Congress Weekly

RETURN TO CAMPUS, MORE DISCOUNTS AND WHAT IS NIMBUS? Congress Weekly – February 12th 2021

Written by Catherine Pépin
Edited by Emma Westenberg

After a weekend dedicated to “Happy Valentine’s Day” or “Happy Single Day”, a lot of things are preoccupying students as midterms approach in three weeks. With two weeks left before March Break, Congress had some interesting discussions such as: how did the MSU hoodies sell? What events are coming up and must be publicized? And most importantly: will Mari have a partnership in tutoring services?

Without further ado, the Congress would like to thank Ben Attal, Co-Founder of Nimbus, and Ying Ge, former Vice-President of Congress and Partnership Associate of Nimbus, for joining this weekly meeting to offer their services to Marianopolis students.

Regarding a Potential Return to Campus
Members of Congress are in frequent contact with the College on the subject of a possible return to campus after Block 3 (midterms), and will keep the student body updated. At the moment, Congress invites students to reach out to them if they have any concerns or questions.

Challenge Your Smarts and Do An Escape Room!
Pratham is excited to announce that MSU has purchased virtual escape rooms for students to participate in for free! Students will now have a chance to do them with friends, or by meeting new friends, on Microsoft Teams, in The CHILL private channel. Escape rooms are fun and entertaining… What else is there to do during a pandemic? It is also worthwhile for students to change their mind from always studying and working by doing an escape room! In fact, we are very excited to see who can beat the record of escaping a room the fastest!

To join The CHILL, click on this link:
https://teams.microsoft.com/l/channel/19%3ad4e71fc91cbd4cd28f18b0fe09e2c230%40thread.tacv2/General?groupId=d9771c37-14d3-43da-8a59-8a21c0ffc014&tenantId=c905ce80-0673-4d6b-a99f-194362b5fbae 

Or… Log in to Microsoft Teams, and click “Join a team with code” using this code: as0k929

Circle for Reconciliation Number 2
To continue to demonstrate Marianopolis’ heartfelt support for Indigenous justice, a second circle of reconciliation will occur on February 26th. The registration for the second circle of reconciliation just ended, but no worries! A third student Circle, open to 5 Indigenous and 5 non-Indigenous participants from all anglophone Cegeps, will be held in spring. To get an idea of the insightful experiences shared in these committees, feel free to check out this booklet filled with articles, opinion pieces, short stories and illustrations devoted to Reconciliation and Indigenous rights: https://issuu.com/mari.litmag/docs/circles_booklet

PETITION To Stop Canada From Murdering Mother Nature!
In case most students have missed the announcement, Anne and her team are encouraging students to sign a petition: the infamous GNL/Gazoduq letter. So what is the deal with this endorsement? 

The Federal and Provincial governments are allowing an American company to implement a 750km pipeline transporting gas from Western Canada to the Saguenay port, a gas liquefaction plant and a super-methane ship export terminal. However, this project will consequently create 7,8 million tons of GES (Greenhouse Gas Emissions), which will make Canada and the World less greener. Moreover, because maritime traffic at Saguenay will triple due to this plan, belugas will have higher risks of being murdered and perhaps becoming extinct due to the damage that will be caused to their habitat (as well as other species).This said, Anne has requested MSU Congress to be favorable to sign this petition as a “student organization”. On this point, Laurence asked whether a General Assembly would be required so they could sign the petition or not. As of February 15, Congress members are internally discussing the details concerning a possible, yet to be determined petition signature on behalf of MSU Congress.

So, if you want to save belugas, and force Canada and Quebec to respect the Paris Accord, sign this petition! Teachers and students are welcome to participate.

Link: https://forms.gle/yHKq5vp7m7AFcYi27 

For more information on this petition, follow this instagram account: @non_a_gnl_gazoduq 

Aftermath of Hoodies and Sold-out Wellness Boxes from MSU
Congress is glad to announce that a great number of students bought MSU merchandise on Shopify; in fact, 57 fundraising stickers (for survivors of sexual assault), 97 crewnecks, 134 crewnecks with names and 225 free wellness boxes were purchased. Therefore, the Congress believes that the popularity of the purchases was thanks to Trudy Ste-Croix, who Mioed all the students of Marianopolis regarding this sale. Congress envisions the use of Shopify for later clubs.

Pick-Up of MSU Merchandise

For students to pick-up their items, Wayne has tentatively offered assistance to distribute the products: however, due to Covid-19 restrictions and the large amount of orders, it is believed that the distribution must be done in “waves” of students coming in alphabetical order: in other words, students will have to come at a specific time to pick up their merchandise to prevent everyone from “rushing-in” all at once (at least 50 people per day). However, Trudy Ste-Croix also specified that “Right now, as it stands, there must not be more than 6 students at a time to arrive on campus”. The distribution of merchandise is anticipated to occur towards the end of March, beginning of April. Tristan has affirmed his preference to distribute the items during an orientation period of three days, as he is unfavorable to distribute items for weeks. He also agreed with Thomas about possibly offering Saint-Viateur Bagels while distributing the merchandise during orientation. In sum, more ideas are being configured to find the best way to distribute the purchases during this pandemic. 

Heads-up: Order Issues

Misha has discussed some issues encountered with purchases: in fact, 2 programs had reported issues on purchasing sweaters. Very few students from the Music and Liberal Arts program showed interest in purchasing crewnecks with names. Therefore, Misha is still thinking of ideas to compensate for these kinds of issues encountered. 

Tristan also mentioned that some students omitted to indicate their student ID, or made a mistake in choosing the name of their program. Thus, a MIO will be sent to the concerned students to solve these issues. 

Too Many People Wanted Wellness Boxes

A poll has been conducted by MSU to see if there’s enough demand for more wellness boxes for students. Up-to-date, only 18 students showed interest. However, because already $4,500 has been invested in the project of wellness boxes, Congress is still trying to determine if it would be worthwhile to fundraise more money to cover the costs of more boxes for the students who missed their chance. A decision is still to be made, but if Congress agrees to buy more wellness boxes, Tristan will not publicize the sale on Shopify and will instead register the orders automatically for those who are interested. 

New Discount For Students: Save Money, Live Better…
If you are ever interested in New York Times articles, Mau discovered, through email exchanges with employees, that if you sign up to New York Times with your Marianopolis email (studentID@marianopolis.edu), students receive a discount to subscribe for 2$/month instead of 20$/month, including receiving a free NYT tote bag on a first order. Also, Juggernaut offers a $4 subscription for students instead of $9.99. However, Maria pointed out that The BAnQ is already offering the NYT for free… Basically, discounts are out there and do not miss your chance to get them!

At Last: Nimbus Offers Its Services to Marianopolis College
Ben Attal, co-founder of Nimbus, was a McGill student who noticed issues accessing student services and looking for tutors. He specified to the Congress how in schools, the internal progress to be paired with a tutor could last for two weeks or more, how “private tutoring services in Montreal were available, but they would charge high fees of $15 to $17 per hour”, and how “finding tutors through Facebook or posters seemed less efficient nowadays”. Therefore, Nimbus was created to build a platform for tutors, as an independent organization, while offering a service that is most accessible and affordable to students. Since a year and a half ago, Nimbus has partnered with 17 student unions at colleges and universities across Canada (and even MIT from the USA)  to offer affordable services to complement institutions’ current tutoring services. Moreover, with the assistance of Ying Ge, a Marianopolis alumni, Ben Attal hopes to expand their services to CEGEPs in Quebec. Ying Ge explained her side of the story as a tutee of Marianopolis, and how getting a tutor on the long-term was not always easy. Therefore, Ying Ge emphasized how Nimbus would provide services to facilitate the administrators’ tasks. 

Essentially, Nimbus is an application, available on mobile and computers, that includes an integrated calendar, schedules, video conference calls and a whiteboard all at once. The whiteboard option of Nimbus differs from others since it allows to export the paper instead of taking screenshots for easier usage. Nimbus authorizes students to select a tutor they want in a specific subject matter, instead of being assigned to a random one, by viewing the tutor’s reviews, star ratings, schedule and availability. Nimbus specified that normally the tutoring sessions would occur in-person, at a specific location that can be chosen on Nimbus. However, due to the pandemic, virtual sessions are a possibility. The application permits students to schedule a tutoring session and cancel anytime just by the “click” of a button.  Furthermore, Nimbus enables students to directly text the tutor through the application in case any question arises before a quiz, test, or anything urgent. Mr. Attal and Ms. Ge further specified that any institution would be entitled to customize the app’s functioning to their convenience. Nimbus also recently received a partnership with Zoom, allowing access to unlimited hours of Zoom through the use of this application. 

Regarding the costs, Nimbus explained that normally administrators are the ones responsible to pay for the entire services, and sometimes Student Unions pay for the costs. Normally 1.50$ to 2$ is the cost per “Full-Time Student” (FTE).

However, no concrete decisions have been made yet since consultation with administrators and Laura Paris, responsible for the Learning Resources Center, is necessary. The question also remains if the Congress would like to contribute to pay for these services with the administrators. Also, Nimbus suggested that their application could be used to pair mentors, but more details are to be discussed amongst administrators and the Congress.

As of February 15, Congress is looking into the platform that Nimbus offers, and invites students to reach out if they have any feedback or opinions.

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