SSA Minutes Summary: January 11th, 2018

Science Students Association Council Meeting Summary: January 8th 2018

January 8th 2018 SSA Official Minutes:

In summary of the first council meeting of 2018, our vice president, Laura Chan, along with Behnam Bezaei addressed the official council budget. Laura Chan also briefed council of the funding requests received by the executive committee where council discussed and approved specific amounts for the specific groups and people. 

As a council, we also discussed updates from the senate along with from the UMSU meeting in December. The special events team briefed council on the upcoming social (March 2nd/2018), while Jordan Beck, Director of indigenous communications, briefed us on his upcoming event "Indigenous Celebration in Science". 

SSA Minutes Summary: July 31st, 2017

July 31st Official SSA Minutes:

Science Students Association Council Meeting Summary: July. 31st 2017

           In summary of the SSA council meeting, the executive committee reports the changing of our treasurer position, Benham Beizai now holds the title and responsibilities as treasurer. As a council, we also approved the funding requests of each Sehaj Pal Singh, and Mary Elaine Herrera, granting them $300.00.

           The selections committee is now looking at candidates for the position of “Director of Communications”, as Andrew, our previous appointed director was accepted into the faculty of pharmacy and therefore is no longer a member of the faculty of science or SSA.

           The president/vice report by Ryan Churchill and Laura Chan included discussion of renovations in the Parker building. This included the addition of a study space and new furniture/appliances. The bulk of the report however included the details of the September.5th/2017 science orientation day/event. Ryan and Laura outlined the plan for the day which in the following order will include a panel discussion, a scavenger hunt where there will be prizes for the top five teams, and a free BBQ lunch where there will be booths, beer gardens, a bouncy castle, a dunk tank, and multiple volunteers and SSA members working and willing to answer questions and greet the incoming freshmen. There was also discussion of the extension of, and addition of, new library hours. As of now, the front desk and upper floors will be off limits during these extended hours, however if things go well, this could change. The library will now be open until 8:00pm during the week, and will be open from 9:00am to 5:00pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Along with this, five days prior to exams, the library will be open 24 hours. The library has also allowed for the possibility of renting books/text items, along with the renting of study rooms. Lastly, the president/vice report included discussion of the “research open house” event to take place September.6th/17. Shady Rizk, along with SSA volunteers will be organizing and planning a day in which first and second year students will have the opportunity to meet with professors and listen to a tutorial from each of the many involved professors/areas of study; Chemistry, Biology, Biochemistry, etc..

            Victor Aroso, lounge programmer, also reports the option of allowing the SSA lounge to be used as a contingency accommodation if there were to be another power cut in University Centre during the summer games (July 31 – August 13). SSA agreed that this would be fine.

             The indigenous report by Jordan Beck included discussion of a potential advisor day to highlight the many options for indigenous students coming in from northern/any communities. The event will include presentations, one with a community representative and the other with Firelight group, where they will describe their approach to facilitating community-driven research projects. The event will also include a thirty minute panel discussion centering around the topic of “What community based research means in the context of a science faculty?” and “How can it fit within an existing research program? How can such partnerships emerge?”

            The special events committee report included discussion of enclosed beer gardens along with prices to obtain an enclosed space. There was also discussion of the details/forms/budget of the orientation day event, along with the idea of sponsors/acquiring sponsors in order to cover the food and beer costs. There are many steps to take in order to achieve success for this event, so all of SSA is encouraged to volunteer and help out in any way they can.

             UMSU representative Lisa Huang reports of the new app built by students called “Connexus”, which will allow and provide improved resources to students, along with help with accessibility to scholarships. SSA discussed promoting this app on the SSA website.

             UMSU also approved the new health and dental plan so you can opt down or out, along with providing higher coverage that is specific to your needs.

             Lastly, Mira Villegas representing the Senate is a volunteer with “Canadian Blood Donors”, and had the idea of working with the blood donors by possibly advertising for the blood donor group. SSA could plan an event where there would be a faculty wide donation, or possibly set up a booth at orientation with blood typing and DNA swabs. Mira will send out an email to Canadian blood donors to officialise the idea of their involvement in the form of a booth at orientation.

SSA Minutes Summary: June 5th, 2017

June 5th SSA Official Minutes:

Science Students Association Council Meeting Summary: June. 5th 2017

         In summary of our first council meeting of the 2017/2018 school year, we finalized our executive committee through the addition of Lisa Huang and Jordan Beck, motioned by Laura Chan, seconded by Ryan Churchill and passed. We also discussed the possibility of adding a new position to the council; communications programmer as our two candidates for director of communications were both incredibly strong. The responsibilities of this position will be outlined and proposed at our next meeting (July.3rd 2017). Tomi Adeleye-olusae was chosen as the chairperson for SSA, and the executive committee will be continuously updating the councilors on changes within the Science faculty.

         The major topics discussed throughout the council meeting were included in the President (Vice) Report by Ryan Churchill and Laura Chan, as they met with the faculty of Science and discussed a multitude of relevant changes and ideas. SSA will be covering the costs of the new courtyard renovation which will include the removal of the solar panel along with new picnic tables and student landscapers. There was also talk of the idea of a 24/7 lounge becoming a reality, however Ryan Churchill and Laura Chan will continue to meet with the science deans and security heads to ensure that an emergency/safety plan is in place. There was also discussion of installing a utensil dispenser in the lounge along with ordering new furniture/donating the lounges old furniture. The referendum fund of SSA will be covering most of these costs, especially the courtyard renovation which will take approximately $400,000.00 out of our given $500,000. Another meeting attended by our chair was in regard to the mentorship program in place at the U of M. Out of the 202 attendees, 92 of them were science students, and therefore, SSA has agreed to advertise for this program, along with spread the word and opportunities that come with being a part of such a program. As a council, we discussed our terms and conditions pertaining to the U1 faculty/council that will be disclosed at a later date. Ryan and Laura also proposed a specific science orientation come September. Science orientation will take place on September. 5th 2017, 8:30 am-2:30 pm with 500 direct entry science students. We will be offering them a full day of activities, including the possibility of a BBQ, food and beer, social, photo scavenger hunt, bouncy castle, panel discussion, SWAG, a photo-booth, and prizes. We discussed the need for a budget for this event, as we plan on advertising and handing out t-shirts and/or land-yards. Ryan Churchill, Laura Chan, Karan Sharma, and Lisa Huang all attended and discussed life as a science student at the Head-start Presentations, which would pose as a layout as to how we would go about our panel discussions during science orientation day. The opportunity to be a part of the career services photoshoot was extended to SSA members, with many of them volunteering to appear on the U of M website/information packages. Next, we discussed the reimbursement of councilors of hoodie money as we agreed we would be using the hoodies for advertising, and as a tool to identify councilors at events. A motion was out forward to reimburse councilors 50% of the original cost by Karan Sharma, seconded by Shady Ritz, passing the motion. Under this same umbrella of using SSA money for councilors specifically, we agreed to hold 2 bonding activities covered by SSA, one each semester as our specific budget is approximately $5000.00. As a council, we decided to agree to a two year contract and partnership with prep 101 in return for advertising and help with organization of prep 101 seminars. Lastly, we decided to put forward an Instagram photo contest directed to U of M science students where we will choose two winners who will each receive a $50.00 U of M bookstore gift-card; Ryan moved this idea, all executive members seconded, therefore passing the motion.

            In regards to the topics discussed within the committee of student services, we plan on changing locker plans/location, as we may allot certain locker spaces to U1 students. We also discussed the idea of using online forms along with online payment when dealing with locker placement and fees.

            In regards to the topics included in the indigenous report by Jordan Beck, he mentioned the possibility of having indigenous speakers in the field of medicine or genetics present to students, along with his involvement of the Biology 1020 video lectures with Joey Stacey, and lastly, his presence on the U of M Aboriginal Students Association, the U of M Indigenous Achievements Committee, and the Faculty of Science Planning Committee.

            The UMSU representatives, Karan Sharma and Lisa Huang report that UMFM will advertise for SSA, hook us up with bands, and entertain the idea of coffee houses. UMSU also changed their health and dental package to be more flexible, adding opt down options. UMSU introduced new scholarships, new U-passes in the form of “Peggo Cards” without the $5.00 fee of the actual card, and passed motion 380, 359, and the availability of donors and awards. Karan and Lisa also discussed the idea of having 10 fancier meals during council meetings as Degrees partnered with us in giving a great deal for food (the same discount as the UMSU council). As a council, we agree on these terms and decide to have 10 meals catered through degrees and pass a motion to approve our food budget for the year to be $2000.00, including degrees and our pizza meals at council meetings.

              Abrar Latif reports that nominations for positions of specific executive heads within the senate were appointed.  Mira Villegas will head the committee of curricular and course changes, Carly Mastromonaco will head the committee of appeals, while Abrar Latif will head libraries. Requirements for pharmacy are changing; earning your Pharm D is now required. The university is changing policies to match university requirements across Canada. This change will be effective beginning 2018/2019 as it is a costly change with the creation of new space/lecture halls, along with the acquisitions of new professors. There is also a new program coming to U of M, and will be the first of its kind in Canada, masters of Human Rights. Along with this new addition, U of M is planning on expanding the statistics program, allowing students to major in statistics and create a degree plan out of statistics classes. There will be options in both advanced and remedial stats, plus the addition of labs in statistics courses.

             Where new business is concerned, treasurer Yaweh Villanueva provides a budget outline for SSA for the 2017/2018 school year. Along with proposing our yearly council budget, Yaweh discloses that elective members must reach a final draft of expenses/distribution of the budget and vote on the finalized copy within the following summer meetings. As a council, we will have to plan our events first, and then bring our proposed budgets to Yaweh Villanueva where he can adjust our finalized budget to allow for funding possibilities to the multiple committees. Yaweh will also meet with Ron about approving and confirming the budget of SSA, which we believe to be above $100,000, covering our committees/student involvement costs.