With the new school year comes a good old-fashioned shake up. The MSU has launched two new services, Maccess and Macademics, as well as restructured the First Year Council to make up for the void left by the disbandment of the Inter-Residence Council.

The two new services fill different roles on campus, Maccess focusing on accessibility and Macademics on education initiatives and advocacy work.

Maccess aims to support students with disabilities by offering non-medical, non-administrative support service on campus, as well as advocating for their needs and creating a sense of community for students with disabilities. Some of these alternatives take the form of community programming, advocacy and the creation of the Maccess safe space.

The Maccess space will mirror the Women and Gender Equity Network’s safe space model of having peer support volunteers on shift to support any students who come in and will also offer accommodations for those who may not feel comfortable going to the space. The space will be on the second floor of the McMaster University Student Centre, room 202, where the Student Health Education Centre used to be.

“Some of the things that we’re doing that goes above and beyond would be our advocacy work, so we’re partnering with students to help them navigate university. We’re also going to be advocating for a Disabilities Studies minor on campus,” said Alex Wilson, the Maccess coordinator.

Macademics was also officially launched this fall and focuses on education initiatives and advocacy on campus. The project was the brainchild of Blake Oliver, the current MSU vice president (Education), who included it on her platform when she ran for her position.

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Old education initiatives, most notably the course wiki, or the course database, will be taken under the wing of Macademics to handle.

“What I like the most about [Macademics] is that it is the first space the MSU has had that focuses solely on quality of education and pedagogy. For a lot of students, that is their main post-secondary issue,” said Oliver in a July interview.

Macademics is the first service to specifically focus on the quality of education McMaster students receive and the different pedagogical steps that can be taken to improve it. Their main goals include making academic resources more accessible, expanding the course wiki, and looking critically at research done on pedagogy and taking steps to implement said research on campus.

The MSU has also changed the structure of the First Year Council in order to ensure that first year students in residence have their concerns voiced despite the disbandment of the IRC.

The FYC now has 12 residence councillors in addition to their vice chair (Internal), vice chair (External) vice chair (Events) and of course, chair. The expansion of the FYC was to ensure that the advocacy that occurred under the IRC did not disappear, and considering that the majority of students in residence are first years students, the FYC is a logical representative body to take on this role. Nominations close on Sept. 19, and voting occurs from Sept. 26-28.

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