Blog

Feds to work with the new MPs on student issues including coop

Posted on November 4th, 2015

On behalf of the Federation of Students, I would like to take this time to congratulate the newly sworn in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and the local MPs (Bryan May, Raj Saini, Harold Albrecht, Marwan Tabbara, John Nater). Congratulations on your campaign, and all the hard work you all have been putting in over the last few months for this successful federal election. Special congratulations to MP Bardish Chagger who was named Minister of Small Business and Tourism today. The Federation of Students looks forward to working with MP Chagger on cooperative education issues, which are a part of her portfolio.

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Orientation Week: Welcome, new students! Thank you, leaders!

Posted on September 8th, 2015

It is the wildest, coolest, most chaotic week of the year. This week is Fall Orientation. My Orientation was in 2010; I still remember leaders helping me move-in, learning how to tie my pink tie, and playing blackjack at Monte Carlo. This year, thousands of new students will have the opportunity for these amazing experiences and many more.

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Make the Most of the Services on Campus

Posted on August 20th, 2015

It’s that time of term again!

We’ve posted about what your fee breakdown isso how can you get the most out of the fees you’re paying?

Here are my top 10 ways to get the most out of your student fees:

1. Go to Class

 Your tuition is the largest expense you pay. For most students the average cost per class is $696. If your class meets for three hours a week, 12 weeks a term, you are paying $19.33 per hour. That’s enough to pay your cover for six Bomber Wednesdays! To get the best bang for your buck, and you know, to learn, attending all your classes is the way to go.

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Benefits of co-op extend beyond the campus

Posted on August 18th, 2015

Over the years, opportunities for work-integrated learning (WIL) have been expanding in universities across Ontario. Work-integrated learning allows students to gain quality and practical experience in the workplace in addition to (and often concurrently with) their academic studies. At Waterloo, we are part of North America’s largest post-secondary co-op program, which is a prime example of how WIL can enhance the undergraduate experience. With over 19,000 students enrolled in the co-op program, Waterloo reaches out to thousands of employers to help drive WIL opportunities forward for students. At the World of Waterloo event last year during Orientation Week, I read the reasons why students came to Waterloo, and it was clear that to many of you, like myself, came to Waterloo because of the co-op program.

The data is also very clear with the benefits of co-op, as illustrated in this chart. For example, six months after graduation, co-op students are hired more often than non-co-op peers by 4.5 percentage points, and after 2 years by almost 3 percentage points.

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General Meeting Quorum Raised to 200

Posted on August 4th, 2015

It’s been a discussion point I’ve been hearing for years. The quorum (number of attendees necessary to hold a meeting) of our general meetings is too low. Considering the huge impact our general meetings can have, it was certainly worth revisiting. Since I’ve been in office, I’ve heard from students that we should raise quorum from where it currently is at 50 voters to anywhere between 100 voters and 3% of our membership (which would be around 900).

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Keeping Imprint in the SLC, part 2

Posted on July 10th, 2015

I am hopeful that Imprint will accept the new lease, and remain in the Student Life Centre (SLC). As a significant part of our campus history, and student life, the newspaper should be housed in the SLC.

We are currently working on creating a lease for a new office, which is situated in the SLC Lower Atrium. The SLC Lower Atrium is one of the most visible areas in the building. Each term, many events including special features for Feds Welcome Week, and the Farmer’s Market, are held in the area. A number of businesses including Feds Used Books, the Campus Dentist, and more are located here.

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Keeping Imprint in the SLC, part 1

Posted on July 10th, 2015

The Federation of Students Board of Directors would like to provide more information about the Imprint lease situation.

On April 30, 2015 the previous Board of Directors decided to terminate Imprint’s current lease. On May 1, 2015, a new Board of Directors took office and Imprint was delivered a letter stating the decision made on their lease.

Imprint’s current lease expired on April 30, 2007. The lease had been automatically renewed each year under the same terms. It was not renewed this year, so Feds could renegotiate the terms of the lease. The lease needed to be renegotiated because the cost of the space to the Federation of Students is higher than the amount paid by Imprint.

Imprint being in their current space is costing students thousands of dollars a year.

Feds does not believe it should spend students’ money from the Feds fee on a separate organization that also collects funds from students through its own separate fee.

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Supporting international students as they fund their education at UWaterloo

Posted on July 8th, 2015

As one of the most innovative universities in the world, the University of Waterloo is known for welcoming students from over 90 countries each year. For many of these students pursuing post-secondary education, tuition is an important factor to consider in the decision-making process.

To address the concerns of international students, the Federation of Students is working to improve international student tuition. The international student tuition at the University of Waterloo is more than three times the tuition of domestic students, and a part of the difference can be attributed to the lack of funding from the government for international students.  Our goal is to improve equality and fairness for international students. 

International students have voiced their concerns about the increase in their tuition over social media, in person, and over e-mail to the Federation of Students. Our primary goal is to implement predictability of tuition to international students. We hope to work with the University of Waterloo to ensure that students know further in advance of any changes to their tuition. So far, the university has been supportive of our efforts to engage in a dialogue and take action on this.

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Imprint in the SLC

Posted on July 2nd, 2015

I want to take this opportunity to provide information about the Imprint space story published in the newspaper today.

First of all, the Federation of Students recognizes the value of having a student newspaper. Feds has many student volunteers, just as Imprint does, and understands what an enriching experience being a part of a student organization is for them.

Imprint volunteers, just like Feds volunteers, learn and grow through their involvement. Sometimes, our organizations share the same passionate student volunteers.

Since their office is located in the Student Life Centre, which is under our management, Imprint is considered a tenant of the Federation of Students. Out of respect for the tenants, the full terms of the agreement between the Federation of Students and its tenants are confidential, but Feds can confirm that Imprint has not been evicted from the Student Life Centre.

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A Warm Welcome to the Spring Term

Posted on June 4th, 2015

We're just over one month into the new term. If I've learned one thing so far, it is that time both creeps slowly along and flies by in this job. Regardless, it has been one of the most remarkable months of my life. A lot of my month has been meeting with various people on campus, and building those relationships that will be necessary over the course of the year. It has been exciting getting to know people all over campus: from Athletics and the SSO to Health Services and senior University administration.

The Executives have also been working on our Action Plans. Now that we're settling into the roles, and have been discussing our priorities with both those in Feds and people external to this organization, we can fine tune our goals for the year. Expect to see the Executive Action plan role out in the coming weeks.
The clock is ticking when it comes to Orientation. As something that has always been close to my heart, I'm incredibly excited to see what this year's Orientation team will put together.

We Exec will be writing more of these blogs throughout the year: giving you updates on what Feds is working on, insights into the happenings of our roles, or just general musings of a sleep-deprived Executive looking to take a break from responding to their barrage of emails.

Happy summer everyone,
Chris Lolas, President of the Federation of Students

Let’s end the stigma around mental health

Posted on January 29th, 2015

Yesterday was Bell Let’s Talk Day 2015. I had my Twitter feed open all day trying to keep up with the thousands of tweets raising awareness about mental health. I found it interesting to see how people were actively tweeting, texting, or posting on Facebook about mental health but on a regular day there are folks everywhere who cannot bring themselves to talk about what they are going through. I do believe society is striving to improve, and as Feds President, I’m humbled by how many people feel comfortable sharing their stories with me. It’s amazing that some people are so self-aware and comfortable they're able to share what they have gone through in a public setting. It helps others realize there doesn’t have to be stigma around mental illness, and we can grow by learning from others going through the same experiences. Once this happens, support for mental health can be institutionalized in school systems, especially post-secondary education, where youth between the ages of 15-25 often deal with the onset of mental illnesses as it is the natural age for it to happen. You can read more from the Mental health and well-being in postsecondary education settings: A literature and environmental scan to support planning and action in Canada (June 2011) written by Gail MacKean for the June 2011 CACUSS pre-conference workshop on mental health

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Looking back: Elections and advocacy this Fall

Posted on November 26th, 2014

It's been a busy term for me! When I look back, I am particularly proud of the work Feds did during the recent election.

Over the past couple of months, the Federation of Students brought awareness to students of the municipal election held on Monday, October 27, 2014. Booths, buttons, and brochures were handed out to students and several events were held on campus so they could familiarize themselves with issues the city and region handled. On October 7, a Candidate Meet and Greet was held at The Bombshelter Pub. Candidates participated by coming out to speak to students about their platform. A mayoral debate was also held on October 20 in the SLC Great Hall and candidates were able to share their opinions on topics including the Light Rapid Transit (LRT), student engagement, budgeting, and safety. According to the CBC, voter turnout was lower in 2014 compared to 2010 in Waterloo. About 35.93 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots in 2014 compared to 41.16 percent in 2010. However, student engagement in municipal politics dramatically increased this year. To put this into perspective, the city places a polling station in Student Village 1, an on-campus residence at the University of Waterloo during municipal elections. Students who live on campus are able to conveniently vote on residence, and over the past ten years, the voter turnout has typically declined. In 2003, the voter turnout was 149. In 2006, the voter turnout was 141 and in 2010, the voter turnout was 137. In 2014, voter turnout numbers jumped to 227, and 140 people also voted in the advanced polls on campus. Success in the increase in numbers could be for a variety of reasons, but with an increase in voter turnout in UW, it seems students are becoming more informed and interested in what the city will do for them in the next four years. The Federation of Students looks forward to continuing to work with all the successful candidates to create a better environment for everyone living in the City of Waterloo and the Region of Waterloo.