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(Students' Society Programming Network)

SSPN restructures to allow general student body members

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At its Sept. 14 meeting, the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Legislative Council unanimously passed a motion to restructure the Students’ Society Planning Network (SSPN), the committee responsible for organizing and executing student events hosted by SSMU, including 4Floors, Faculty Olympics, and Grad Frosh. This motion opens 13 of the 15 spots on the committee to members from the student body, reserving one seat for the Internal Logistics Coordinator and one spot for the SSMU Vice-President (VP) Internal.

Prior to the decision to restructure the committee, the Committee Terms of Reference stipulated that SSPN’s membership must be composed of the VP Internal, three legislative councillors, and 10 members-at-large chosen by the VP Internal and the Internal Logistics Coordinator. Under the new motion, there is no limit to the number of seats on the SSPN that SSMU Legislative Council members can occupy. However, joining the SSPN will no longer fulfill Legislative Councillors’ requirement to serve on one Legislative Council committee as per the Internal Regulations of Governance.

The purpose of these changes was, in part, to encourage more students to participate in the planning process of SSMU events and to promote and broaden the collaboration between SSPN and SSMU clubs, according to Maya Koparkar, SSMU VP Internal. The changes were also motivated by the fact that SSPN seats reserved for councillors are already occupied by members-at-large.

“[This motion] passed unanimously at Legislative Council because the specific terms of reference in question weren’t being followed for the past few years,” Koparkar said.

Members of the student body have been invited to apply to the committee since 2013. Now that the seats on SSPN are open to students who are otherwise uninvolved with SSMU’s operations, Koparkar believes that the committee will be able to plan a greater diversity of events.

“I think that it’s better to open up spots to members-at-large that might have the passion or the ideas for an event planning body rather than the legislative body, because we wouldn’t have access to those ideas otherwise,” Koparkar said.

Currently, the committee is composed of Koparkar, a Logistics Coordinator, and 12 members-at-large.

“There’s a variety of people from different faculties who are involved in different clubs [in the SSPN], and I think, in terms of reaching different crowds, there’s a good potential,” Manon Debuire, U3 Management and current committee member said.

The codification of these changes will likely bring attention to the possibility of a partnership between various clubs and SSPN, resulting in more diverse activities hosted by and for students. Debuire is responsible for contacting clubs to participate in SSPN events and is trying to approach clubs who may be interested in hosting activities at SSPN events.

SSPN is currently planning a joint Halloween event with the Macdonald Campus Students’ Society (MCSS) on Oct. 26 called The Cabin in the Woods: Halloween Party at Macdonald Campus. Various clubs will host activities for the attendees. Kiran Yendamuri, U4 Science student and president of The Film Society believes these changes will provide an opportunity for lesser-known clubs to promote themselves and increase their impact on the student body.

“I think working with SSPN would be something clubs would be interested in, provided all clubs had an equal opportunity to be visible,” Yendamuri said.

The changes to SSPN’s makeup will take effect immediately. The Halloween party on Oct. 26 will be SSPN’s first function this year, and will provide a framework for future events under the new committee structure.

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