Written by Si Wen Shen
Edited by Bhromor Rahman
This week’s special edition of Congress Weekly brings you the summary of an exceptionally long marathon meeting where many topics were discussed in great detail.
First topic brought up was the Student Advocacy Summer Committee, which Misha is responsible for. There have been many more applications than expected as even some first years applied. Unfortunately, there is a limited number of space, but both first years and second years will be selected. Maria also plans to open up the applications for the next yearbook.
As the beginning of the school year approaches, the Welcome Back Event becomes an important matter of discussion, and specifically, money. The budget allocated to the Welcome Back Event has varied over the past few years, but has always averaged around 4000$. With the situation of the COVID-19, there are many restrictions on the activities that can be planned. Zhaoran points out that only handing out gifts and food with no activities would be bland and suggests some small activities that will only require the students’ presence for a small moment. Tristan has also pointed out that because we all abruptly left school in March, uncertain of how everything will turn out, this event will be even more important than the past years. Therefore, the activities and gifts should be exceptionally interesting. Congress has been considering two gifts: taking into consideration the prices and the slow shipping during the pandemic, it has agreed to buy both gifts and let the students choose between them.
In light of recent and current events, Congress also evaluated how it should proceed with the Black Lives Matter campaign. The idea of a Black History Month was floated, but since very few first years use the MSU Facebook page, it was thought better to put BHM for later when school restarts. There are also plans for a collaboration with the Marianopolis World Review for the BLM campaign. Tristan has suggested posting tips on how to make changes to social injustice, along with mental health tips. He also suggested creating a “wall of art” where students can post artworks related to social injustice, as well as creating a platform where students can anonymously share their personal experiences with social injustice. Maria pointed out that anonymous stories could be traumatic, victimizing, or untrue, so there should be a filter of what is posted and stories posted should come with a trigger warning.
As for the Black Lives Matter statement, Laurence intends to finish it before August. The joint statements and student artworks of BLM that were already received should be published within this week.
On a side note, Laurence would like to let us all know that the formerly named Coalition of Anglophones CEGEPs (COAC) has been renamed Coalition of Anglophone Student Associations of Quebec (CASAQ).
As it was announced on the MSU Facebook page, the Canadian Organization of Campus Activities (COCA) has invited Marianopolis College to a Virtual Frosh, which consists of a number of virtual concerts. To participate, Marianopolis will need to contribute some funds and Trudy negotiated the price down to 500$. However, looking at results on the Facebook poll, interest from the student body seems to be lacking, so this invitation will be refused.
There was also discussion of endorsing an Indigenous School’s statement on behalf of the MSU. The pandemic has impacted all educational institutions, but Indigenous schools are in even greater need, as they are chronically underfunded. Their students lack Internet access, access to technology, mental health support, etc. However, as Congress cannot represent the entire student body, it has decided to support this statement only as Congress.
Finally, as discussed in previous meetings, there are plans for some updates for the MSU app to make it more accessible and easier to use. More details to come.
Over the summer, Congress will hold occasional meetings such as this one in order to plan for the Fall semester and also to keep the student body updated on its progress.