Congress Weekly

NEW FACES, ACADEMIC INTEGRITY AND THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Congress Weekly – April 9th 2021

Written by Si Wen Shen
Edited by Bhromor Rahman

Wellness Boxes

The Wellness Boxes are ready! Congress members gathered on campus last Friday (with proper social distancing) and finished packing and sealing all the boxes. Tristan wants to create an Eventbrite like for the Welcome Back Event to have a certain number of students come over separately over a few days. He will ask Wayne to help distribute them. 

Diversity Month

April is Diversity Month! The Cultural Affairs Committee has an activity/challenge prepared for every week, and students that participate in all four of them run the change to win a record player! Congress will be helping Yu Zheng promote these activities on social media, and they encourage all students to participate. 

Return to School Representation

The Marianopolis College Teachers Union (MCTU) has reached out to Congress to have a student representative on a proposed council that will oversee the return to campus, as this greatly impacts students. Seeing as 2nd years won’t be impacted by the decisions, it has been tentatively decided that next year’s Coordinator of Student Advocacy, John Bramos, will be assigned to the council . 

There will be a survey released on Omnivox this week to determine students’ interest in returning on campus. Congress considers it very important to have access to these results in order to properly represent the student body, therefore Laurence will be asking Ms. Penelope Kostopoulos, Marianopolis’ Associate Academic Dean of Student Success, about them. 

While the council intends to have the students’ best interest at heart, Marianopolis will not be allowed to have classes legally online if the government demands schools to return on campus. 

Graduation

The Office of Academic Dean reached out to Congress to gather student opinions and ideas for the upcoming graduation. While Congress has published a survey on Facebook in the Class of 2021 group , Congress believes that it may have a limited reach and thinks that an Omnivox survey would be more beneficial, as it is the Academic Dean that is interested in this information. As graduation is not supposed to be organized by Congress, a proposal has been made to reach out to some passionate 2nd year students. They will likely have many ideas and be willing to put them to action. Laurence will be bringing this idea to the Office of Academic Dean as well. 

Trudy from Student Affairs informed Congress that there is already a graduation committee formed by faculty members and that perhaps the second years could join the committee or work in collaboration with them as a student committee. 

Congress 3rd Grant Session

As there is still a surplus in the Congress budget, Laurence proposes to open a 3rd grant session for clubs to request funds for summer activities. This may allow the current Vice President of Finance and club executives help the future VPF and first year execs to familiarize themselves with the procedures. Incumbent VPF Emanuel is favourable with this idea, though this 3rd grant session is still tentative as details remain to be finalized. 

Activities After Finals

With an entire school year online, many students are feeling rather distant from school life. Laurence proposes to organize social events after the finals, both to bring the students together and to let graduating students end their CEGEP life with a blast. Current Congress members would like to let students get familiarized with Congress and leave a nice image of Congress before the end of their mandate, on June 30th. 

The best option would be to have something similar to the Welcome Back Event, though it will depend on government and school regulations. If that’s not possible, they’ll have to arrange something on Zoom or on Teams. 

Academic Integrity Campaign

Yena met with the Academic Integrity Task Force, who has decided on a plan for the campaign. They would like to make a video collage of as many people as possible, such as Department chairs, teachers, students, Congress members etc. The idea is to have every person say a word and put all the videos together in order to encourage students on their finals. The video is scheduled to launch around the end of April. A survey will also be released to ask students why academic integrity is important to them. 

Congress Communication

Anne proposes to centralize resources on the Congress website. She also plans on presenting the website to new students on orientation to bring more attention to it. In addition to the website, Laurence notes that communication with MSU on social media may warrant some changes, as people seem to be moving away from certain platforms. He proposes to make an official MSU Congress Discord server to allow for better communication. After some familiarization, Discord would be very convenient to organize and announce activities and events. This, of course, is a decision that will be left to next year’s Congress. 

Wellness Kits for Finals

Zhaoran is hoping that Marianopolis will be organizing an event prior to the on campus finals to help first year students familiarize with the campus, so as to not get lost during the finals. This event would also be an opportunity to distribute some gifts to the students: a wellness box to help with the exams. These will be available to both students with on campus finals and those without. 

General Assembly for Finals Petition

There will be a General Assembly this Friday, April 16th at 7pm, which was called in response to the student petition against in-person finals. The petition was launched in light of the recent events, with the number of COVID-19 cases having increased dramatically as we enter the third wave. As the petition has reached the 200 signatures criteria, this General Assembly is called to vote on whether or not to hold a referendum to oppose in-person finals.

Here is the link to the Zoom for the GA: https://zoom.us/j/9395943473

The event will be live-streamed on Facebook as well. Here’s the link to the event: https://fb.me/e/3yGaGwqf0. If over 60 people are present at the GA and there are 50% +1 votes in favor, a subsequent referendum date will be announced.

Si Wen Shen

Si Wen ''Shiya'' Shen is MWR's Editor emeritus of MariNews and one of the most important student journalists of our generation. She covered critical and controversial events that unfolded in the Student Union under her mandate. She was also the President of the Literature club which involved everything anime and pioneered the successful Archive-of-a-Shut-in column. She is currently a 1L Law student at Université de Montréal Faculté de Droit.

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