AUSU COUNCIL MEETING – July 19, 2004 – Student Coverage

Highlights of the July 19th Council Meeting

The July 19th AUSU council meeting saw a proposal from the AUSU Marketing/PR Committee, who are looking to update and redesign the AUSU website. The committee will solicit student input on the accessibility, content, and navigation problems of the current site, before creating a new layout for ausu.org. The committee will submit their testing by a forum topic, a chat room focus group, and a student survey. Students are encouraged to submit their suggestions upon the given opportunities, as well as by submitting comments directly to the AUSU via email.

The council went on to evaluate and discuss several internal issues, such as balancing the responsibilities of former council member Stacey Steele, the need for additional staffing in AUSU office, and scholarship distribution [editor’s note:. More information on the staff and councillor departures will be posted on the AUSU website front page in the next day or so].

The council discussed possible methods of distributing the monetary awards such as scholarships, including depositing the amount directly to the Registrar’s office, thereby contributing directly to the scholar’s tuition fees, instead of the standard issued cheque.

The meeting became quite excited as the council discussed the AUSU 2004 Student Handbook/Planners. While the current organizers are printed in conjunction with Athabasca University, AUSU has no formal contract with AU, and wishes to cancel the partnership to print an AUSU student planner. While concerns include printer costs and contracts, and the time in which it will take staff to update the pages and content, the new planners will be AUSU-focused, and more applicable to distance-ed students. The new planners will be smaller, and are anticipated to begin shipment on January 1st, 2005.

Council meetings have been shorter and more sporadic over the early summer months, and reports are also briefer. This has been due, in part, to a plan for council to move along with a lot of old business by meeting more frequently and addressing a few issues at a time. Council reporters have not been available for all meetings. Starting next month, council should be moving back to a once per month schedule, as the briefer meetings of the last several weeks have been very productive and have cleared many old items off the agenda.

Included this week is this report from one of the early summer meetings, on May 17th, again reported by Stephanie Antscherl.

Highlights of the May 17th Council Meeting
Stephanie Antscherl

This month’s meeting started off on a fairly light and informal tone, as the new AUSU student council easily settled into their first council meeting via teleconference. Strategies were discussed regarding promotion of the AU Student Union to new students, and getting more Tutor Profiles on the AUSU website.

Perhaps the most important issue discussed at the meeting was the lack of commitment from the AU Access to Students with Disabilities (ASD) department re: their urgent request for volunteers. It seems as though there is a lot of misdirection and confusion within the organization – plenty of students have been signing up to volunteer, and have since been given menial tasks at offices, or worse yet, have never even received follow-up or confirmation of their registration.

As the presentation of this issue went on, several AUSU council members submitted their own experiences in regards to the lack of activity from the ASD volunteer request, and a lively discussion ensued as it was revealed that there are many disabled students at AU who desperately need the aid of volunteers, and at present are being told that there are no volunteers, when in actuality, there are plenty of people waiting to volunteer, and in some cases even being falsely told that there are no opportunities available. The council firmly resolved to take firm action, and contact attempts will be made to resolve this situation.

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