CSA Exec Column: Come to the AGM!

Monday, November 1, 2010

1 Comment

Written by Drew Garvie

Every year your Central Student Association holds an Annual General Meeting in an effort to be transparent and accountable to the membership—the undergraduate students at the University of Guelph. Every year, there is a great deal of time, effort, and student money that goes into planning for an AGM.

Ideally, I would like to say that this time, effort, and student money is spent in anticipation for the large turnout we will see, but lying is something I would rather not do. This year, accommodating a large turnout was not the main focus when organizing this event; getting students interested enough to attend was.

According to CSA (and therefore your) bylaws, we must obtain quorum in order to conduct business at the Annual General Meeting. In case you are not familiar with the lingo, quorum is the minimum amount of voting members you need in the room in order to conduct business; to conduct business, means to officially vote on things.

This year quorum falls just short of 200 members. The CSA is asking that at least 225 members show up so that the meeting does not have to stop when five people take a bathroom break.

In an effort to gain some interest in attending what is labeled a traditionally boring meeting, the CSA has purchased a brand new iPod Touch as a grand prize for anyone who attends the meeting. Other prizes include gift c ards and certificates, University of Guelph merchandise, and more. Additionally, there will be free food, but it will not be served until the first intermission of the meeting to avoid people from walking in, taking food, and leaving.

Also, the CSA is providing students with the ability to RSVP to the meeting. Students who RSVP will be entered into all raffles three times (twice for filling out and submitting an RSVP form, and once when they show up at meeting); they will also be able to choose the type of food they would like, and have it reserved for them in a special VIP line up.


Why you should show up

This is the one time of year all of your student represen tatives will be in one room at the same time soliciting your opinion on what direction the organization should take next.

Last year, we did not meet quorum at the Annual General Meeting, which means that the CSA has been operating on bylaw changes made at the Board of Directors level without official approval by the undergraduate students. This is a huge deal because at this year’s AGM, the membership will need to either vote in favour, or vote against two years worth of bylaw changes (instead of just one).

Being part of the CSA Executive, I have quickly come to realize that you cannot please everyone but what you can do is take criticism well and apply it as best you can. I mention this because I know that there are some undergraduate students who are either in a love, love/hate, or just plain hate relationship with the CSA.

If you love your student union, you need to be at this AGM to voice your opinion on how amazing you think the union is. If you’re in a love/hate relationship with the CSA, you also need to be at the AGM to critique and give your representatives feedback on how you would like to see your student union improve.

Finally, if you detest the CSA, it is important that you come out to the AGM to voice your displeasure, criticize your representatives, and hold them accountable to their actions. Without you, and your opinions, the CSA will remain the same. If you don’t think the CSA represents you and your needs this is the time and place to address your concerns with the people who you have elected to represent you.

Finally, there are some key issues that took place last year that affect where your student dollars have been put towards or reallocated to.If you would like an update on our current situation with the Canadian Federation of Students, and/or an update on the Student Help and Advocacy Centre (SHAC)—the new service that combined the Legal Resource Room, Financial Resource Room, and the Human Rights Office—you need to be at the Annual General Meeting.

If you want more information about your student union, and the agenda for the AGM, check the CSA website (csaonline.ca). The Annual General Meeting will take place November 3, 2010 at 5:30pm in Peter Clark Hall. RSVP forms are on the website. The CSA spent approximately $3000 on this meeting. That’s approximately $0.15 per undergraduate student. Do the financially responsible thing and attend your Annual General Meeting.

Demetria Jackson

CSA Communications & Corporate Affairs Commissioner

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  1. Posted by: Lauren Ramsay on Nov 3, 2010 @ 4:15pm

    I certainly understand the importance of the CSA’s Annual General Meeting, however I am feeling very uncomfortable with the marketing ploy being used this year in order to meet quorum. I feel that students are having the expenditure amount $3000 has thrown in our faces a few too many times. From the Ontarion to Facebook to Twitter all we are being told is attend, or you've wasted $3000, roughly 15 cents a student. Every time I hear or read that the CSA spent approximately $3000 on this meeting it makes me more and more frustrated.
    For a meeting that has in the past struggled to meet quorum, and that this year likely anticipates ~220 students, it seems unreasonable for the CSA to be spending this much money. Especially since all we get is pizza and a chance for an iPod. Board members do get an added perk, a chance to win $50 if they bring the most friends (even though that is a job requirement). In the past it has been recommended that more money be spent on AGMs to employ new, innovative ways to increase attendance. Pizza and an iPod give a way does NOT seem at all different, innovative, or engaging. It sounds like any other meeting on campus.

    For only an hour long meeting this is a ridiculously high price.

    I firmly believe that there are alternate ways to generate interest in this meeting that would be more financially responsible, and have a less manipulative approach to enticing students to come.

    With the CSA encouraging students to “do the financially responsible thing and attend your Annual General Meeting", I would like to implore that the CSA executive take some of their own advice and be more financially responsible with the student fees.

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