Student senator Haley MacIsaac was elected interim vice-president advocacy in Madi Banks’ absence at this week’s Student Union council meeting.
Last week it was announced that Madi Banks the UNBSU’s vice-president advocacy, was taking a leave of absence and that an interim vice-president advocacy would be elected from current councillors and senators.
Three candidates applied for the vacant vice-president advocacy position: councillors Jackie Toner and Perry Dykens and senator MacIsaac. During the week, all three were approved by the Student Union’s ad hoc committee. Their letters of intent and summaries of their qualifications were presented during the council meeting prior to the vote.
The vote was a preferential vote, where members would vote in order of preference, 1-3, in case one candidate was not able to get 50 per cent of the vote, in which case the votes for second would become applicable. However, MacIsaac secured over 50% of the vote and was elected interim Vice-President Advocacy.
MacIsaac’s letter of intent, summary and brief speech, presented her ideas of establishing bilingual mental health services, redefining gender stereotype, increasing engagement of students within the Fredericton community, increasing awareness around events and volunteer opportunities within the city and increasing awareness of the councillors’ roles.
MacIsaac says she’s looking forward to working collaboratively with the current executive council, and plans on furthering Banks’ objectives.
“There can be difficulty during transition, but I’m really looking forward to working towards a holistic approach and creating a shared vision with what has already been completed,” MacIsaac said. “I’m really looking forward to working with the whole team.”
Student Sustainability Fund pitched to Council
Sustainability Officer Emma MacDonald and Sustainability Coordinator Jill Pelkey from UNB Sustainability presented to council their idea of creating a Student Sustainability Fund.
The goal of the fund is to create a source of finances for students to take on sustainability initiatives, such as educational outreach, conferences and internships.
The fund would draw its resources from a proposed $1.50 increase in the Student Union fee, which would create approximately $7,000 each semester. If approved by the Student Union, the revenue from this fee would then be dependant on student opinion obtained through a plebiscite, a poll that students would be able to vote on.
MacDonald says that other universities have implemented a funding method similar to their proposal across the country.
The presentation listed the campus community garden, the UNB Water Project that is working to provide clean water in Indigenous communities and the Enactus Composting Project as examples of student groups and initiatives that could benefit from the fund.
MacDonald and Pelkey proposed a three-stream application process based on the estimated cost of the project where applications are approved or denied by a Review Committee composed of UNBSU representatives, UNB Sustainability staff and interested faculty.
Councillor Abram Lutes expressed his concerns that student representatives wouldn’t have final say in the uses of a fund that is provided by the Student Union fee.
In response, Pelkey said that their presentation was a draft, and not necessarily how the process would be moving forward.
“We’ve been working on sustainability related projects on this campus for three years; we know what works and we know what barriers exist, so we want to offer that expertise and be able to collaborate and create really strong partnerships in that way,” said Pelkey.
Council voted in favour of the proposition and numerous councillors created an ad hoc—task specific—committee at the end of the meeting to review the pitched process.
Disclosure: The Brunswickan would like to point out that our own news editor, Emma MacDonald, was one of the individuals presenting the Student Sustainability Fund. For this reason, MacDonald did not oversee reporter Erin Sawden in her coverage of this topic.