The CSA is your arena for student politics
by Tom Beedhamy
Link to article on Ontarion's website:
If you’ve come to the University of Guelph and you have a passion for politics, the Central Student Association (CSA) is the place for you. Even if you’re not interested in politics, but simply finding some aspects of your new student life overwhelming, the CSA is the place to take your concerns. They’re dedicated to helping students achieve academically while keeping other aspects of student life like student finance and rights in balance.
Made for students and created by students, the CSA is focused on making student life and the university experience better for all members of the student body. The CSA consists of a Board of Directors, an elected Executive, volunteers, and other staff that actively manage student concerns as they are brought to their attention.
The CSA’s Board of Directors meets approximately every other Wednesday to discuss issues facing students at the U of G. Official attendees include five Executives, two At-Large individuals elected from each of the university’s seven colleges (the College of Arts, the College of Biological Science, the College of Management & Economics, the College of Physical & Engineering Science, the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences, the Ontario Agricultural College, and the Ontario Veterinary College), seven appointed College Governments, and nine appointed student organizations. Academic college representatives on the Board presently include Steven Kavaratzis and Brye-Anne Maniacco (College of Arts), David Alton and Namrata Tilokani (College of Social and Applied Human Sciences), Jessica Tarka (College of Biological Science), Paul Caruso (College of Physical and Engineering Science), and Anthony Blurton-Jones (Ontario Agriculture College).
All Board of Directors meetings are open to public attendance. The first meeting scheduled for the fall semester is set for 6:00 p.m. on Sept. 19.
This fall, the CSA will hold a by-election to fill vacancies on the Board. There are At-Large representative positions available for the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences (one), the College of Biological Sciences (one), the College of Management and Economics (two), the Ontario Agricultural College (one), the College of Physical and Engineering Sciences (one), and the Ontario Veterinary College (two). A nominations period will begin on Sept. 6 and end Sept. 19.
This year’s Executive consists of Academic and University Affairs Commissioner Deaglan McManus, Communications and Corporate Affairs Commissioner Drew Garvie, External Affairs Commissioner Dominica McPherson, Human Resources & Operations Commissioner Joshua Ofori-Darko, and Local Affairs Commissioner Matthew Pecore.
More than a reactive committee, the CSA is mandated to offer advocacy and services to its members. Past student initiatives have led to the CSA creating a universal bus pass that allows students to travel all throughout Guelph for a price included in their student fees, a health and dental plan that students have the option of opting out of, and a campus favourite, The Bullring coffee pub. The CSA also offers legal information and academic advice, and is responsible for widely accessed and supported campus organizations like The Foodbank, Meal Exchange, Safewalk, SHAC, The Bike Centre, thecannon.ca, and print and promotional services. Many of these organizations, as well as the CSA’s own Board of Directors offer volunteer opportunities to students.
The CSA even oversees the operations of about 100 accredited student clubs geared towards common cultural, religious and ethnic orientations, political initiatives, advocacy, niche interest groups, entertainment, hobbies, and more. A complete record of clubs currently accredited by the CSA is available on the CSA website.
Over the course of Orientation Week, the CSA holds several events including a Move-In Day Food Drive, a CSA Lunch, and a board game night. All offer great opportunities to meet with the members of the CSA in a less formal setting than the CSA’s Board of Directors meetings.