The two teams running for next year’s Arts and Science Undergraduate Society (ASUS) executive have something in common. Each team consists of two housemates.
Presidential candidate John Whittaker and vice-presidential candidate Tom Jacobs want to strengthen the Departmental Student Councils (DSCs) within Arts and Science.
“All the DSC chairs will come to the Red Room before Faculty Board meetings and be briefed on the agenda,” Whittaker, ArtSci ’14, said, adding that this will make DSC meetings more constructive.
Communication and marketing are also listed as improvements on the team’s platform.
“A consistent visual identity legitimizes everything that we do,” Jacobs, ArtSci ’14, said. “Communications this year have been working heavily on engaging students and bringing more content to them. Now, we want to provide a platform that allows for two-way communication and feedback.”
Jacobs said currently the team hopes to build on ASUS’s Facebook page.
Another initiative for the team is the creation of the Student Initiatives Exhibit (SIE).
“It will be a weekend-long event where Arts and Science students can showcase their hard work, whether it is research-related or something of their own creation.”
The team said the SIE will eventually be a place where potential employers can observe some of the work that Arts and Science students are involved in.
“It would not be where you go to find a job, but where the job goes to find you,” Whittaker said.
Whittaker and Jacobs have plans for the ASUS Red Room, an ASUS-funded room in Kingston Hall that is for the exclusive use of Arts and Science students.
They plan to make the space more practical for studying, incorporating a full-time tutoring service.
Currently, the MindFind tutoring service provides Arts and Science students with paid tutoring. “The idea’s to take all those tutors who currently work and put them in the Red Room,” Jacobs said.
Presidential candidate Musonda Yamfwa and vice-presidential candidate Kate Irwin have different plans for the Red Room. They want to extend its operating hours.
“The Red Room is currently only open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and that’s when a lot of people are in class,” Yamfwa, ArtSci ’13, said. “It’s also not open on Sundays when students are usually looking for study space.”
Yamfwa added that the team plans to work with resources already available through the newly-elected ASUS marketing commissioner to increase the popularity of the Red Room.
“It would be great to accommodate first-years who maybe don’t have a common room in their residences,” she said.
A major point of Yamfwa’s and Irwin’s election platform includes instating the position of an education officer within ASUS to focus solely on the advocacy and accessibility of education for Arts and Science students. The officer would receive a small honorarium.
“The education officer would be able to provide information on scholarships to students as well as making sure that the smaller programs within ASUS are attended to if they have issues,” Irwin, ArtSci ’13, said.
Currently, no scholarships are offered through ASUS.
“Many students are in need of funding and we believe that ASUS could definitely step up and begin offering financial assistance,” Irwin said.
The team said they would take money for an endowment fund from the amount left over from the Red Room budget.
“It’s [around] $140,000 right now. For instance, each chair costs $2,000 and they’re nice chairs, but we feel giving $2,000 to a student should be huge,” Irwin said.
Yamfwa and Irwin also want to hold events where Arts and Science students can voice their complaints outside of ASUS or AMS assembly.
“If a student wants to voice their opinion then they have to speak at assembly or to a commissioner which can be very intimidating,” Irwin said. “We’d like to host casual events where students can voice their opinions in a less formal setting.”
— With files from Katherine Fernandez-Blance and Savoula Stylianou
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