Daud Grewalâ€™s Presidential Platform 2011/2012 www.votedaud.ca
Introduction Over the past four years I have been heavily involved at Brock University in student government (BUSU) as well as with clubs on campus. Last year I served as the Vice President University Affairs which has given me much greater insight into the organization and how I, as President, can steer BUSU towards the right direction. There are many big projects that we’re started this year that I want to see through to completion while at the same time bringing fresh new ideas to the table. In this platform I will go through two of such projects I would like to continue and introduce some new ideas of how we can improve the student experience at Brock University.
New Student Union Building (Expansion) Centralizing Student Life Brock University is growing steadily and BUSU needs to grow with it to accommodate the large increase in student numbers and the drastic changes we have seen in student life since we last built our student union building twenty years ago. Brock University lacks that central student hub space that many other campuses have. There is a lack of open space, a lack of club space, and a lack of diverse food options on campus. This is a project that was in my platform last year and has been heavily worked on this year by our VPFA, Sebastian Prins and President, Sohail Ahmed. By the end of this year our aim is to secure building space, hold a referendum for funding and have architectural designs completed. Here are just some of the potential uses of the space which I am advocating for:
Club Space (Offices, open space, etc.) More diverse food options (i.e. vegan foods, halal and koshr foods) Media Centre (BrockTV, Brock Press, CFBU etc.) Open Space (Skybar lounge x 50) Prayer Space and Multifaith Room BUSU Grocery Store
If elected President I will conduct focus groups and surveys to get a better understanding of what students would like to see in a new student union building. This project is a great undertaking and is something that will take 2-4 years to complete. www.votedaud.ca
Business Incubator Project Supporting the Entrepreneurial Spirit of Students We started work on a business incubator project in the beginning of this year that would support the entrepreneurial spirit of students and give them access to the resources they need to take their ideas from concept to reality. This is a project unique to student union in Canada but it provides tremendous value not only to our students but to the community at large. Brock University has also been working towards developing a business incubator and BUSU will be working in conjunction with the university to ensure the success of this project. Currently, we have hired a consultant to do a feasibility study and determine what kind of plan and resources we will need to accomplish this task. In the next year, if elected President, I will move towards the completion of this project based on the recommendations provided by the consultancy group.
Improving the Essential Services that BUSU Offers Continuity, Consistency and Growth BUSU strives to deliver essential services like the U-Pass program, health and dental plan, Emergency Student Loan Program Food Vouchers, Internal and External advocacy, and events like O-Week and Frosh Week. I want to strive to improve these services through a variety of ways. One of which includes having more full-time staff that are responsible for the year over year administration of the programs to ensure continuity, consistency, and growth. Executives are only here for one year and should not be the ones delivering the services but instead should be the ones directing and making decisions in regards to the services. By putting the essential services that BUSU offers completely in the hands of executive who are there just for one year does not allow for continuity, consistency or growth in those programs. These services should be administered by full time staff that do not transition through every year and who can maintain a higher level of quality in the deliverance of those services. Continuity: Too many times in BUSU we find executives who bring fresh new ideas like regularly holding community barbeques or Isaacâ€™s Army that do not continue. This is because if the new executives do not have a desire to continue that project it dies unless a full-time staff member takes on the role and keeps it alive. Consistency:
Regular services that we offer should be consistent in there deliverance year over year. No matter how great a transition an executive is given nothing can replace experience. The experience of how to deliver a service consistently year over year comes through repetitive practice. Growth: When a program or service is delivered by a full time staff member they will gain experience and have more of an ability to find areas of growth because of their experience in the program. Whereas, a student executive is re-learning how to build the wheel every year and when they finally have gained enough experience to realize where growth needs to occur, it is the end of their term. In my term as VPUA I have already begun making those changes within my portfolio by creating a full staff position called the Research and Policy manager and have been encouraging a change in this direction within BUSU as a whole. We are not quite there yet, but I will make sure that if elected President that these essential services will see improvements.
Sustainability Office and Utilization of Green Fee Reducing our Carbon Foot Print Last year, we passed a green fee that has largely gone untapped this year. This is due to a lack of a coordinated effort to spend the funds adequately in the upcoming year. In the past years there are various departments and student organizations on campus that have been attempting to pool funds together for a sustainability manager on campus. The political will exists in the University and there is a need for BUSU to assist, in conjunction with University departments, towards funding for this office. If elected President, I will ensure that the green fee is utilized to its fullest extent to lower the carbon foot print of both our Student Union as well as our University as a whole. The sustainability office will be able to coordinate all environmental initiatives on campus and will provide ideas and programming as to how we can maximize the utilization of the Green Fee.
Non-Academic Learning Opportunities Enhancing Student Experience I want to improve student experience at Brock University through years one to four. If you want to learn to play an instrument, practice yoga or sing and dance we want to support extra-curricular www.votedaud.ca
courses that can make it happen. If a student has the desire to pursue interests outside of their normal studies we would enable them to do so through non-academic courses that would be taught by knowledgeable and experienced instructors. Examples of courses that could be taught: -Guitar - Mixed Martial Arts - Magic - Meditation - Public Speaking - Sewing or Knitting
These are just some examples of courses that we can offer students to improve and add to their experience at Brock University. This gives students the opportunity to learn new things and expand their horizons outside of the classroom. This goal is consistent with Brockâ€™s commitment to engaging, â€˜both sides of the brain.â€™
BUSU Grocery Store Promoting Healthy Living There are many students on campus, especially students in residence, who have lack of easy access to a grocery store. What I am advocating for is not a new idea - many universities in the U.S have grocery stores on campus in order to promote healthy eating and easy access to fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy products. Western University student union is a prime example of this. In 2005, Tom Stevenson made a campaign promise to bring a grocery store on campus. There is a vendor they have begun working with this year that is potentially looking to expand to other Universities. This is a project which I believe would be a great service to students living on and off campus and I would pursue a research project determining the desire from students for a grocery store and the feasibility for one on campus.
Mental Health Issues on Campus Peer to Peer Support Network Before I became Vice President last year I was completely unaware of how big of a problem mental health issues were on campus. Studies show that close to 25% of students in universities are depressed. Through our health plan the drugs that are most used by students are anti-depressants. www.votedaud.ca
Students are stressed for a variety of reasons, be it exam stress, relationship issues, or simply having difficulty dealing with the transition from home to University. Sometimes all students need is a peer to talk to. This is why I would like to establish a peer support network that would help address mental stress issues either directly through BUSU or through similar programs under the purview of BUSU like the SJC (Student Justice Centre). That is my platform. It is very important to keep in mind that there are a number of great opportunities of improvement in BUSU but these are the areas of improvement that I believe are a priority for the organization today. If elected President, the ideas in this platform will be the ones I promise to strive towards in my term as President. Sincerely, Daud A. Grewal BUSU Presidential Candidate 2011/2012