By Natasha Hermann and Farnia Fekri
On Nov. 5, the Ryerson Arts Society (RAS) succeeded in approving a $30 per-semester, per-student levy while the Ryerson Science Society (RSS) failed to pass a $22 levy in their own referendum.
RAS chair Marzia Riaz said she is relieved the referendum process is over and her group will be able to “start focusing on actual events, actual goals.”
The levy, which passed by three votes (220-217) will help the RAS give Faculty of Arts students academic conferences, grants, awards and more events.
“It means that we are going to be able to put on our events that we want to put on,” Riaz told The Eyeopener on Nov. 5. “It just means that we’ll be able to do so much more now and I’m so excited to bring all of this to students.”
Despite not getting their levy approved (245 NO, 199 YES), RSS President Ana Sofia Vargas Garza said the group will continue to function, as they have for three years.
The RSS will use other funding sources, she said, though it “will not have as much funding as we wanted but definitely the group will not stop operating.” The funding was supposed to not only contribute to operation of science society, but help support students with scholarship and group funding, she added.
Vargas Garza said she was not at all expecting that the levy wouldn’t pass and was extremely shocked when she found out, but attributes it to problems with the campaign and timing.
Riaz credited the fact that the RAS got their levy by a margin of only three votes to low student turnout in the referendum. According to the referendum proclamation, this organization will be similar to many other societies at Ryerson like engineering, commerce and communication and design.
Alexander Waddling, a student studying psychology at Ryerson voted yes to the RAS.
“I see a wealth of talent and a lack of resources or opportunities to make that talent grow,” he said. He believes that the society will be beneficial to the arts faculty and expects the mass of students to come together. He said is also looking forward to the talent that can inspire others and hopes projects find more support.
Serena Mola, third-year in Ryerson’s arts and contemporary studies, says she is annoyed when people have asked her what she will do with an arts degree. She hopes the RAS will help students become more confident in their degree choice.
“RAS will bring us opportunities that we might never stumble upon by ourselves,” she said. One RAS event coming up is the “Furthering Your Arts Education” on Nov. 23, when students can learn how to find a career.