September and October Board Meeting Recap

Published: Friday, October 27, 2023

Welcome to the Fall term, Warriors! Here is a quick summary of some of the things WUSA’s Board of Directors has talked about in September and October.

September: 

Monthly Meetings: 

The Board approved a change in the timelines to move back to monthly meetings rather than the biweekly schedule which had been followed since May. The Board Policy Manual requires for board meetings to be held on this monthly basis. One factor that led to this change was that reports are only received monthly, leaving the second meeting to be an open discussion. Reducing the dependence on a formal meeting every 2 weeks will also allow board members to better engage with the broader student membership and free up more dates for the Committees to do their work. 

Follow-Up Discussion on the Used Bookstore 

WUSA’s Director of Operations K. Patel spoke about this matter to address concerns and shed light on the reasons behind the closure. The Used Bookstore is a Commercial Operation of WUSA; for all there is a mandate for businesses to not run at a loss, the trajectory of sales over the last 5-10 years led to the decision to close. Additionally, trends have shown student use of textbooks moving to a virtual landscape, with many other universities also making the decision to close their bookstores. After a general discussion about how to find other creative solutions to replace the function of the Used Bookstore, it was determined that students would be surveyed about their experience and level of priority of this issue in November.  

Advocacy Stances in Development 

WUSA Advocacy Positions Committee is reviewing a second draft of the Housing Advocacy Stance. The next set of stances queued for potential development are:  

  • Co-op,  
  • Safety, and  
  • Transportation.  

An at-large student at a recent meeting brought up concerns about a lack of sustainability advocacy in the 2023/24 Annual Plan. 

Board Outreach Plan 

As was laid out in the Annual Plan, Board members have been developing a plan to standardize how best to engage with students more broadly. This will include coordinating which channels of communication are best used to let students know about the governance and advocacy work they do. This plan may also include some in-person events where students can ask questions and offer feedback about the current and future work of the Board. 

This includes an upcoming event called Campus Conversations: A WUSA Roundtable to Elevate Student Perspectives where students will have a unique opportunity to engage with WUSA Board members and staff at our roundtable event, Campus Conversations. This event aims to foster open dialogue, make students feel heard, and educate attendees about WUSA.

October: 

Board Evaluation: 

The Board and Staff received a report from a third-party HR firm about the progress of work so far this year. This evaluation will happen every 3 months to make sure the Board Members get an understanding of how to utilize their personal and professional development skills in their roles and serve the needs of the Board. 

Director Reports and Accountability 

WUSA Board Members have the opportunity and responsibility to submit reports about their various stakeholder meetings and student engagement work to be included in the board agenda every month. To hold all board members accountable to this, it was decided that the monthly honorarium would be withheld from any board member who does not submit their reports on time.  

Ad-hoc Academic Affairs Advisory Committee 

This Committee was established to bring important student leader voices together when it comes to issues that arise on matters affecting:  

  • teaching, learning, research, assessment,  
  • tuition and course-related fees,  
  • faculty society advocacy (as it pertains to academics),  
  • university policies,  
  • textbooks and other learning materials,  
  • student financial aid,  
  • degree requirements, and  
  • the course calendar.  

The Committee will include the WUSA President, 2 Directors, and all Student Society VPs, Academic/Education, with some non-voting membership from the Undergraduate Senators as well. This committee will act fast to establish common understanding among students when issues like the Co-op Reneg policy change from the Spring 2023 term.  

Membership in Federal and Provincial Advocacy Organizations 

WUSA’s VP Katie Traynor talked about WUSA’s involvement in UCRU – Undergraduates of Canadian Research-Intensive Universities (Federal), and OUSA – Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (Provincial) and the various commitments and involvement opportunities these organizations allow Waterloo students to partake in.  

WUSA Town Halls & Forums 

Board Member Alex Chaban introduced a motion to request staff facilitate a Town Hall-type event to increase student engagement and accessibility to WUSA’s purpose and functions. This event will allow all undergraduate students the opportunity to come and ask questions and meet Board Members and staff who work on the projects and programs WUSA runs. There is no date determined for this event yet, but it is slated to happen before the end of the Fall term. Keep an eye out on https://wusa.ca/events/ to see when the event is posted. 

To get to know more about how the Board functions at WUSA, feel free to check out their page here. To learn more about WUSA’s Advocacy work, you can find that page here.    

WUSA’s Board meetings are livestreamed on YouTube so subscribe and check your notifications to watch.

Attachments: 

 

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