Photo By: Mackenzie Gerry
By now you might have seen or heard a bit about the Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU) and the Brock University Student Advisory Council (BUSAC). Both of these bodies are very important at Brock and oversee a large number of things that will affect your student experience during your undergraduate years.
On a basic level, BUSU is operationally similar to a high school student union. However, the scope of things that they manage at this level is much more expansive. Nonetheless, BUSU’s primary function is to advocate for and represent the best interests of the student population. To that end, BUSU is managed by an elected executive team composed of a vice president, student services (VPSS); vice president, finance and administration (VPFA); vice president, external affairs (VPEA) and the president.
BUSU holds two general meetings annually to discuss the union’s operations. Over the past two years, the format of these meetings has changed from a typical meeting structure and they have instead served as information sessions for those who choose to attend. These meetings provide students with an opportunity to speak with each of BUSU’s executives about their portfolios and specific plans they have for the future.
BUSAC is a branch of BUSU that governs by-laws and policies, capital requests and club funding, as well as elections. There are five committees with specialized purposes within BUSAC that do work across all of the areas that BUSU oversees. Like the BUSU executive body, all voting members of BUSAC are elected by the undergraduate student population at Brock.
Each school year, BUSU hosts three elections for undergraduate students to select their representatives on the BUSU board of directors, BUSAC’s members and the four BUSU executives. Students can also expect to vote on referenda relating to student fees or BUSU’s governing legislation.
The first election is the October by-election, which has a primary purpose of filling any vacant seats throughout BUSU’s representative bodies. Following that, the second and largest election is the February executive election, to elect BUSU’s board of directors and four student executives. The final election is the March election, which is held to elect the following year’s BUSAC members.
Voting in elections ensures you have your say in picking who represents your interests in Brock’s student governing bodies. Voting in referenda provides students with a chance to have direct input into major decisions, often related to increasing or eliminating funding for organizations or special projects. It probably won’t seem as if every referendum that is being voted on will affect you directly during your time at Brock, but it is likely that many of them will in some way define the experience future students will have.
Typically, Brock has seen a relatively high voter turnout compared to other Canadian universities.
“While our goal is always to have more students participate, we have been fortunate to see numbers as high as 42 per cent of undergraduate students participating,” said Kayleigh Rossetto, Director, Governance and Advocacy at BUSU.
BUSU is largely funded through approximately $1.5 million dollars of undergraduate student fees. As such, whether or not you care about the ideals of the students running in elections, as an undergraduate student you have financial incentive to care what these students, if elected, plan to do with your funds.
“It’s incredibly important for students to engage with BUSU and participate in our elections. Each of our elected students brings new ideas and drive to push us towards reaching our annual goals,” said Rossetto. “It’s important for students to learn about the different candidates and vote for who they think would best represent them.”
Students seeking more information about the student union are encouraged to call 905-688-5550 x3560, or visit the BUSU website. As Brock is still on track to have a largely in-person semester this year, students will be able to visit BUSU’s office when campus reopens. It is located on the second floor of the Student Alumni Centre.