We’ve got a lot of ideas. Looking for a summary?
Strengthening the Student Voice!
As our student union, Feds should be accessible to all students. We to lower barriers to entry and make your student union easier to participate in.
Executive Office Hours
Revamping Exec Office Hours to occur in different faculty buildings (and on satellite campuses) each week. Build more opportunities for Executive and Councillor engagement with students by overhauling staffing structure to better support a “visible Executive team”.
Access to General Meetings
Reforming General Meetings to be less technical, more accessible to co-op, part-time, and off campus students.
As a University with over 20% co-op students, 3 satellite campuses, and hundreds of part-time employed students Feds needs to engage all students.
Allowing co-op, part-time, and satellite campus students to more easily apply to be on the Board of Directors.
Increasing service provision to satellite campuses.
Online committee nominations so any student can participate in decision-making.
Improving satellite campus experience by:
Increasing ease of access to satellite campuses through the University and Feds Bus services. Working to increase inter-regional transit support for Stratford Campus by working with the Kitchener-Waterloo Region and Perth County.
Ensuring services and resources provided by Feds and the University are equally accessible across multiple campuses.
Marketing in Major Language Demographics
We will work to market Feds and University information, websites, and materials in the major languages on campus. To do this we will hire Part-Time student staff to support translation and encourage the University to increase multi-lingual support themselves.
Co-op Location Housing/Rental Database
We will work with Off Campus Community (OCC), Co-op Connection, Rez, and the CECA/CEE to create a database of landlords and rental locations in cities with many regular co-op opportunities. This provides a vetted tool to help co-op students find housing in cities they aren’t familiar with, reducing the risk of being taken advantage of.
Feds should be clear to students. We subscribe to the principle that what you say is as important as how you say it; that's why we intend to increase our dialogue with the student body to inform policy making and to communicate our decisions to you.
Clear and concise budgets & infographics
Releasing a clear budget is essential, but explaining budgets in breakdown infographics is important to ensure students know (without effort on their part) how their money is spent.
Our Team members regularly released updates in advertisement or infographic form highlighting what is being debated on by Council and the Board of Directors and polling students on important issues.
This year we helped create a Students’ Council twitter page to cover Council meetings and Officers.
Feds Council & Executive updates in Imprint
Using full page ads in Imprint to update on what Executives and Council have done the past months and what's coming up as well as outline where Executives are on their campaign promises and goals. Included in this we advocate for progress and update bulletin boards in major campus student hubs (i.e. SLC, STC, RCH, etc) to keep you appraised of what your student union is doing!
Transparent Commercial Operations
Students have a right to know how commercial operations, operated as services to students, are doing. Increasing public information is a must! We will work with the Board of Directors to make all commercial operations budget public.
Regular Town Hall meetings
We will hold regular Town Hall meetings to inform students about what is happening in Feds and across the University in a one-on-one way. We will engage UW Administration to join these discussions and directly hear from students! Q&A discussions puts a face to a problem. We want to introduce regular town halls — including Societies — to give students a chance to meet and discuss problems with us and provide us the opportunity to explain where we are in addressing their concerns.
Transparency & Accountability
Members of our team already sit on the Federation of Students Budget & Appropriations Committee overseeing the finances of the organization. We are working on implementing changes to make Feds even more responsible with use of our student fees:
Streamlining the public budget
The Feds budget is huge and spread over many portfolios, departments, and initiatives and has public and confidential components. Working with the Budget & Appropriations Committee we will simply our budget to increase transparency and accessibility of our finances to members.
We have led the way in pushing for service need- and use-based metrics to inform the budget development process to empower services with the resources they need to serve you. Currently we have only vague estimates on use of services and business operations run by the student union. Going forward, we will make sure the Budget & Appropriations Committee will be working with WatCard to implement tap for use-based services/resources provided by your fees and include consideration for the unique and essential need-based or peer-to-peer support services Feds offers. These metrics provide show how effectively we provide services you actually want to use.
We will negotiate more formalized joint-funding arrangements for student-run services with the University. This will help reduce financial risks to services under a potential opt-out student union fee structure planned by the Provincial Government. It will also ensure services have greater resources to provide for students on campus.
Activity-based budgeting for staff salaries
As the sole majority expense in the budget, we have an obligation to explore new ways to salary our full time staff paid by your fees. This mechanism ensures that salaries are tied to activities approved by your student representatives that actually go to use for you!
Increased Student Management & opportunities in Feds
Increasing student hiring in Feds Commercial Operations, Governance, Services, and Advocacy portfolios will be a priority. We will strive to provide greater part-time or co-op/full-time job opportunities for Students to be part of management of the Federation of Students’ commercial operations. Experiences like this help students gain valuable business acumen and management experience.
We will also push for no new Full-Time staff without proving that students can’t doing it first. This means testing out more co-op and part-time roles in Feds and maybe offering similar support to Societies if they want to try it as well.
Structuring a partial opt-out Feds fee
Given the decision by the Government of Ontario to implement opt-out ancillary fees, we will restructure the Feds fee to be partially opt-out while protecting essential functions.
Demonstrating "value of money"
Last year we wrote and implemented a Value-for-Money Policy ensuring new Request For Proposals (RFPs) are solicited for top level Feds contractors that are required for effective governance and CRA accounting compliance. This policy requires ongoing services (like an auditor or general counsel) to be re-assessed on a semi-regular basis. We will review and publish a report on Value-for-Money in Feds.
Oversight and assessment of University services
The Student Services Advisory Committee’s (SSAC) mandatory non-refundable services fee needs greater oversight and a deep-dive review. We will work with your elected representatives on Students’ Council to establish Feds policy requiring regular briefings on SSAC's activities, similar to those of the Graduate Student Association. Additionally, through Council Committees, we intend to make sure students conduct routine and independent assessments of undergraduate student services that are funded by SSAC. This review will feed directly into the development of long-term strategies & principles for student service funding and development. This is particularly essential because the SSAC is overworked and lacks the time to explore strategic options, that show students good value for the student dollar and setting of long-term goals that correspond with student interests.
Endowment Funds on campus have little control with where their money is invested by the University’s Treasurer and Board of Governors. We will work to separate these funds from the University’s regular investments so each Faculty’s endowment funds have greater control over where their money goes!
We will also push for greater transparency and marketing of the endowment funds so you know what your money is being spent on.
Community Building, Mental Health, & Wellness
We hope to create a deeper sense of community and belonging at Waterloo!
Prioritizing community building events and festivals to provide student constructive opportunities for relaxation.
Supporting Student Societies
Recognizing that an individual can be a part of many communities. Equipping faculty-level and program societies with the resources to expand on their visibility and efficacy within their spheres of influence. Working towards both Faculty and broader UW pride and community.
Increased Clubs Funding
Being part of a team is an incredibly enriching experience. Students on campus are part of many clubs that offer an escape from academic rigor and an opportunity to enjoy a social atmosphere. We propose a 33% increase in clubs funding so clubs can do more for their members. To the best of our ability, we will look to do this without increasing your student fees.
Looking to reassess and potentially renegotiate agreements with the University regarding Fed Hall to increase student access, reduce costs of booking, and host concerts and other events in the venue space that can be enjoyed by the student community.
Empowering P2p and Equity-Seeking Services
We will continue to support and empower Equity and Peer-to-Peer support services by ensuring they have the autonomy and resources to operate. Some students rely heavily on Feds support services and it’s essential to keep these services strong!
Fostering a Sense of Campus Community
Start of Fall Term
Lobbying the University to fix the start date for term so that it does not float with Labour Day. This will allow better planning for the entire Fall term and may permit returning Orientation to a full week while better integrating international orientation.
Revamping Mentorship programs
Review and consolidate the various 1st year mentorship and support programs in a manner similar to McMaster Student Union’s Spark program to supplement O-Week’s current reduced length and guide students through their 1st terms on campus.
Aligning Outcomes with Intention
We want to remove unnecessary red tape: outright banning by the University of certain activities that have risks associated with them often leads to these activities happening under the table, where appropriate oversight and harm-reduction aren’t considered.
O-Week’s lack of higher energy activities (such as concerts and night-life) has lead to students looking elsewhere have these experiences. Outside organizations such as “Frosh Circus” have noticed this demand and have stepped in to fill the niche, however these organizations often fail in due diligence to prevent sexual assault, drug abuse and related safety concerns.
We believe Waterloo should be supportive environment for wellness and mental health. By increasing awareness of the values of general health and available resources, we hope to build a safer and healthier campus community.
Continuing to oversee and implement PAC-SMH recommendations to ensure we are meeting needs of students.
Lobbying for mandatory Question, Persuade, Refer training for University Faculty and Staff. We also aim to increase availability of QPR training for students on campus so we can support one another better.
Lobbying the Provincial government to increase geographic accessibility of mental health services in the Kitchener-Waterloo Region and nearer to University campuses.
Creating a better record of and improving access to mental health resources for students off-campus.
Minimizing students falling through the cracks in the Counseling Services and developing strategies to minimize students getting lost in the system.
Working with UW to hire more Counsellors with linguistic and cultural backgrounds that mirror campus demographics. International student consultations have pointed to a disconnect between students on our campus who speak English as a native language using Counseling resources and students who have learned or are learning English. Linguistic and cultural barriers prohibit students getting the support they need.
Mental Health & Wellness
Provide opportunities for expanding green campus initiatives by working with the Sustainable Campus Initiative and UW Food Services to expand campus garden and farm spaces.
Re-use greenhouse north of campus from UWFS with SCI.
Look into building a permanent Feds-run zero-waste supply store for students or a second hand store that expands on SCI’s current Clothing Swap!
Expand the Farmers and Second-hand market in the SLC for students, including hosting a St. Jacob’s-style opportunity.
We helped adopted value-for-money policies which included whole-life use and life cycle cost assessments to ensure better sustainable practices. We will work to make sure all Feds & Societies large procurements for students include sustainability disclosures from suppliers.
We will conduct a full review of the environmental practices of Feds and the Societies to create a sustainability report and set improvement benchmarks that align with or exceed University environmental strategic targets.
We will reduce waste and remove plastic from Feds run businesses.
Remove boxed water and offer discounted reusable bottles to students and allow sale of transparent plastic bottles during the exam period.
Remove all styrofoam, minimize plastic, and collect organics for composting on campus.
Reduce food waste across campus (including in residence) by working with the KW Regional Health and Safety Inspection Office to permit creating a student soup kitchen for excess food from Feds and UWFS businesses.
SLC Food Court
Most students in SLC’s food court get food and stay for some time, but a good portion of students also want take-out. we want to expand take-out/Grab-and-Go options while introducing reusable metal cutlery and a trays for students staying to eat.
Expansion of the Eco-Container Program
We will work with UW Food Services and the Societies to expand the existing Eco-Container Program where students can purchase a reusable container for $5 and receive a 20¢ discount each time it is used. Currently UW Food Services offers the program in CMH, REV, and V1, but we are looking to expand it all over campus and continue the practice of container swap-out where you can exchange your used container for a token to get a clean container next time! For more information, visit the Food Services website. (Thanks /u/ElegantRough for this suggestion!)
Reduce Waste & remove Plastic
Academics, Co-op, and University Affairs
Better advertise and expand the Ginny Lee Memorial Emergency Loan Fund program during the current transition to the new tuition framework to help students in financial need.
Expansion of the fund to include an expense account for support of housing and necessary expenses.
Emergency Financial Assistance
We have been strong advocates for greater legal support for students! Students have a right to protection from exploitative work places, contract violation by co-op employers, predatory property management corporations & landlords, and academic grievances. We support the Feds Legal Protection Service referendum!
Feds has excellent marketing resources that run information campaigns during the Fall term on the Standardized Lease Template. We will work with faculty Student Societies to extend this information campaign beyond SLC and Feds media through Society channels. We will make sure marketing materials highlight examples of predatory tactics employed by landlords and emphasize your rights as a tenant!
We look into creating a "UW Flow" type website for rating off-campus housing, tenancy corporations, and landlords to increase awareness about predatory agents. This idea presents some considerable liability and will need to be vetted by legal counsel first, but we hope a housing data base like this will offer a simple to use, unique, and valuable tool for students (thanks /u/twofactorial for the suggestion).
Legal Protection & Addressing Predatory landlords.
We have and continue to be strong advocates for a responsible and accountable Co-op Department. Over the past two years we have served on and worked with the Co-op Department on the Student Advisory Panel and Co-op Student Council (CSC) to address student concerns and provide feedback to the Co-operative and Experiential Education department (CEE/CECA).
Accountable Fee Adjustment Process
In this role we have overseen the Feds-CEE Deep Dive and establish more evidence-driven and better communicated fee adjustment procedures. We will work with the outgoing executive and the co-op department to make sure the fee adjustment process developed by the Co-op Fee Deep Dive Team remains a permanent process in place beyond this year.
Working to improve non-STEM co-op options
A constant source of frustration and ire among students in non-STEM fields that we’ve consulted is the lack of reasonable and useful job options for non-STEM programs. We will work with CEE/CECA to increase the number of job postings relevant to academic fields.
We will also work to expand the new flexible co-op requirements to allow students who would rather skip a co-op term or to work other than the available job-postings to do so, rather than take a job out of desperation or needs to fulfill co-op requirements.
Rate your Advisor
We believe strongly that the quality of service is essential to an organization whose role is customer (student) service and advising. In fact, we have lobbied for salary raises and bonuses to be tied to performance evaluations (a rate-my-adviser system), similarly to how e-valuate is used by the University for academic purposes.
We will work with the University to measure student advisory quality, expectations on response time, and level of support. We aim to use these metrics to set performance benchmarks a “rate-my-advisor” type system.
Simplifying Work Term Reports
Work Term Reports requirements need to be simplified and need to have a value. A greater purpose for the reports with clear and accessible information is a must!
Better Feedback Channels
We believe in your right to anonymity and will be your voice when you want to raise concerns or complaints. Through CSC members of our Team have advocated for anonymous reporting last year, which was implemented by the Co-op Student Experience Manager, Franco Solimano.
Safety on Job Sites
Building on the Engineering Society’s work so far, we will lobby for stronger protections for student safety on the job. We will work with CEE, Societies, and employers to clarify roles and responsibilities of students, employers, and the University. We will ensure resources and information about workplace safety is available to student employees. And we will work with co-op advisors to check that workplaces are in compliance with OSHA requirements and Ministry of Labour regulations.
Right to Know your Compensation
Knowing compensation and benefits for work performed is a reasonable expectation in work. Under current co-op rules, students don’t always have easy access to this information. We will lobby the University and co-op department to protect students’ rights and allow you to search jobs by wage and benefits.
Furthermore we believe financial impediments to work shouldn't limit student potential and that barriers to protection from such conditions should not be erected. We will work closely with the CSC to explore increasing the ease of dropping job offers due for financial reasons.
Waterloo is exceptional for a number of reasons, but our international collaboration and engagement is bar none! International students make up a fifth of our campus and have unique academic, legal/immigration, and work challenges.
Permanent residency (PR)
Retaining talent is important to Waterloo, and it’s important to the government. That’s why we aim to prioritize lobbying in Ottawa to revamp the current permanent residence eligibility requirements (under the Canada Experience Class Express Entry program) enabling international students to count co-op terms, off campus work experiences, and local residency during their time at Waterloo toward their PR Status!
We will push for more communication between Ontario’s Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (CIC) Canada to reduce barriers for international students in a variety of residence, tax, and work-related fields!
Greater ICSN-SSO Collaboration
We will work with the Student Success Office (SSO) to increase collaboration with the International and Canadian Student Network (ICSN), to make sure international students have the resources necessary to excel at Waterloo.
Lobbying for an International Student Tuition framework
Naturally, international students bear the brunt of many University revenue-generating initiatives. While tuition is expected to be hire for international students, we will work with OUSA to lobby the Provincial Government for an International Tuition Rate Framework.
This is incredibly important considering the recent announcement to lower tuition rates by 10% for domestic students. That cut requires the University needs to generate an additional ≈ $52M to support existing costs, this likely means hiked international tuition rates in the near future.
We will use the student voice and vote on the UW Senate Finance Committee and Board of Governors to minimize the impact on international student tuition by reducing middle management and administrative staff, and consolidating redundant services or offices between Faculties.
We will also push for greater need- and performance-based scholarships for international students seeking financial assistance
Supporting International Students
We will expand the Centre for Academic Policy Support (CAPS) into a full Feds Service with all the resources necessary to provide students support navigating academic policies.
As a service, we will keep CAPS accountable to the Vice President Education and the Academic Affairs Commissioner while training volunteers and coordinators to assist fellow Waterloo undergraduates with filing petitions, grievances and appeals.
Academic Policy Support
Increasing undergraduate research funding and opportunities is essential. Waterloo students from all faculties and campuses would benefit from increased opportunities in labs and research environments on campus. But to do this, students need reasonable funding.
Federal Research Grants
We will work to convince the Federal Government of the value of expanded and well financed research opportunities for STEM students through NSERC.
We will advocate for development of similar opportunities to be created to support research in the Arts.
Waterloo First Term Co-op Options
We will work with Student Societies, the Faculties, and the University to expand existing first term co-op support programs enabling more students to conduct research with professors on campus, gaining valuable experience. We will also work with the co-op department to see if similar possibilities can exist for non-co-op students through Edge or similar programs.
Where is available study space on campus? That’s a question we all ask all the time (especially during finals). Portal handles group study spaces decently, but expanding this program so students can find available study space on our campus is essential! We will work with SSO and other stakeholders to help map out available study locations.
Class G Policies are “University policies that concern the use of buildings, grounds and physical plant, the conduct of persons (students, staff, faculty and visitors) on University premises, and other matters of a general nature…”
This vague and very broad definition encompasses policies regarding student discipline, alcohol use and smoking, accessibility, appeals and grievances, and most recently freedom of expression and sexual violence response and prevention. The initiation, development, and approval process for Class G policies is singularly the President of the University. The President has the power to unilaterally initiate, refer, and approve all Class G policies.
Restricting Class G Policy USe
Because no policy classification exists for matters pertaining to student affairs or those matters that impact students there is minimal consultation and consideration given to students in policy development. While the University' Secretariat has improved drastically in referral of policies to undergraduate committees for review before approval, student input is often not a priority in policy development.
While Class G Policies have a place, their easy of approval has led to abuse and overuse. We will use student representation on the Board of Governors to reclaim or more reasonably restrict authority delegated to University Officers, such as the President, in development of these policies. We will push for limits on the use of Class G Policies and move to establish a student review and consultation framework for any matters that impacting undergraduate students.
New Policy Framework
We will lobby the Board of Governors for a new policy classification dedicated to policies affecting undergraduate and graduate students. We will work to structure this class of policies to require consultation with student leadership and students-at-large to bring accountability to University decision-making.
Class G Policies
The Federation of Students is only as strong as the engaged students who empower it. We want to strengthen student involvement in Feds governance!
Student Societies are your first level of representation and student government and help keep Feds on track. We want to expand the role of Student Societies in Feds strengthen accountability to societies so that all faculties feel heard and supported.
Involve Student Societies
Thank you to all our current colleagues in Council, UW Senate, and Alumni who helped flesh out our campaign goals!