By Josh Bailie
Alright, froshies, time to get political.
Around here we have a thing called the Ryerson Students’ Union (the RSU). It’s a lot like any student administration you would have had in high school.
The big difference is that its four executives actually get paid — $26,000 a year to be exact. But that’s because they do a whole lot more than decorate the gym for awkward school dances. Here’s the rundown:
The Executive :
President: Muhammad Ali Jabbar
Jabbar is the general overseer of operations. He is the main spokesperson, the final decision-maker — basically the RSU’s head honcho.
His main priority this year is to reinstate some of his old plans from when he was president in 2005-06. This includes putting money back into the No Means No campaign against date rape and dating violence (it was cut entirely last year).
His advice to froshies is to use the discounts from places like the Used Book Room and CopyRITE.
There are also discounted movie passes at the member services office in the Student Campus Centre (SCC).
VP finance and services: Toby Whitfield
Whitfield is the union’s king of cash, the mack-daddy of money, the proverbial bling-blinger — in other words, he helps set-up the union’s operating budget and makes sure that it’s balanced.
Whitfield is also responsible for overseeing services like the health and dental plan, your discounted Metropass and community service groups like CopyRITE.
To avoid the Metropass line that has a tendancy to snake all the way through the SCC, he advises you to buy your pass when they go on sale on the 20th of each month.
VP education: Rebecca Rose
As VP education, Rose is a student advocate, which means she lobbies the Ryerson administration and the provincial government so those at the top don’t screw us over.
She’s working to reduce tuition fees, promote sustainability, and get a cheaper universal Metropass that would be included in tuition.
She also deals with your safety and grades. So sit down and have a chat with her if something about the school feels dangerous, or if Ryerson decides to expel you for something you did on Facebook.
VP student life and events: Sid Naidu
Naidu is the one behind your orientation — including the parade and picnic. He’s also in charge of student groups and events at the Ram in the Rye.
He’s the one to go to for RSU funding for that crazy student group you’ve dreamt up or if you want to have a block party.
These are the four RSU executives who are responsible for the union’s day-to-day operations. They were elected in January, took office on May 1st and you’re stuck with them until April 30th of next year.
To talk to them, see what’s going on or just get some free condoms, you can visit the RSU on the third floor of the Student Campus Centre — you know, the big glass building.
That’s us. Yeah, democracy means we need to do a bit of work too. It appears that we’re at the bottom of the chain, but we’re really the reason everything exists. We run for positions, elect candidates, go to the meetings (there’s good free food), join student groups, give feedback, and pay the RSU around $110 to do this every year.
The RSU is a member of the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) which is a nationwide collection of over 80 university and college student unions.
Its job is power in numbers. For about $12 each, it bonds students together as a single group to make lobbying for things like lower tuition more effective and helps student unions provide services like work abroad programs and discount cards.
Your link to the CFS is Rebecca Rose. She goes to the meetings and you can go to her if you have any related concerns.
There you have it, newbies, all the political student know-how you’ll ever need at your fingertips.