January 23, 2021

By RYAN HORNE

Students had the chance to pitch some of their own ideas and thoughts to Conestoga Students Inc. (CSI) at their annual general meeting (AGM) on Oct. 19.

CSI gave their yearly report in front of a sparse crowd of approximately 20 people in the Sanctuary, which was surprisingly triple the number who usually attend the AGM.

The few students who did attend were informed about issues and concerns relevant to the student body at Conestoga College.

One of the most controversial issues of the evening was the possible initiation of a U-Pass.  Students would have to pay a fee as part of their tuition which would make their student card a year-round bus pass as well.  CSI has been considering this for the past three years and said it would be considerably cheaper than buying a separate bus pass. A Grand River Transit (GRT) four-month term pass currently costs $204.  CSI president Ciara Byrne said they’re not sure how much their version of the U-Pass would cost.
“If we ever do a referendum we would have an estimate of the price for the students to know,” said Byrne.

Reaction from students at the meeting was mixed.  Some thought it would be beneficial while others viewed it as another unnecessary expense.  The main issue with the U-Pass was the inability to opt-out.

“Students can’t opt-out of it because it wouldn’t be profitable for GRT,” said CSI director Lisa Steele.

In other meeting news, auditor Tim Sutherland spoke about CSI’s financial situation and said he gave the organization a “clean auditors report.” He said CSI had $1.7 million in net equity and that he was happy with the state of their records.

CSI has been putting money into renovations for the Den, formally known as the upper Sanctuary, which is slated to re-open in a month according to Byrne.  The Den will be a multi-purpose room for studying, watching TV and movies and playing video games.

“It will be very multi-functional for students if you just need to chill or go study with a group,” said Byrne.

CSI also fended off some complaints about the new Cambridge campus.  General concerns with lack of advertisements for events and activities as well as an overall feeling that the state-of-the-art building was incomplete have been well documented so far this year.

“I know a lot of Cambridge students are disappointed with us right now,” said Byrne.  “We are going to promise to make sure your experience at Cambridge is the best that it can be.”

First-year business marketing student, Paul Bernardo, wants to see the simpler things in life such as individual shower stalls in the rec centre change rooms and going back to some old-school supplies.

“I haven’t been in school for 12 years, but I was just wondering what happened to pencil sharpeners in the classroom?” joked Bernardo.

However, there were students who had some big hopes and dreams for improvements. These included more seating in the F-wing, another Tim Hortons and even installing a full-sized pool. CSI directors said they appreciated all the feedback and hope this type of communication with students can continue to happen in the future.

“That’s what CSI wants from all our students,” said director Trish Crompton.  “We want you guys to feel like you can come and do your thing and get the best out of your education.”

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