Student union focuses on advocacy

Special resolutions look to focus the work of advocacy representatives

Jessica Klymchuk, News Editor Ω

TRUSU's annual general meeting drew a full house on Jan. 29. Members voted in favour of creating an equity committee which will focus the work of advocacy representatives. Jessica Klymchuk/The Omega

TRUSU’s annual general meeting drew a full house on Jan. 29. Members voted in favour of creating an equity committee which will focus the work of advocacy representatives. Jessica Klymchuk/The Omega

From the outside, TRUSU’s operations won’t seem much different next year, but the special resolutions put forward at the Jan. 29 annual general meeting will affect its internal operations and the workload of elected representatives.

TRUSU president Dylan Robinson said it’s all about better focusing the work of the advocacy representatives as the organization grows and, with every resolution passing, TRUSU will be able to do just that.

Last year the annual general meeting brought the creation of two new advocacy collectives: the pride collective to represent LGBTQ students and the graduate students collective. Since that time, Robinson said the work of advocacy representatives has increased significantly.

“Over 2013 the union really realized that the scope and the amount of work we were doing for equity constituency groups across campus has grown massively,” he said. “In order to facilitate that work going forward and in order to provide the appropriate focus and give the appropriate time needed for a lot of those issues it was decided, moving forward, to create the equity committee.”

The new equity committee aims to “better facilitate the work of advocacy representatives.” Each of the collective representatives will sit on this committee, representing women, international students, aboriginal students, graduate students and LGBTQ students. They will no longer be required to participate in another standing committee of the union.

The equity committee will focus on equity issues, campaigns, services and entertainment that currently fit under the existing committee structure. Current committees include executive, campaigns, entertainment, policy and services.

“We wanted to provide this new committee to kind of bring all of those aspects to one place with a set group of people, all of the advocacy representatives around the table in order to really provide the support needed to pull off that work,” Robinson said

Work such as the annual pride parade, the various necessities drives and the Story Teller’s Gala.

Robinson said they didn’t want collective reps to have to sit on other committees, moving forward, because it was hindering their ability to focus on their advocacy work, which is supposed to be their main role.  Instead, the number of members-at-large on each of the union’s standing committees increased from two to three.

The roles of the executive were also slightly altered, including removing the requirement of executive members to sit on multiple standing committees. They remain assigned to a committee, while the vice president internal will chair the equity committee and report on advocacy to the executive.

“It was a lot harder to provide support for advocacy work when we weren’t getting an update at the executive committee every week,” Robinson said. “With this change that should solve that gap and better support that equity work.”