Students will be able to vote from Oct. 6 to Oct. 8
Joss Arnott // Staff Writer
This October, the Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) is holding a by-election to fill seats on its Board of Directors. The polls open at 9 am on Oct. 6 and close at 5 pm on Oct. 8. Students will receive an email that will direct them to vote online through their student account.
If you have no idea what the Capilano Students’ Union does, you’re not alone. “I knew of the CSU,” said Emily Bridge, “I knew they helped with U-Pass and they helped with the Dental Plan and that kinda stuff, but I didn’t know a lot about what they did.” Curious about the CSU, Bridge looked further into the organization. The more she learned, the more she discovered that her interests aligned with what the organization was working to achieve.
“I realized that a lot of what the CSU did was actually about increasing access to post-secondary education for everybody,” said Bridge. “It was about breaking down barriers and making sure students had what they needed to succeed and to have a really great experience at a university.” Bridge has been a member of the CSU ever since, starting out as a member of their Board of Directors. Two years later, she found herself in the role of CSU president.
You might not notice every little thing that the CSU does, but the organization is always there, working in the shadows. They’re a group of students, elected by you, who are working hard to help students have a good university experience. The CSU also provides a number of paid positions within the organization, such as seats on committees and positions on its Board of Directors (the governing body in charge of the CSU). The diversity of roles the CSU offers allows students the opportunity to work in various leadership roles and make a real difference in their community.
By participating in the by-election and voting for candidates that accurately represent them, students can meaningfully influence the work that the CSU does in shaping the university. Since a portion of student fees go towards compensating board members and funding the services that they implement, voting can be a good way for students to ensure that said fees are being well spent.
The CSU’s purpose, as stated in their 2020-25 Strategic Plan, is “to elevate the post-secondary experience through advocacy, service delivery, and leadership opportunities.” Bridge explained that basically, “the CSU wants to make your university experience the best it can be.” A lot of what the CSU does isn’t glamorous, but they do a lot of hard work for students behind the scenes. One of the many services that the CSU currently offers is the Community Cupboard, a program that provides students in need with non-perishable items donated by the community. In addition to that, the CSU also provides an affordable health and dental plan that’s valued at over $900 and included in students’ term fees at a low cost.
Last year, the Board of Directors introduced the Device Doctor, a repair service that saved over 450 phones and an estimated $42,000 in labour costs. The CSU also helped CapU students save roughly $163,000 in textbook costs by working with the CapU administration to increase access to Open Education Resources, which are online articles and textbooks. By working with the Alliance of BC Students to lobby the provincial government, the CSU helped increase the number of student loans that students are able to access.
For students who wish to become more involved with the CSU, one way to start is by voting. Students will be able to vote digitally for candidates running for positions within the CSU, such as faculty, campus and at-large representatives, collective liaisons, the accessibility justice coordinator, as well as positions within the Capilano Business & Professional Society.
“If you don’t vote, you don’t have a say in who is representing you, who is bringing these concerns forward to the administration and what kind of services are getting developed,” said Bridge. “It’s a way to have a direct say on who it is that’s doing this work on your behalf.”