At its Feb. 7 meeting, the Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS) Legislative Council discussed efforts to have the oneCard student payment system accepted at more restaurants and services in the Montreal area. Council also announced an increase in payment options and reduction in beer prices at Bar-des-Arts (BdA), and deliberated extending loan periods for the faculty’s laptop lending program.
Reduced prices for Sapporo and Glutenberg at BdA
BdA, a bar operated by the AUS from 5 to 8 p.m. every Thursday in the Arts Lounge, has introduced Sapporo to its drink menu for $1 per cup. The bar has also lowered the price of Glutenberg from $2 to $1 per cup. Cups of Honey Brown, Silver Creek, Cream Ale, Blanche de Chambly, and Smirnoff Ice will remain priced at $2 each, while Pabst Blue Ribbon and Sleeman will remain priced at $1 per cup.
Students will now also have the option of paying their for beer at BdA using credit or debit cards. Previously, the bar has only accepted cash payment. An attendee questioned whether BdA attendees would make large enough transactions to justify implementing debit and credit payment.
“It’s actually a lot of beer, around $40,000 to $50,000 worth per year,” AUS President Erik Partridge responded. “This provides a different option for people who might not have change, and we anticipate that the line will move faster if we don’t have to make change [for larger bills].”
Increasing the number of options for oneCard purchases
Arts Senator Michael Nwabufo is currently working on increasing the variety of restaurants and services partnered with oneCard, and is in contact with Basha, Téo taxi, and Freshii Parc. Nwabufo delivered an update to Council about his progress thus far, in which he noted that of the local businesses he consulted, Freshii Parc expressed the greatest interest in a partnership with oneCard.
“This would really open up the diversity of oneCard,” Nwabufo said. “Basha has been hard because they already give discounts to McGill students, but I’m looking into Boustan.”
In addition to restaurants, vending machines, and laundry services on campus, oneCard is currently accepted at St-Hubert Express Parc, Double Pizza, and the Mac Market, a student grocery store located on McGill’s MacDonald campus.
AUS expands the laptop lending program
The AUS will be purchasing 10 additional laptops for its laptop lending program in the coming weeks, bringing the total number of available laptops to 50. In order to minimize the risk of thefts and damages, AUS currently loans laptops for a maximum of four days before they must be returned. However, according to Partridge, this limit can be inconvenient for patrons of the program, many of whom are forced to acquire multiple laptop loans in a row to complete their assignments.
“The average [total] check-out time for a laptop is three to four weeks,” Partridge said. “We’re looking into semester-long rentals with cheaper computers so that we don’t have to check in and make sure the computers are working as often. The current laptops run at $1,800 each. Cheaper laptops mean that it’s not as bad if we lose one. We also hope to have an online sign-out system worked out soon.”
Increasing spending for the laptop lending program will divert funding from AUS’ desktop computers, however there is money to spare with AUS intending to remove desktops from the Ferrier computer lab and turn it into a group study space. Some computers will remain available in Ferrier with software such as InDesign and STATA installed. This software is currently available on some of the laptops, but may not be able to run on cheaper ones.
AUS amends its bylaws
Council passed a motion to amend the AUS’ financial bylaws, stipulating that all decisions made by the Financial Management Committee (FMC) must now be ratified by a simple majority vote of over 50 per cent in Council.
“Last year, the VP Finance did not bring any FMC decisions to Council, as there was an agreement made that no notification would be required,” Partridge said. “This motion undoes that agreement for the sake of financial accountability.”
Both a motion to amend all AUS bylaws, which will update all pronouns in AUS policies to be gender-neutral, and a motion to approve the social work Indigenous field course fee increase, which raises the fee from $390.20 to $421.56 from Summer 2018 onward, also passed.
AUS Legislative Council will next meet on Feb. 21.