Volume 95, Issue 37
Wednesday, November 7, 2001
Off-campus students' council in development
Yeah! More student politicians
By Jessica Leeder
First-year students living off-campus next year are going to be guaranteed representation where there has not been representation before.
While faculty and residence students' councils exist, there is no separate council representing Western's off-campus student population.
University Students' Council VP-student affairs Wes Brown is spearheading a push to install a students' council body for off-campus students.
Brown said while nothing is concrete yet, there are many different ideas as to what an Off-Campus Students' Council should be.
"I would like to see the creation of a residence feel for students. For the purposes of Orientation week, OC students are treated the same as students living in residences, but when it's all said and done, nothing is there for them," he said.
Brown said OC dons help students who need advice about school year-round, but the only connection OC students have to the USC is the OC commissioner, whose duty it is to run the off-campus portion of Orientation week.
"We need more outlets so all the people we get to come out during O-week don't just drift away," Brown said.
"They obviously have concerns, such as transportation or getting along with neighbours, but other than faculty councils, nothing is really in place to help address their concerns," he said.
Michael Mumby, the OC don program's health and wellness co-ordinator and USC social science councilor, echoed Brown's assertion an OCSC would predominantly focus on first-year students.
"We need a link between the USC and first-year students. Until now, their only link to the USC has been to go directly to the council, which presents an intimidating situation for someone looking to voice a concern," he said.
Mumby said the council could also provide opportunities for students looking to get involved. "OC students are arguably the largest constituency on-campus. There are about 1,200 to 1,500 first-year students living off-campus, while Saugeen-Maitland Hall only has 1,250," he said.
Glenn Matthews, Western's housing mediation officer, said OC dons play a large role during O-Week for first-year students and OC advisors who look into off-campus students' concerns and play a proactive role by organizing community events and sending out newsletters.
Matthews said he envisions the council as a combination of administration and USC, with each side working together. "It has the potential to get to the point where students are elected in their specific community," he said.
Copyright © The Gazette 2001