Every undergraduate student at Brock, whether they’re aware of it or not, is a member of the Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU). As a member of this students’ union, you have both the right (and inversely, the responsibility) to attend its Fall term Annual General Meeting (AGM).
Despite BUSU having the October AGM on their online calendar and advertising it via social media, it seems that year after year the concern is that students are not only unaware of what exactly an AGM is, or when it is, but also that they have no clue as to why they should attend. This may be partially due to BUSU’s advertising efforts not reaching a large number of students or it may simply be due to a lack of student engagement with BUSU and politically focused activities.
This year, the AGM will be held in the former Sean O’Sullivan Theatre on Oct. 6 at 3:00 p.m.
At each AGM, the elected VPs and the President of the Students’ Union give presentations on their current, future and past projects. And, for every AGM in recent history, it has begun and ended with just that. However, if enough students attended the AGM to achieve quorum, the students could collectively propose, vote on, and pass legislation that would otherwise need to be voted on during a referendum.
According to Article 8.3 of the BUSU Constitution, “Such a meeting may, upon approval by a majority of the members of the Corporation present, make recommendations, policies, amendments, or bylaws that are binding on the Corporation, the Board, and the Brock University Students Administrative Council.”
Due to the history of low attendance at the meeting the AGM has merely become an information session.
In the event that quorum is not reached, BUSU President, Patrick Foster, said that “the AGM provides a better understanding of what BUSU is and what it does throughout the year.”
To achieve quorum at an AGM, only two per cent of the student population needs to be present. That’s an incredibly low number for the potential to make big decisions and changes. Considering Brock’s population of undergraduate part-time and full-time students comes to nearly 19,000, only about 380 people would need to attend an AGM for quorum. A number that may seem large but not in comparison to how many students attend popular sporting events on, and even sometimes off, campus.
This type of power is tremendous and yet, students hardly ever show up. At BUSU’s last AGM which occurred earlier this year on Jan. 28, only 21 students were in attendance. The AGM before that, had only 14 students present.
Last year’s BUSU President, Kyle Rose, stated that if each BUSAC member brought only ten friends, that quorum could be reached. In addition to BUSU’s usual awareness campaigns and advertising of the meeting, this year they’ve tried to incentivize attendance.
“This year we are [giving away] a few prizes that will be [won by students present] to really encourage students to come out,” said Foster, also adding that “this is probably the best year to come out to [the AGM] and I encourage everyone that might be interested to come.”
So the real question is, will you attend the October BUSU AGM and help account for a larger student turnout?
The BUSU Fall term Annual General Meeting begins at 3:00 p.m. on Oct. 6 in the former Sean O’Sullivan Theatre.