2021-22 budget amongst agenda items
Bridget Stringer-Holden // Associate News Editor
“The CSU is the students’ union for all students at Capilano University, and we basically try to elevate the post-secondary experience through advocacy, through service delivery, and leadership opportunities for our members,” said Emily Bridge, Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) President.
The CSU Semi-Annual General Meeting (SAGM) will be held over Zoom on Feb. 25 at 11:30 am. The Societies Act requires one annual general meeting per year, which is held in the fall, while the CSU bylaws require an additional general meeting that is held during the spring semester. A minimum of 75 students must be present to represent CapU students and allow the meeting to proceed properly. Students can register to attend at csu.bc.ca/sagm, and advanced registration is recommended so that the CSU can ensure quorum throughout the meeting.
“General meetings are the highest governing body of the Capilano Students’ Union, which maybe doesn’t sound that exciting to many people,” said Bridge. “[They’re] one of the few opportunities where any student is able to vote.” While students are welcome to attend board and committee meetings, they are only given speaking rights.
The CSU will present their 2021-22 draft budget at the SAGM, showing students where their money is going. Any bylaw amendments will be added to the meeting agenda in advance, ensuring that attendees have time to review them. Although Bridge finds it difficult to engage with students online without chilli and garlic bread, attendees have the chance to win prizes—a set of Apple Airpods or one of thirty $25 DoorDash gift cards.
“But it’s definitely not the same. I think it’s been hard for everybody not to be able to really connect with all of our members and students the way we normally would, but we’re definitely trying to make the best of it, and I will say, just a shoutout to our organization, especially our staff team.”
“The history of student advocacy is really about student rights and student government,” said Bridge, explaining that student organizing has been the driving force that made the post-secondary experience what it is today. “What’s different between what we do and what the university does, is we are elected student leaders, and we are here providing services, advocacy and leadership opportunities for students—we’re completely separate from the university.”
Bridge believes that continued advocacy to politicians about student issues is important. “We ask for more money for different programs, for grants, for support for mental health, and we talk to the university administration. We ask them to put money behind anti-racism initiatives and we ask them to put money behind indigenization and decolonization at the university,” said Bridge. “The work that student unions generally do can be sort of underrecognized, I think, but they actually do a lot of things that I think as students we can take for granted.”
There is an upcoming general election for the Board of Directors for students wishing to engage with the CSU. The nomination period opens Feb. 22. “It’s a really great opportunity if you’re interested in running in the election,” said Bridge, describing the CSU as “a group of students with their own staff team, who are really passionate about making the post-secondary experience better for everybody.“ Although there will be information sessions about the election, Bridge recommends attending the SAGM to get a general sense of the different board positions and what the CSU does.
“The university experience without a student union—without student government—would be different,” said Bridge. “There wouldn’t be an organized place for you to voice your concerns and to be heard and I think support for students would look a lot different.”
Students can register for the SAGM at csu.bc.ca/sagm. For those wishing to get involved in the CSU, the volunteer portal is available on the CSU website. Questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org, or through social media channels with their handle (@capstudentunion), such as their Instagram or Facebook.