The who's who of the USC

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

The USC Board of Directors

Brice Hall

IF WE LOOK HAPPY NOW, WAIT UNTIL WE BUST OUT THE OUJIA BOARD. This year's USC Board of Directors (from left) David Simmonds, James Arthurs, Tom Stevenson, David Singh, Amy Bi and Sabrina Sdao hope to enhance your experience at Western without resorting to Family Games Night.

One of the first pieces of correspondence mailed to incoming Western frosh is their tuition fees.

You may have noticed interesting and unexplained lines on your fee breakdowns. Items such as the ‘USC Health Plan’ and ‘USC Bus Pass’ might have caught your attention, or at least your parents’, who are forking over the money.

What is this mysterious student organization the USC?
The University Students’ Council represents all Western students. The USC provides students with their health plan, bus pass and other services including media outlets.

The USC machine works as a combination of council, made up of student representatives elected by students, and a board of directors, made up of student vice-presidents and the president.

This organization is no high school student council organizing bake sales and dances. According to the USC website, it collects $182.64 from every Western student in addition to money collected for the bus pass and health plan. If you multiply that fee by the number of registered students, it becomes clear the USC’s actions are important for all of Western. The USC manages an annual budget in the neighbourhood of $20 million.

What are the key issues?
The University Community Centre is the current hub of activity on Western’s campus. It houses the majority of USC services, including the Spoke Lounge and the newly renovated Wave restaurant.

The future of the USC within the UCC has become a contentious issue. Last year’s USC President, Fab Dolan, called attention to the high occupancy fees the USC pays to the university in order to use the UCC. Dolan contended the fees are out of proportion considering the USC helped pay for the majority of the UCC and subsequent renovations.

Western administration reacted coolly to Dolan’s proposal and relations between administration and the USC over this issue are likely to be tense.

Complicating UCC matters is the expected opening of a new recreation centre in September 2008. New space in the UCC will become available when Campus Recreation moves out of the basement and into the new facility.

How much space will go to the USC is up in the air. During last year’s USC elections, there was discussion about what to do with the extra UCC space.

Incoming USC President Tom Stevenson promised to involve students in the decision making process regarding the UCC. How students will be involved and what decisions will be made is a concern for the USC this year.

Another interesting issue facing the USC will be how it handles charity funding applications.

In the past, the USC denied requests from charities for funding because it would be too difficult to decide which charities deserved funding over others.

At the last meeting of council for the past school year, council approved funding for a cross-Canada Epic Bus Pull, becoming a gold sponsor of an event raising money for cystic fibrosis. The funding was packaged as an opportunity to fund a student initiative and not as a charitable donation.

However, then-President Dolan expressed concern the USC set a precedent by granting Epic Pull funding and opened the door for charities to flood the USC with funding applications.

Whether this turns out to be the case remains to be seen, but this would be the year for a charity looking for USC funding to put together a proposal.

Last year, the USC spent a great deal of its time on a long term plan outlining where the organization was headed for the future.

Planning is great, but the USC needs to get down to business and provide students with tangible initiatives like programs, and services.

Share this article on:

Facebook | DiggDigg |

Copyright © 2008 The Gazette