A brief look into what SMCSU has to offer for this year and beyond
Aaron Panciera EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
The University of St. Michael’s College Student Union (SMCSU) had a resurgence during the past academic year following the 2016–17 school year which witnessed significant scandal and financial mismanagement.
During the 2017–18 academic year, SMCSU focused mainly on building a foundation for future councils. This new council was based in reform, most specifically in the newly drafted University of St. Michael’s College (USMC) Student Society Leadership Policy and the reimagining committee. The purpose of these reforms, as defined by the USMC Society Leadership Policy, is for “leaders of student societies to accept personal responsibility for their actions and exemplify behaviour that encourages an understanding of and respect for the values that inspire and inform USMC in its mission.”
These reforms, and the SMCSU executives tasked with bringing these reforms to life, have ultimately been successful. While last year’s council ran into some problems that are to be expected following scandal, including a lack of interest in many executive positions, SMCSU was effectively able to hold campus events, introduce new committees and commissions, and fund USMC clubs in a transparent and scandal-free manner.
“I appreciate a lot of the foundational work SMCSU did last year. They had to start from scratch, and I applaud them for doing so much work with barely half a council. Since they did all that work, it has allowed our council to function more efficiently and effectively,” Vice-President Joey Gratkowski wrote in an email to The Mike. “Expect this year to be an improvement over last year, but only because of the work done last year.”
SMCSU is the primary governing body representing USMC students, and it is clear that President Kate Strazds’ goals for the council reflect this responsibility. Strazds states her primary goal for SMCSU this year is “to continue to build and strengthen the community at St. Mike’s to ensure that every student’s university experience is positive and memorable.”
Student events are one of the key means of achieving this goal, and SMCSU has already held fun events open to all USMC students. For example, the council has already held a “Pizza and Board Games” night, and currently tickets are being sold for a trip to Downey’s Pumpkin Patch on October 19. Nominations will also be open to students interested in running for Vice-President, Community Life, which is currently the only vacant executive position.
Strazds and Gratkowski agree that a successful year for SMCSU will be vital in maintaining the long term viability of the council. When questioned on his goals for the year, Gratkowski stated, “Have every position on SMCSU contested in the April elections next year. I know this seems odd and oddly specific, but it encompasses a lot of my goals for the year. If we do our job well, it will entice people to apply next year.” Strazds said that she and Gratkowski aspire to “set a precedent for what SMCSU should be like for the following years to come.”
“The entire council has the same goal this year, which is to engage and reach out to as many students as possible and do our best,” Strazds explained. “Personally, I hope that we sufficiently deliver to the students and ensure that their needs are met for the year.”