On Wednesday, Nov. 25 the Science Undergraduate Society (SUS) held its last General Council (GC) meeting of the semester, during which it wrapped up remaining agenda items and prepared for next semester.
The Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) has been deliberating on whether to join a new provincial federation after the disbanding of the Fédération Étudiante Universitaire du Québec (FÉUQ) in March, 2015. SUS Representative to SSMU, Sean Taylor, asked the council if the Vice-President (VP) External of SSMU, Emily Boytinck, could speak at an SUS GC in January 2016 on provincial representation; she has already spoken to the Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS) as well as the McGill Environment Students’ Society (MESS).
“I think [the] importance of having SSMU's VP External join us at GC next semester is largely to shed light on what provincial representation actually is and what it could bring to students in the Faculty of Science,” wrote Eric Mitchell, VP external for Neuroscience Undergraduates at McGill, in an email to the Tribune.
SUS club funding
Sibat Anam, the SUS VP finance, presented updates on his portfolio. Citing discussions held among the SUS executive team in the 2014-2015 year, he asked members of the GC for input and feedback on the idea of providing funding to clubs who are not SSMU clubs.
“Last year there was a lot of talk of clubs who are not part of SSMU perhaps going under the SUS to get funding,” Anam said. “That discussion is very new and is just starting [.…] It’s more a thing we’ll work on next semester.”
Anam also noted that previously this issue wasn’t as important.
“The need for such a fund wasn't as prudent in the past as it is now,” Anam wrote in an email to the Tribune. “Initially, the issue of funding clubs came up when there was a student group that didn't receive departmental status from McGill, and therefore was ineligible to get direct funding from the SUS as the rest of our departmental student organizations do.”
Mitchell expressed initial trepidation at the idea, though made clear that the discussion is still in its early stages.
“A concern I have is how this will fit into the budget as it is now, considering our student fees were just increased and the funds from those fees have already been put to use,” Mitchell wrote. “The benefits these clubs could provide would have to be assessed when it is made clear which clubs are actually interested in getting SUS funding. I am not sure which types of clubs these are at this point.”
According to Anam the funding would be catered to the needs of SUS members.
“[Such a club fund] would be for clubs specifically related to science and students in the Faculty of Science,” Anam wrote. “It's considered a bit of a lengthier process due to the fact we'd first have to get approval from the General Council to set aside money for this fund in our budget, find a sustainable method of ensuring this fund can be done every year, and then approve of services wanting to receive funding. The first thing on the list is to work on a motion to show why this fund deserves to be included in our budget and I will be working with the VP External, who has received requests from other interested groups, to draft the motion for sometime next semester.”
Anam explained what the process may look like once the club fund is approved by the GC.
“In order to receive funding, prospective clubs would first have to petition our General Council to be included as an SUS service by showcasing how they would attribute to bettering the experience of science students at McGill,” Anam said. “After this, they'd have to submit a proposed budget and from there they would get allocated funding [….] It's considered a bit of a lengthier process due to the fact we'd first have to get approval from the General Council to set aside money for this fund in our budget, find a sustainable method of ensuring this fund can be done every year, and then approve of services wanting to receive funding.”
Burnside Basement renovations
Anam also presented updates about renovations to the Burnside Basement from the president’s portfolio, who was absent from the meeting.
“[The President] is scheduling a meeting with the Dean to talk about the final designs.” Anam said. “Of the three initial designs, two of them are ready to go and they’ll probably make the deadline for the final design plans.”