FIRST-YEAR ORIENTATION COURSE
Many first year students struggle with making the transition from high school to University, from living at home to living with a roommate in residence.
The idea is that by creating a first year orientation class (think of it like a full year Smart Start) students can continue to learn about Brock’s services, about how much in ancillary fees they pay towards BUSU/Brock TV/Other Services, about how to deal with roommate conflicts, essay writing, studying for exams, etc.
The key idea is that by second, third and forth year we will have a more educated student body within Brock University. For example, during election time an entire class could be spent on BUSU and all the candidates could come in and talk about their platforms. If voter turnout increased even slightly, this would be successful.
The most important point here is that this class wouldn’t just be used to decrease student apathy on elections and BUSU, but rather decrease student apathy on Brock services/clubs and give each student the opportunity to succeed throughout their first year.
Students face many different difficulties and often need someone to talk to. Some of this need is currently addressed through counselling services and our residences, and I believe this access should be diversified.
I envision a Brock-specific telephone helpline: a confidential phone service for Brock students run by Brock students. This service is currently available through the student unions at many Canadian universities, whose models can be followed and expanded on in order to meet and surpass their successes.
This helpline will be available during set times for students to call in order to discuss any of their concerns, which may include relationship problems, substance abuse, sexuality, suicidal thoughts, etc.
New ideas that include but are not limited to: having new instructors and teaching assistants undergo training to enhance their teaching mechanics, promotional pushes towards more active classroom learning and teaching incentives for professors to create a stronger learning environment.
STUDENT-RUN GRIEVANCE OFFICE
By holding prominent hours in Mac Chown A Block, the Fish Bowl, etc, Advocacy should be taking down any classroom/educational/student-life issues that you are having.
Furthermore, we should then be taking these complaints and going through the proper channels to try and fix these problems.
In the past, BUSU Executives have met with each Dean from every faculty at Brock. This is a goal that I want to redevelop. By having monthly Dean meetings, I can bring issues straight to the sources and get them dealt with immediately.
EXTENSION OF ADVOCATING
Although BUSU Executives make a great deal of change year in and year out, there are specific areas within the University that are not directly touched upon.
International students, residence life and other academic departments do not always get the attention needed from BUSU. My goal would be to create an Advocacy Coordinator that is specifically tied to areas in the school that BUSU does not reach out to.
Most importantly, we need to be doing more for the International Department. Not only has BUSU limited themselves in terms of outreach to international students, they are often left in the dark during this election process.
I strongly believe that as a BUSU Executive it would be my responsibility to keep the student body as informed as possible.
I have observed that many students have concerns that could be addressed by BUSU, but do not feel sufficiently connected to voice these concerns. In order to address this, I intend to broaden the mediums BUSU uses to bring information to Brock students, and to receive their concerns.
Thank you for taking your time to read this!
—Submitted by Roland Erman