Ryan Deshpande, vice president (Education), acts as a voting member of the Student Representative Assembly and Executive Board and as an ex-officio member of all other McMaster Students Union committees. He is also responsible for chairing the Academic Affairs Council, developing external lobbying strategies and spearheading MSU policy concerning municipal, provincial and federal politics.
Deshpande’s year plan emphasized the need for improvements to McMaster’s exam schedule policies and increased campus accessibility for students with disabilities. Deshpande also proposed sexual violence prevention training for students and the creation of a syllabus repository for undergraduate courses.
Over the last few months, Deshpande has laid the necessary groundwork, establishing numerous committees and working to ensure that sexual violence prevention is an Ontario University Students’ Alliance priority.
While successful on some fronts, many of Deshpande’s ambitious plans hinge on McMaster’s willingness to adopt them.
“Exam schedule changes will hopefully happen this year, as I am putting forward recommendations as the university reviews their policy this summer. The syllabus repository will require a coordinated effort across all faculties, though hopefully by the end of this year there will be something created that can later be filled,” said Deshpande.
Deshpande’s platform also consists of detailed municipal, provincial and federal advocacy plans. Some of these include increasing the MSU’s presence at Hamilton city council meetings, introducing landlord rating and licensing systems for off-campus students, supporting OUSA advocacy and lobbying the government to remove the two per cent funding cap on the Post-Secondary Student Support Program for Indigenous students. Deshpande has also started writing OUSA’s Indigenous Students policy and collaborating with a federal advocacy group that lobbies on behalf of undergraduate students’ needs.
Daniel Tuba D’Souza
Daniel “Tuba” D’Souza, vice president (Finance), is responsible for overseeing the MSU’s finance department. His role entails budgeting, providing advisory services to business units, service units, the board of directors, Executive Board, and the SRA, chairing the Silhouette Board of Publication and developing initiatives that improve the MSU’s fiscal status quo.
In his year plan, D’Souza proposed the creation of a new TwelvEighty, which would offer students affordable gourmet food and specialty beverages.
After receiving a capital allocation from the SRA and fast-tracking the logistics of the project, over the last few months, D’Souza was able to implement his most ambitious platform point. While developing his proposal, D’Souza noted the old TwelvEighty’s decline in food sales and low club night attendance.
To boost sales, D’Souza will be implementing an online ordering system wherein students can pay via phone and pick up food on the way to class. To increase club night attendance, D’Souza proposed that club nights be limited to popular dates and each club night be given a unique theme.
The new TwelvEighty, with the addition of a café and study spot, is expected to open towards the end of October.
“For the first time ever we will be having five large concerts in the month of September and have completely revamped our club nights with a change in frequency, change in music and the addition of themes,” said D’Souza.
Two other projects at the forefront of D’Souza’s agenda include a large-scale consultation plan for the new Student Activity Building, plus a “McMaster Student Economic Engagement Strategy” aimed at outlining the ways in which the MSU plans to engage students in experimental and professional development opportunities.
As MSU vice president (Administration), Preethi Anbalagan is responsible for serving as the Vice-Chair of the Executive Board, Deputy Speaker of the SRA and voting member of the SRA and Executive Board, bridging the gap between the SRA, the Executive Board, and part-time managers and ensuring that adequate training is provided to PTMs and committee chairs.
In her year plan, Anbalagan emphasized improvements to SRA, PTM and associate-vice president support and training. She also stressed the importance of the creation of an employment equity statement and better navigation of human resources issues.
For Welcome Week, Anbalagan promised to strategically plan themes, expand bystander intervention training to a larger student audience, run pre-Welcome Week events in areas of high commuter population for off-campus students and integrate the SRA and other campus services into Welcome Week.
This summer, Anbalagan invested a generous amount of time into training over 50 paid employees and preparing for Welcome Week.
“Now overseeing our strategic themes, I’ve spent quite a bit of time event-planning and connecting with campus and off-campus partners to coordinate and plan unique events and messaging that fall within the realm of mental health, sexual violence prevention and response and alcohol awareness,” said Anbalagan.
As the MSU’s President, Ibe is the primary spokesperson for the student union. He chairs the Executive Board, board of directors and the Presidents’ Council, serves as an active voting member of the SRA and the Executive Board and represents the MSU to McMaster, Hamilton and government organizations.
In his 2017-2018 year plan, Ibe highlighted 11 key objectives; the first consisted of a strategy to ensure that MSU’s interests are aligned with those of its student constituency. His other primary objectives showcased the need for improvements to textbook affordability, the off-campus experience, food delivery, student communities, partnerships between student societies and the wellness centre, campus accessibility for students with mobility restrictions and Wi-Fi access on campus.
“I am proud to have played a significant role in ensuring improvements to wireless services are student centred and more student input is provided through the UTS governing board and student satisfaction surveys,” said Ibe.
This summer, communicating with the Student Wellness Centre and The Student Wellness and Education Lower Lounge, Ibe has been working to implement the McMaster caring communities network and localize health and wellness service to student communities. His food delivery program, which will allow students to order affordable food to their student houses, is expected to be in full force as of September.
While meeting with deans and associate deans, Ibe was able to discuss affordable courseware, early adoption of course materials, open educational resources and the off-campus experience.
“There is a broad consensus from all parties that improving support for off-campus and international students are overdue,” said Ibe.