Got out and voted

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AGM meets attendance goals

Martin Weaver
Contributor

The week leading up to the AGM looked grim.

No one was talking about it and it almost seemed like a dead topic on campus. Surprisingly, the University of Regina Students’ Union’s annual general meeting, held on Thursday, Feb. 10, didn’t go as badly as people may have predicted.

URSU president Kyle Addison, said that he was happy with what he saw. “I think the AGM went great. I was super excited when I went down to walk into the multi-purpose room. It was really awesome to see that kind of engagement and students that were interested in the [AGM].”

Addison added that unlike previous years, there was no problem in maintaining a quorum of 150 students. “We established quorum at 190. And most, if not all, of these students stayed at the AGM and attended until the very last motion”.

Sonia Stanger, a first-year arts student, is very engaged on campus. She was excited to see other students waiting in line to vote.

“It’s really important that students get involved and stay involved and seeing the turnout today and the passion that people seem to be exhibiting is really promising because student involvement is  key.”

She felt that students showed a clear message. “[Judging] by the incredible turnout today, student apathy isn’t as rampant as people would like to believe. Obviously, student involvement is something that we always need to work on and that always needs to be improving.”

Addison also agreed that the turnout showed something important.

“I think students always care about what’s going on and this year there are things going on that are engaging the students … leading up to the AGM I think there were a few people that felt that students weren’t engaged.”    

Some students, such as Brigid Mcnutt, a second year pre-journalism student, even felt that it was necessary to skip class in order to attend.

“I am here because I think this is something that affects everyone and it’s an opportunity to get involved and have your voice heard”

Bori Arrobo, a graduate student, showed up just to check things out. “I’m interested in knowing what the changes are being proposed. I think there’s one for the grad studies so I want to see what it’s about.” It’s not the first AGM that Arrobo has attended. He was optimistic about this year’s turnout.

“I’ve been here two or three times before, and it was never like this … I think everyone should have been aware unless you don’t come to class or are not on campus”.

Unfortunately, not everyone was aware. Days after the AGM, there were still many people who didn’t even know what it was.

“I don’t even know what that is. I would like to have a say in something like that and if I’m not aware that there’s a meeting happening then it’s kind of annoying really,” said Eric Geib, a second-year music student.

“It’s not being talked about enough I guess, not enough posters and stuff around, or they could send out an email or something,” he added

Addison isn’t surprised that some students weren’t aware.

“It’s tough to reach out to absolutely every student around campus, it’s always going to be that way. You can never effectively advertise to everybody.” He attributes much of this to the busy lives of students and also to their varying schedules.

He also admits it is the responsibility of on-campus organizations such as the students’ union and the campus paper to promote the AGM, and that students’ should take the time to vote on motions.

“I don’t think it’s the responsibility of a student to advertise for the event. However, I do think that it’s in their best interest and a little bit in their responsibility to attend an AGM and take part in the decision-making processes of the organization.”

Emma Payton, a second-year arts student, said that her busy schedule prevented her from attending. “I wanted to be there but I was out of town. I heard about it from a lot of people and a lot of people invited me to it”.

She said despite not being on campus much, she was aware of the meeting and credits much of this to social media. “I haven’t spent a lot of time at the university in the last few weeks but I have heard people talk about it … there was a lot of buzz on Facebook, actually.”

At the AGM, every motion carried except for limiting terms of office for URSU executives.

Addison wants to see this commitment follow through to next year. “The engagement levels from the students and our members were astronomical and we were thankful of that and if we can sort of foster that engagement and lead it into next year I think it would be an important aspect of next year’s AGM.”

So while this is a step in the right direction, URSU is hoping to maintain that sort of engagement and further push people to become involved.

Check out @the_carillon for our live-tweets of the event.

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