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Welcome changes have arrived for the McMaster Students Union’s Clubs Department, one of the largest clubs networks in the country.

“We started thinking this summer about things we could do to make the clubs department better and more efficient,” said Joshua Patel, Clubs Administrator.

Communication is one of the main issues that the department has worked to improve. This begins with a monthly newsletter that will highlight useful information and important updates within the clubs department. For September, the newsletter will highlight clubs training as well as budgets and finances, but Patel is hoping that future editions will serve a different theme each time, including spotlights on featured clubs.

“That was our big issue: how do you communicate with over 300 clubs? And not only talk to the [club] presidents, because sometimes those messages get forgotten or ignored, but also communicate with the execs and clubs in general, so everyone knows what’s going on in the department,” said Patel.

A sorely needed change has also come in the form of a second Assistant Clubs Administrator. In the past, the department has faced problems with the unavailability of administrators due to the large number of clubs they manage. The department hopes an additional assistant will help ease that burden.

“They take more of the roles of support, the face-time with clubs, whereas if there is a very important matter with finances, I’ll probably take that over,” said Patel.

An online booking portal for Club Space is scheduled for implementation in the upcoming weeks in order to cut the time the administrators spend manually booking spaces for clubs. Patel explained that nearly half of the previous Assistant Clubs Administrator’s time was spent booking and responding to booking requests. Allowing clubs to make the bookings themselves will allow the administrators to use their time more efficiently.

A new program called “MSU Dollars” will also allow clubs to take advantage of a little extra credit in spending, in addition to the budget they receive each year.

“On top of their normal budget allocation, we’re giving every club a $100 credit to use at any of our MSU services,” Patel said. “We’ve been noticing that clubs have been using Avtek, TwelvEighty and the Underground a lot… there’s always been money left over every year, and some clubs need money more than other clubs.”

On top of all of the changes is a brand new logo that Patel feels will better reflect the nature of clubs at McMaster. The image is made up of five pieces to represent the five pillars of clubs in the department: Academic, Cultural, Recreational, Religious and Social Issues. With each piece resembling a person, the elements form a circle to represent unity and the community that is fostered between clubs and students.

“I wanted to do something that’s a little more representative of the department, and it is one of the biggest departments in the MSU,” he said. “Since we were changing so many different things on an administration level, it’s a great time to put a new face to the clubs department.”

Photo Credit: Josh Patel

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