Tre Mansdoerfer’s term as SSMU President has been largely successful: Most notable is his work on increasing coverage for the health and dental plans, the property acquisition of 3501 Peel, work on governance reform, and the Involvement Restriction Policy to increase the safety of campus events. As with the other executives, one of Mansodoerfer’s greatest challenges during his term as president was the University Centre closure, which left many clubs without space for their daily operations. He addressed this challenge by acquiring space in McGill’s 680 Sherbrooke property, saving SSMU hundreds of thousands of dollars that they had spent on 2075 Robert Bourassa in Fall 2018. Additionally, the Ad-Hoc Fall Reading Break committee saw substantial progress with help from Shapiro and the committee chair Bryan Buraga. Mansdoerfer cites SSMU’s chronic understaffing as another challenge, which he attempted to remedy with a substantial proposed $30 increase to the base membership fee in the Winter 2019 referendum, but the increase failed to pass. Although Mansoderfer did not fulfill all of his campaign promises, like switching General Assemblies to a clicker voting system, he made immense progress on others, and handled the building closure as best as possible. Overall, despite mishaps like the overambitious Master Plan, Mansdoerfer’s term as SSMU president has been a success.
During his term as VP University Affairs, Jacob Shapiro worked with the McGill Senate on projects such as instituting a fall reading break, providing Open Educational Resources (OERs) to make often-expensive academic resources more accessible, and improving McGill’s Policy Against Sexual Violence. He also implemented the Associate Senator program, which aims to involve first-year students in student government by allowing them to accompany SSMU executives during their work.
Shapiro also worked on SSMU governance reform with Legislative Council, the Board of Directors, Senate, and the Judicial Board to create stronger legislation to keep SSMU accountable and improve students’ trust in the organization. This work is difficult to complete in one term and Shapiro is focused on longer-term reform, which should contribute to enduring positive change in SSMU.
Additionally, Shapiro achieved continuity in governmental projects by maintaining the Know Your Rights campaign. He hopes to see this project expand in the future through coordination with Student Advocacy and creating advertisements on Facebook.
Shapiro laid the groundwork for the creation of intergenerational housing and hopes to see this project take off in the future. Further, a lego-themed event in February engaged McGill students with seniors from the McGill Community for Lifelong Learning.
Lastly, Shapiro worked extensively on changing McGill’s satisfactory/ unsatisfactory (S/U) Policy, and he hopes to see a commitment from the university by the end of the semester.
In order to deliver on promises she had made during her campaign for VP Student Life, Sophia Esterle has worked to implement a variety of mental health initiatives, including SSMU’s first Eating Disorder Awareness Week, a mental health conversation in rez event in collaboration with Rez Life (Draw & Discuss), and the creation of an eating disorder resource website and pamphlet. Absorbing duties from the VP External portfolio, Esterle worked closely with student activists, SSMU’s Indigenous Affairs Commissioner, the First People's House and the Indigenous Student Alliance on the #ChangetheName campaign. Esterle navigated the unforeseen challenges posed by the building closure by establishing an efficient and user-friendly request system for rental space. She also successfully transitioned Activities Night to the Tomlinson Fieldhouse, which had a record attendance. Though Esterle began work on the Clubs and Services Search Engine, the project was delayed. Esterle managed, however, to begin streamlining SSMU’s website and creating a student groups portal, which she hopes will complement the eventual search engine. Esterle served a successful term, and her dedication and compassion for her role and fellow students was evident.
During his campaign for VP Internal, Matthew McLaughlin prioritized revamping the SSMU listserv, creating a centralized calendar of university events, and re-implementing the ‘Day In The Life of a SSMU Exec’ program. McLaughlin accomplished these goals, with the calendar set to roll out in Fall 2019. Other initiatives taken during his term include rewriting the First Year Council (FYC) constitution to nearly double its membership and expanding dry event options during Frosh.
Events McLaughlin planned have gone smoothly, with the exception of the ‘Children of the Corn’ Halloween party in Oct. 2018: Students’ behaviour led the event’s transportation provider to cancel service, costing SSMU approximately $10 thousand in reimbursements for students’ uber rides home. Early in his term, McLaughlin introduced a motion to Legislative Council that forbid the VP Internal from becoming intoxicated at SSMU events, increasing the role’s accountability and professionalism.
Despite his accomplishments, McLaughlin spread himself thin over the year, proposing more projects—such as biweekly video updates—than he could realistically follow through with. Nevertheless, McLaughlin’s work, and particularly his engagement with FYC, has left a positive mark on the VP Internal role.
Jun Wang campaigned for vice-president (VP) finance on a platform of improving students’ financial literacy, streamlining the funding application process for Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) clubs, and pursuing green investments. Wang’s most significant achievement during his term was the SSMU bank transfer, which moved 230 clubs’ bank accounts from ScotiaBank to the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) to facilitate tracking of funding applications and enable clubs to receive direct deposits from SSMU.
However, Wang did not communicate sufficiently with clubs during this process, and clubs were unable to access their funds during a blackout period that lasted for several weeks. Additionally, in March 2019, Wang sanctioned an estimated 100 clubs for failing to comply with regulations that clubs say were previously considered defunct and unenforced. Though Wang hosted an audit workshop for club executives on March 28 to promote financial literacy and prevent future errors, the effort was insufficient, and many groups continue to operate without access to their accounts. Ultimately, this failure to liaise effectively with the electorate compromised many of his promises.
The McGill Tribune Editorial Board reviewed the 2018-2019 Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) executives on their performance in their positions. The Editorial Board gave each executive a score from 1-10 based on how we felt the executives performed. The grades were converted from a percentage into a letter grade based on the McGill grading system. Under this grading scale a “C” is a passing grade that meets expectations, a “B” exceeds expectations, and an “A” refers to an outstanding performance.