On May 24, 2003, AUSU will be hosting our 10th anniversary Annual General Meeting in Edmonton. We hope many students will be in attendance. So you may be wondering, what is an AGM and why is this one special?
As an organization incorporated under Alberta’s Societies Act* we are required by law to have an Annual General Meeting each year. This is done to make an accounting to our members, particularly regarding the financial statements for the previous fiscal year. It is also the only occasion, besides elections, where each student member of AUSU is allowed to vote.
This year students will be voting on two main items. The first is the adoption of the financial statements for the fiscal year 2001-2002. Students will have the opportunity to review the financial statements and ask questions of the VP Finance.
The second is the approval of a new set of bylaws. Bylaws are the foundation of any organization, and AUSU has been working with bylaws created when we first became an organization back in 1992. Although these were revised in 1996, many of the articles are outdated and no longer applicable to how we conduct our business. During the last few years, several attempts have been made to write new bylaws, but unfortunately each set was far too detailed and unwieldy and we kept ending up back at the “drawing board”.
After doing some research into the whole bylaw process and examining the structure of our board, we decided that simplicity was the key. Our goal became to create a streamlined set of bylaws; one that covers only the basic, most important issues of board governance. The only things that should be defined in bylaws are items that we are not likely to change in the near future. All other matters will be defined in policy. After many months of work by the legislative committee and AUSU Council, we finally have a proposed set of bylaws that will be on the agenda for the AGM. To view a pdf document of the proposed bylaws, click here (http://www.ausu.org/agm/proposed_bylaws.pdf) [you will require the free Acrobat reader to use this file. See the Voice pdf archives page for information on obtaining this program.]
Student members of AUSU who are in attendance at the AGM will have the opportunity to discuss these bylaws, and amendments can be suggested before they are approved.
This AGM, of course, is of special interest since it represents our 10th anniversary. AUSU was incorporated in late 1992 by a group of students who worked alongside the university to create a student union that would be an independent advocate for students, and our first AGM was held in November 1993. Since its inception, AUSU has undergone many transitions and suffered many growing pains. Our organization has had a sometimes turbulent history, but a very interesting one, and we will be presenting a brief history and overview of the first 10 years at the AGM.
Council reports are also a feature of the AGM. Each Council member will be presenting a report of their activities over the past year, along with their plans and goals for the future of AUSU. Students in attendance will have the opportunity to question Council members and offer suggestions regarding what they would like to see from their student union. You can check out the AGM reports from the 2000-2001 meeting, held in September of 2002, here (http://www.ausu.org/agm/agmbooklet02.pdf).
We are also very pleased to have AU President Dominique Abrioux, and AU Acting VP Academic, Judith Hughes, in attendance this year. Both Dominique and Judith were part of the AU community when AUSU was formed ten years ago, and they have provided invaluable support and guidance through the years. This is your opportunity to meet them both!
After the AGM, we will be holding an informal reception, including a light supper and cash bar, at which students will have an opportunity to socialize. Keep watching the AGM page (http://www.ausu.org/agm/) as details are finalized regarding location and events planned.
Please join us for this very special 10th Anniversary Annual General Meeting!
Debbie Jabbour, President
Athabasca University Students’ Union
*AUSU is governed by the Societies’ Act currently, rather than the Universities’ Act. Neither Athabasca University nor the University of Lethbridge are part of the Universities’ Act, but exist through a government Order in Council. AU has made application for inclusion in the Universities’ Act, an important move which will place all four of Alberta’s universities under the same regulations. This is expected to occur during the fall of 2003. At that time, AUSU’s legal status will also be affected, since we will be included under the Universities’ Act as well. Details on the Universities’ Act are available at: http://www.qp.gov.ab.ca/Documents/acts/U03.CFM