by KEN WINDER
The Augustana Student Association’s Fall General Meeting happened in late October. The meeting consisted of an address, the budget, question period, and the discussions of the new academic calendar, sexual assault, and the fee referendum.
During the first hour of the general meeting, council members and representatives gave their address. Each address discussed individual goals and how each member were planning to achieve their goals in the academic year. They then discussed what committees they were on and how those committees helped them achieved their goals. There were many different committees discussed that focused on improving student life in all aspects including grants, the topic of sexual assault, Aboriginal and International student engagement, club registry, activities, and student wellness among others.
One particular issue that the AGM covered is the options for students after they finish their degree. Many students are unaware of the many possibilities that they could pursue. In order to address that, the ASA has started a program called After U. Councillor at Large, Ivy Njoroge, and 4th Year Representative, Natasha Mutize, are very focused on helping students access information and educate them about the possibilities and opportunities they can pursue.
After all the addresses had been made and the committees had been discussed, the budget was next on the agenda. Students pay $65 per semester to the Student Association and it was interesting to learn how the money goes back into directly helping students. 91% of the income the ASA gets goes directly into operating funds. Operation funds go towards putting on events, offering services, club funding, students awards, administrative and operating costs among others. Approximately 6% of the ASA’s income goes to what is called an investment fund. This income is essentially for future projects directed for students. 2.5% of the income goes to the ASA’s capital fund that covers furniture, software, and equipment that the ASA needs in their office. The last two-thirds of a percent goes into a contingency fund that is essentially a small fund for emergencies that aren’t described or planned for in the budget. All in all, everything that the ASA does and all the income they use is accounted for in the most meticulous way. Upon learning of what they do with their budget, I have no question that the ASA truly does act for the best interests of students to the best of their ability.
After the budget was discussed, the audience had the opportunity to ask some of the questions they had. During the question period, the topic of the land bank, near the soccer fields was brought up. The land bank is university property that could be potentially turned into a new style of residence in the future.
The discussion period went over the new academic calendar, the fee referendum and what was done on campus to address sexual violence. For the 3/11, VP Academic, Hope McDonald, explained a bit about the changes to the enrollment process and what students should expect in September.
The fee referendum, better described as the student vote in March regarding the amount money students pay to the ASA, and the potential effects of the referendum on the student population was also discussed. The AGM closed with the discussion regarding sexual violence and what the ASA was doing to bring awareness and change to campus. One tangible step that the ASA is doing to achieve this goal is having round table discussions that are open to the student population. In these round table discussions, students are able to bring ideas and concerns to the ASA regarding the conversation. Another approach to bringing awareness to sexual violence on campus is the Take Back the Night Movement that will be occurring later in the winter term.
Overall, the AGM was incredibly enlightening for students as we learned what the ASA was doing for the student body.