A topic that weighs heavily on the minds of all students, professors, staff and administrators is the $38 million budget cut imposed by the Quebec government over the next two years. As student leaders, we have witnessed the tireless, albeit lonely, efforts made by Principal Heather Munroe-Blum and her team in lobbying the government to change its position. The Faculty of Engineering, which is already running on a tight budget, has cut teaching assistants’ (TA) hours, labs, and course sections, and is also in jeopardy of losing funding for its Student Centre. At the Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS), we cannot help but feel concerned for the quality of our students’ education, and have decided to take action.
In our recent referendum, undergraduate engineering students voted with a clear majority to approve an emergency fund, called the Engineering Undergraduate Support Fund (EUSF). The EUSF will amount to approximately $200,000 per year, scheduled to terminate after two years. This fund will be raised through a new non opt-outable student fee, effective September 2013, and managed by a committee. This committee will be chaired by the President of the EUS ,and will have a majority student representation, but will also include faculty members from each of our seven departments, as well as the dean of engineering.
Both the fee and the governing committee of the EUSF have been modeled after an existing student fund, the Engineering Equipment Fund, which has proven to be highly successful in supplementing lab equipment, computers, and even furniture for engineering students since 1987. The vision of the EUSF is similar: to allow professors from all departments to apply for funding, whether for additional TA hours that were cut from their course, for more support in terms of lab TAs, or even for the Student Centre to apply for funding to ensure that no staff or advisor has to be let go. Once all of the proposals have been collected, members of the EUSF committee will deliberate and eventually vote on each.
“At the Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS), we cannot help but feel concerned for the quality of our students’ education, and have decided to take action.”
To date, the EUS executives, along with the presidents from each departmental student association, have been spreading the word about this new fund to our students. We will continue to work closely with the faculty in finalizing details regarding the EUSF, such as evaluation criteria and timeline for funding.
While this is an imperfect solution for a problem that should not be the students’ responsibility to bear, we firmly believe that the EUSF is a step in the right direction. It is actionable, realistic, and it will yield direct benefits for engineering students, from engineering students. We hope this fund will inspire other student associations to take an active role in preserving the quality of their students’ education.
EUS Executive Team,
Contact [email protected] for questions