties towards the fee. I haven’t had the opportunity to sit down with this committee due to personal scheduling conflicts. However, I will begin my committee work starting the first week of April.
I would like to take the time to thank you for reading what I hope was an informing report. Additionally, I would like to thank all the students that voted for me and instilled their trust in me as a member of Council. It is a great honour and I look forward to partaking in a more active role on BUSAC for my second term.
I wish you all the best on your upcoming exams and wish you a wonderful summer! Please feel free to contact me about any issues you feel would be relevant to BUSAC at email@example.com.
-Shayne Lasher (Faculty of Applied Health Science)
The issues that BUSAC had dealt with includes but are not limited to; funding requests, transportation issues faced by the student body at large, and raising awareness for BUSU’s annual general meeting. This report provides explanations of the issues as well as suggestions where applicable.
One of the main issues seen during council meetings is where a club requests funding for an event days or a week before the actual event. While it is council’s duty to fairly issue funding for all clubs, when the event being held is only days away, the choice and recommendations of council can be limited; due to the fact that council must act to ensure that no person in a club suffers a loss from an event held by the club. Had the club come for funding in advance, councillors could suggest alternatives and other ways of fundraising. One recommendation is to have clubs plan events and come for funding a month in advance. Likewise, with the new clubs funding policy and during the election periods, there were improvements to how clubs went about requesting funding; where it was seen that many clubs had requested funding through the clubs coordinator as opposed to BUSAC.
In addition, among many other badgers, councillors also take the buses that are available and it is seen that there are many improvements to the bus system that can be made. Likewise, the around mid-semester there was the ride-with-me campaign to raise awareness and combat some of the issues seen. However, after the campaign students had no other formal way of voicing their concerns. Keep holding information sessions to find out how to actually make a change is the recommended action. Likewise, it is known that there will be additional changes to the bus schedules as of September 2015.
Furthermore, it was seen that BUSU’s annual general meeting (AGM) did not meet quorum as a result of many different reasons. A few reasons include the fact that not many students were aware of the AGM; the location where it was held is not known to everyone; and the marketing of the AGM could perhaps be improved. Similarly, though the second AGM had a better location, it was not well attended and quorum was not met. The recommendation is to have councillors promote the AGM similarly to how elections are promoted with tabling because that method of promotion has been known to work.
Moreover, there have been minor changes to council where it is seen that both Chris and Kayleigh have dedicated their time to changing the way reports are portrayed and the way in which the meeting flows, thus resulting in a more efficient process. This resulted in meetings being finished in a timely manner, while addressing and accomplishing all the issues on the agenda.
-Shamoya Mullings (Faculty of Social Sciences)
After spending two months as an interim senator at the beginning of this year, I was honoured and pleased to be elected to a two year term in October. Having used my time as interim senator to familiarize myself with the way in which senate operates, and to become comfortable with the role, I was happy to begin the real work with a two-year mandate. Being particularly invested in issues concerning undergraduates, I joined the Undergraduate Program Committee (UPC) and the Undergraduate Student Affairs Committee (USAC). At USAC, we have been reviewing strategies to ensure that academic integrity standards are fair, adhered to, and above all, infractions avoided. Over the next few months, USAC will be considering whether to permanently implement the fall reading week. It is a priority of mine to ensure that this happens.
After starting at UPC, we immediately began reviewing department submissions for next year’s undergraduate calendar. In such a capacity, I was happy to make sure that Brock students will not be subject to comma splice errors and improper capitalizations. UPC was also the committee in which minors on diplomas—the student senate caucus’ biggest victory this year—was initiated. After nearly an hour of debate, students were able to convince the committee to pass a recommendation to senate by a narrow margin. At the last senate meeting, minors on diplomas passed unanimously after the entire student caucus spoke in favour.
With my first year at senate nearly finished, I am happy to say that I am becoming more and more comfortable in my role, and look forward to all that may be accomplished in 2015-2016.
The experience I have had throughout this year on BUSAC has been very different than any other. Although I had many friends that I would be on this council with, there was a part of my experience that made me feel a little uncomfortable. Even though each person on BUSAC is a great person, when we sat in the room, I found it very intimidating. The reason why I felt this way was because many people had very strong opinions and feelings about the way certain things were done and said. Therefore, I faced many challenges during the meetings as I never spoke once and this upsets me. Of course, I have opinions and I have things I want to say. It was definitely encouraged that each person talks and that all opinions be heard, but when it comes to the meeting, it usually does not pan out that way. In a sense, I did not want to step on anyone’s toes.
I think it is important for next year that councilors do not just become comfortable with one another as people, but as a council. I know that this is an administrative council, yet there was a lot difference in politics. I thought that this council would be a group of students coming together, and I found that there were a lot of issues, arguments, and personal issues. Furthermore, I think that certain things should be left in the past as well as comments people make on personal social media sites (i.e. Facebook). Unfortunately, the negativity in the council room and the strong differences encouraged me not to run in the elections in February for VPSS. This was my goal when I became a councilor on BUSAC, yet once the year progressed, I realized that the council was too overwhelming and did not give me the opportunity to personally or professionally grow.
I don’t want it to be thought that this experience was completely negative though. Although I did not have a strong voice, I was able to learn a lot about myself and my understanding of how a student union can operate (good and bad). I have learned to always find the hidden message and that there can be a solution for everything.
Also, I learned that in-camera is in fact not in camera!
-Stephanie Sherbok (Faculty of Education)
As the year commences I am extremely pleased with the work BUSAC has done during the 2014-2015 term. My presence this term was limited however as I was on leave for both the Executive and BUSAC elections. I would like to say thank you to everyone who willingly took on extra polling hours during elections. Without your leadership and dedication elections would not have run as smoothly as they did. I am also pleased with conversations surrounding CASA that took place in the board room. Similarly, I stand behind sending our CASA membership to RILRC to be reviewed considering the substantial financial fee associated with our partnership. The formation of the Student Life Advisory Committee was also a success as they have met twice within this term to ensure money collected from this fee has been spent appropriately. Likewise, having clubs present their budgets at the beginning of each term will be very beneficial next year as we can successful track the money available in the Club Funding budget. I am excited for next year, and I look forward to the future.
-Shanice Stewart (Faculty of Applied Health Science)
Throughout my time in BUSU as the Math and Science councillor I acquired a lot of knowledge and understanding concerning student demands and concerns. I thoroughly enjoyed this experience and did not find any issues with my position in council. I appreciated how the by-laws and other councillor respected and encouraged one another for the overall betterment of the student body.
-Zahra Hirji (Faculty of Mathematics and Science)
**For more information on BUSAC, or its current representation, visit busu.net