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2016-2017 ASSU Award Winners

The Arts and Science Students’ Union is extremely pleased to announce the winners of our 2016-2017 leadership awards.

This year we received a multitude of applications from a diverse and highly qualified group of students. The ASSU Scholarship committee, which is made up of representatives from our Executive, ASSU Council, and the Faculty of Arts and Science administration, debated for a long time before coming to their decisions.

The Scholarship committee passes on it’s thanks to all the applicants for making these decisions so difficult.

Our 2016-2017 Award winners are:

William R. Gardner Student Leadership Award:

Winner – Vhil Castillejos

Runner-Up – Ji Yoon Lim

Runner Up – Daryna Kutsyna

Gavin Nowlan Campus Student Leadership Award

Winner – Alana Changoor

Runner-Up – Willem Crispin-Frei

Runner-Up – Amanda Cheung

Abdullah Shihipar Campus Student Leadership Award

Winner – Marianne Alice Kalaczynski

Runner-Up – Novera Khan

Runner-Up – Nicole Gumapac

First Year Campus Involvement Award

Hsiao-Wen Sun

Basit Ali

Sydney Vennin

 

ASSU Award Deadline Approaches

The deadline for our ASSU Awards is fast approaching. For three of our most competitive awards, the Nowlan, Gardner, and Shihipar Awards, the deadline is January 20th, 2017. More information and the application can be found at http://assu.ca/services-resources/assu-awards/

Statement on the results of our levy referendum

The results have been counted and unfortunately our levy referendum failed to pass. We are understandably upset, but acknowledge that the majority of students were unwilling to support us at this time. We would like to thank all those students who voted— but especially those who voted yes.  Even with the results the way they are, the ASSU Executive is dedicated to continuing to work for our students in every capacity we can, including continuing to provide support and funding to our course unions. We are also dedicated to continuing to make our membership’s education more affordable, through our awards, bursaries, and undergraduate travel grants. We hoped to be able to expand these awards and services in the future, but for now we’ll endeavour to find creative ways to alleviate the financial and academic stress which is the daily toll of U of T students.

This levy marked the first time that the Arts and Science Students’ Union used the University of Toronto’s on-line voting system, and we were hoping for an increase in participation. The final votes cast are disappointing in light of the size of our membership, and show only a small increase compared to our last paper ballot in 2010. Regardless of whether students supported the levy or not, we were hoping to see more engaging numbers.

This levy offered a chance for our Course Unions to engage our membership on the critical issues that face Arts and Science Students, but most of the discussion we witnessed centred on events that have been in the news lately about one instructor on our campus. It is with rueful irony that the Executive witnessed our union –and levy referendum, come under attack for their choice to speak out on that issue.

We would like to thank the Chief Returning Officer, Jesse Berlin, and Deputy Returning Officer, Emma Hansen for their work –especially operating an in-person poll over the course of two days. If anyone has questions or concerns regarding the vote in any way, please contact our CRO at cro@assu.ca.

The results will be formally submitted to our regular ASSU Council Meeting on November 15th for approval.

In solidarity,

 

The Executive of the Arts and Science Students’ Union

ASSU Fee Referendum

Dear Arts & Science Students:

 
The Arts & Sciences Students’ Union (ASSU) will be holding a Referendum on Wednesday, November 2nd and Thursday, November 3rd to increase the ASSU fee by $3 per term.   The last ASSU Fee Referendum was 6 years ago in the fall of 2010.  Since then, with the additional money from that referendum, we were able to increase funding to Course Union, provide more programming for students, as well as create and increase the funds, bursaries, scholarships and awards we provide.

 

ASSU traditionally operates on a 5-year plan – we are currently in year 6 and with the growth of our programming and the increase in the number of Course Unions we support, we are now operating on a budget that far exceeds our income.  ASSU still continues to operate on one of the lowest student levies on campus, but to continue the services we provide, we are asking our students to support a fee increase.  As well, there will be a second referendum question asking for our student levy to rise with inflation, a practice that most student groups on campus (including UTSU, APUS, GSU, etc.) already have in place.

 

The ASSU Office provides many services to A&S students – including guidance and counselling, photocopying and faxing, a term test library, print services, cold pop and answering students’ questions.  ASSU contributes to the undergraduate student experience by funding over 65 departmental and program Course Unions so they can organize academic and social events for their students. Behind the scenes, ASSU has successfully lobbied the administration for services and policies that directly affect our students – such as, the option of CR-NCR courses, the ability to drop courses until the last day of classes without academic penalty, the policy about Repeating Passed Courses, the implementation of the Wait List, the 24hr Robarts Study Space, the Interest Relief on Outstanding Fees (until November), the Revised A&S Appeals Process, ensuring that students had other options beside Turnitin to prove their lack of plagiarism, and the review a number of syllabi to guarantee that key components—such as accessibility statements—become mandatory.
Over the past years, we—as an organization—have led and organized a multitude of events, programming, and academic talks.  In addition, we have created numerous new awards, bursaries, and scholarships. Over the last 6 years, we have increased the amount of money designated towards awards and bursaries from $15,000 to over $35,000. The last referendum allowed us to dedicate $8,500+ to establish the now widely-known ASSU Travel Grant Fund to alleviate the financial burden placed on undergraduates who are invited to conferences to present their academic work. Furthermore, we created two endowed scholarships worth a combined $150,000. Finally, to further promote academic excellence at the University, we have worked with the Dean’s Office—setting aside $10,000—to create a joint fund to finance undergraduate research. If this referendum is passed, we will continue to follow the same pattern to ensure that more financial aid is given back to students who need it.

 

Every full-time student is a member of at least one of our Course Unions and receives the benefit of being represented by them, as well as being able to attend their free events.  We have increased funding to Course Unions over the years so they can continue to provide social and academic opportunities for their students.  The number of Course Unions we now fund has increased by 11 since 2010, with two more new ones joining us this year.

 

ASSU plans to continue expanding on our established programming and the lobbying work we do. This includes our bi-annual Exam Jam de-stressers, and our academic talks which have in the past featured prominent individuals such as Ta-Nahesi Coates and Wab Kinew.  We continue to work with and lobby the Dean’s Office for improvements to policies affecting our students – such as access to comments from the online course evaluations.

 

Most notably, we held a joint referendum last year asking students if they preferred to have an actual Fall Reading Week (one that lasts an entire week), rather than the two days that are currently allotted to us. The referendum was successful, and we are now working with the Dean’s Office to ensure that this change in the calendar will be instituted in the next academic year.
We hope that you will show your support for the Arts & Science Students’ Union by VOTING YES on November 2nd and 3rd to increase the ASSU fee by $3 per term.

 

Sincerely,

 

The ASSU Executive

ASSU Fall Elections- Call for Nominations

Nominations are now open for the ASSU Fall Executive Elections

Nominations are now open for the two (2) vacant Executive Member positions.   Any Full-time, Arts & Science Student registered on the St. George campus, or ASSU-fee paying student can run for a position.

The ASSU Executive represents the academic concerns for over 23,000 full-time Arts & Science students on the St. George campus.  Their responsibilities include, but are not limited to – holding weekly office hours, attending Executive meetings every few weeks, reporting at ASSU Council Meetings, sitting on various ASSU committees, representing ASSU at Faculty meetings, working with and helping Course Unions, working on ASSU projects and any other academic concerns affecting A&S students that might come up during the year.

If you have the time commitment and the passion, why not consider running for the ASSU Executive!  Nomination forms are available in the ASSU Office. Nominations close on Friday, September 23rd at 5 pm and elections will take place on Monday, October 3rd at 5:30 pm.

ASSU’s new 2016-2017 Executive

2016-2017 ASSU Exec

 

Congratulations to the incoming 2016-2017 ASSU Executive!

At our council meeting on March 23rd, Course Union representatives elected the first of their 2016-2017 ASSU Executives. Two more Executives will be elected at the first council meeting of the Fall 2016 term.

The President-Elect of ASSU is Ondiek Oduor, who ran unopposed. Ondiek was first elected to ASSU at the Spring 2015 council elections.

Both Crystal Gao and Lisa Chen return to the Executive, after having been elected twice and three times before respectively.

Joining the ASSU Executive for the first time are Priyanka Sharma and Amani Bosibori Moragia. They join an already dedicated team who are looking forward to continuing the work of the Union over the summer and into the next academic year. 

ASSU EXECUTIVE BY-ELECTION STATEMENTS

Nicholas Grant

No statement submitted.

 

Stephanie Lim

My name is Stephanie Lim and I am a third year student pursuing a double major in Peace, Conflict and Justice Studies and Contemporary Asian Studies. I currently serve on the Contemporary Asian Studies Student Union in an executive capacity. In this capacity, I have become well acquainted with the functions and responsibilities of a course union; as well as the symbiotic relationship between ASSU and the course unions. If elected, I intend to work to further ameliorate this relationship, as well as that between ASSU and the greater U of T administration. Another initiative I hope to focus on this year is improving the first-year U of T experience.

The first-year at U of T can be an incredibly academically and socially period; however, with the proper support it can also be extremely rewarding and an opportunity for personal growth. In order to provide this support for first-year students I hope to pursue several initiatives at the beginning of the year such as:

· Creating a pamphlet with study-tips and information on fairly unknown but useful academic and personal resources available on campus

· Hosting a panel breaking down U of T governing structures and how first-year students can become more involved

· Host first-year specific mixers and events

In addition to these initiatives, if elected I’d also like to:

· increase funding to course unions

· streamline the process for applying for funding

· continue hosting fun stress-relieving events with refreshments

 

Alexander Verman

As a wise father figure of mine said “I’ll be there for you, I will care for you.”

That father figure was Drake, and it’s one I share; champagnepapi meets UofTpapi. I’m here to take care of students.

Writing for The Varsity for years, I’m tired of watching people politicking instead of working for their constituents. What I want is to help, by improving the daily academic lives of Arts and Science students at UofT.

That means making information about our classes accessible. I’d require course dropping dates and criteria on the first page of all syllabi, and for independent studies to produce a syllabus-like document that outlines expectations on student and staff participants, so no one ends up stressing over a class they didn’t want. I aim to secure administration funding for a physical anti-calendar for years to come, and to work with course unions to make our support easy to navigate for even the most sleep-deprived. I hope to begin developing a central UofT grad school service, where ASSU can work with and push the administration to develop a single site through which we can learn about and apply to graduate programs at UofT.

Lastly, I want to enhance ASSU events, advocacy, and accountability, drawing on my experience with the Association of Political Science Students executive, Jewish organizations on campus and the BDS coalition.

I know that this faculty can be tough to navigate alone; vote for a UofTpapi who’s here to take care of you.

 

ASSU Presents: The Internet’s Own Boy

ASSU is proud to host an exclusive screening of The Internet’s Own Boy, as part of disOrientation Week 2014. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the director, Brian Knappenberger. Join us on Friday, Oct 3rd at 7pm in SS2117.

“The Internet’s Own Boy follows the story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz. From Swartz’s help in the development of the basic internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit, his fingerprints are all over the internet.

But it was Swartz’s groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing combined with his aggressive approach to information access that ensnared him in a two-year legal nightmare. It was a battle that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26. Aaron’s story touched a nerve with people far beyond the online communities in which he was a celebrity.

This film is a personal story about what we lose when we are tone deaf about technology and its relationship to our civil liberties.”

https://www.facebook.com/events/767788589952653/?fref=ts

Reserve your spot today: www.bitly.com/1tkOUGf

Syllabus Project Report

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In the fall of 2013, ASSU received a number of reports of instructors not returning the required percentage of the final mark back to their classes in time for the drop date. Due to our close relationship with the Faculty of Arts and Science (FAS), and specifically the Office of the Dean, we were able to have these particular instances addressed. However, our executive team discussed the possibility that there could be other instances of policy non-compliance occurring unbeknownst to us because of a lack of policy knowledge amongst our constituents.

Out of this concern grew the idea for a review of course syllabi from across the Faculty, as a means of acquiring solid data regarding policy compliance instead of relying on anecdotal evidence in our discussions and lobbying efforts with the Faculty. As the syllabus is essentially a “contract” for the requirements of a course and the primary source of course-related information, ASSU recognizes the importance of these documents to students.

Our team began collecting syllabi through our course unions, personal contacts and by donating our own syllabi to the cause. We must acknowledge the support of Course Union executives who actively participated in the collection process. We were able to compile 93 syllabi from across the Faculty, representing a vast majority of program indicators, series level and both fall and full year courses.

During the spring semester of 2014, members of the ASSU executive committee analyzed these syllabi for compliance with mandatory FAS policy, standard practice regarding non-essential elements of course syllabi, and for other relevant information. We appreciate the invaluable contributions of executives Charles Dalrymple-Fraser, Branden Rizzuto and Mohammad Ali Saeed, who completed a majority of the data analysis for this project.

The following report outlines the findings of our review. We also offer some recommendations aimed at improving policy compliance and the overall quality of syllabi for students in the Faculty of Arts and Science.

ASSU FAS Syllabus Report 2013-2014

Exam Jam 2014 Edition

Exam Jam is the best way to get ready for finals

Exam Jam December 2013-1

Exam Jam  brings together some of the great resources on the St. George campus to help you get through the busy final exam and paper season. You don’t have to be an Arts and Science Student to participate, all of these free events are open to everyone. Come get a massage, make a button, munch on some healthy snacks, and attend a review session.

Exam Jam 2014 edition will take place on Monday April 7th in Sidney Smith Hall from 11-3.

Exam Jam is a collaboration between the Faculty of Arts and Science, the Arts and Science Students’ Union (ASSU), and many others to provide a fun and productive environment to get ready for finals.  Check out the Exam Jam website often as new instructors and classes are added to the list of review sessions.

Exam Jam December 2013-2

Exam Jam is not just about cramming for that final test, but about taking some time to have fun and de-stress before the exam period begins.

Exam Jam December 2013-3

And why not pet a cute dog?

Exam Jam December 2013-4

Yeah, that seems like a great idea.

For more information check out the Exam Jam website.