On Nov. 5, 2019, the MSA held its Annual General Meeting (AGM). The purpose of this meeting is to inform students about what the Association has done over the past year, and to provide students with a chance to ask Board Members some questions.
Sheldon Coombs, the 2019/2020 MSA President, kicked off the 2019 meeting.
“The Mohawk Students’ Association (MSA) has a new face, but our mission remains the same,” Coombs said. The MSA’s mission is to make the college a better place by providing services, supports, and resources that help students succeed academically and socially. Coombs went into detail and explained that over the past year the MSA worked to achieve this in many different ways.
The MSA’s Re-branding Initiative
To better communicate what the MSA offers to students, the Association engaged in a re-branding initiative - which allowed the MSA to have consistency and balance. This re-branding included introducing an MSA tagline – Lean on WE. Lean on WE lets students know that they can lean on the MSA for support during their time at Mohawk. The tagline breaks down the MSA’s service into four distinct pillars: Student Advocacy & Engagement, Events & Activities, Life Services, and Academic & Career Support. These pillars state the services the Association offers, and exactly how the MSA can support students.
Besides the re-branding, the MSA emphasized changing its Clubs program to make it easier for students who want to start clubs and run activities.
Over the past year, the MSA also enhanced a number of its services. The MSA launched its PRESTO campaign (to replace the old ONECard bus pass stickers), along with expanding the Career Closet to the Stoney Creek and IAHS campuses (with pop-up events throughout the year). Moore’s Clothing and the Good Shepherd Centre partnered with the Association to support the Career Closet and the Food Bank.
At the AGM, the MSA also revealed some interesting statistics about the services the Association provides. In the last year, over $1.6 million in health and dental claims were filed. Around 61% of Mohawk students used their MSA-provided bus pass (on average 43 times a month). Nearly 600 students came to the MSA for legal counselling and OSAP Affidavit appointments, and there were 564 visits to the Food Bank (totaling over $27,000).
The MSA’s Annual ‘A Better Community Day’
The MSA’s fourth-annual ‘A Better Community Day’ – ABC Day – was mentioned at the AGM. During the event, volunteers are paired with not-for-profit organizations to facilitate a day’s worth of positive action in the community. The event was held in April of 2019, and over 100 students volunteered at local agencies. More than $3,500 was donated to support the agencies.
The Association also provided financial support for students who participated in experiential learning trips (including trips to Northern Ontario, Greece, India, and Jamaica). The MSA also provided donations to support over $10,000 in student-focused events and activities within Mohawk.
Structural Changes Within the MSA
Board Members also discussed some structural changes within the MSA at the AGM. The VP of Finance position is now an elected position (this position was previously appointed by the Board). The VP of Marketing & Events position is now the VP of External Advocacy with an increased focus on advocacy external to campus (particularly municipal, provincial, and federal matters). Now, there are four set positions that make up the Executive committee – President, Vice President Finance, Vice President Internal Advocacy, and Vice President External Advocacy – all positions are elected by the student body.
(Left: Greg McNeish, the current MSA VP Finance, Right: Brayden Spjuth, the current MSA VP External Advocacy.
At the AGM, Board Members went over the bylaw changes that have been made over the past year, these changes are as follows.
· Students who attended the AGM were reminded that the Student Activity Fee no longer exists, now a Student Ancillary fees bylaw is in place.
· All Mohawk students are members of the MSA.
· Elections can now be held in February or March, as opposed to only in February.
· Regarding the referenda: The bylaw previously stated, “For a referendum to be considered valid, 10% of the student population must vote.” This has been changed to “10% of the eligible members, as defined by the referendum.” This change is intended so that only students affected by a referendum are eligible to vote in it.
The AGM, which was live-streamed on the MSA’s Facebook page, concluded with students asking Board Members questions regarding the Association, how it operates, and the information that was presented.
Written by: Paige Petrovsky
Check out our previous blog post: How MSA Clubs Can Enhance the College Experience for Mohawk Students