As you may or may not know, recent legislative changes from the Ford government have shaken post-secondary students’ worlds upside down. Of current interest to this post is that Students’ Union fees are now optional (for some aspects, I will dive into that beast another post) which has (surprise!!!) made my life really hard! All incoming Presidents at Western (and all other Students’ Unions across Ontario which I am pleased to be friends with) are working together to structure our fees and to organize our budget into the specified buckets with optional and non-optional fees. You might be thinking, this is great! ~$65 in my pocket is a good day. 🤑🤑
What the HUCSC does costs money and it’s difficult to allocate how much spending went where. That sounds vague, but it’s a real problem. For example, when I was in second-year, I was VP Student Affairs. I sat on a roundtable that determined that a Fall Reading Week was important to improve the student experience at Western. These lobbying efforts were done by paid and non-paid executives of the various Students’ Councils (because it’s a part time job but the wage is about $10/day). Student fees paid the salaries of these executives and it is difficult to say how many hours of work were allocated to this issue per executive. In a world where student fees are Opt-Out, lobbying efforts will benefit everyone, but will be paid for by just some. The economic argument is that, “if I opt out then I benefit for free”. However, if everyone Opts-Out, these organizations (like my beloved HUCSC) will go bankrupt and cease to exist, where we can no longer advocate on behalf of students. Students’ Unions exist on almost every campus in North America for a reason. Students need a formalized voice. To continue our ability as the HUCSC to help improve the student experience, please Opt-In.
With that in mind, our amazing VP Communications, Emily, is hard at work creating Opt-In promotional materials for students to see when paying their fees. The USC has agreed to promote our video once it’s complete as well (thanks Crystal!). Inam, Emily, the other incoming Affiliate Presidents (Hailey White, Kings and Mikaila Hunter, Brescia) are working together to create brochures and other print content to show students. I will link these materials below. As a short-term strategy as well, the Alumni Board has agreed to list the HUCSC as an Alumni Donation category for the online portal. We are fortunate to be in a position where all of our stakeholder groups want the HUCSC to continue to exist so we are partnering with a number of them (particularly alumni, faculty, and administration) to get these materials in the hands of students.