State of the USC 2018
Music, Poutine & Student PoliticsJohn Urban
The State of the USC address took place on Wednesday evening from the UCC Atrium. With the USC being one of the biggest not-for-profits in the city of London, the evening was a great opportunity for the up to roughly 30,000 Western students to see what those 49 elected representatives have accomplished and stay informed regarding the plans being made that will directly affect them.
Adding to the flare of the event was an opening musical performance by CAMIE and closing performance from John Muirhead, food was even provided with a complimentary poutine bar and prizes were being given away to audience members at the end of the evening.
President Mitchell Pratt took the stage around 5:55pm to welcome everyone in attendance, recognize the hard work of his executive, as well as proclaim the importance of sexual violence education and pedestrian safety, issues his administration has been working towards over the last 6 months.
Despite each student supplying $867 each to the USC that goes towards things such as the: Student Health Plan, Bus Pass and Student Wellness Centre, only 22% of students voted in last year’s election. An issue Pratt addressed, motioning to his administration’s efforts to bringing students attentions to the USC and ‘getting students a seat at the table’.
Key Projects that Mitchell Pratt was proud to announce that have been put forth were: Purple Fest, Discovery Credits, Freedom of Expression Committee and Open Office Hours. Purple Fest was one of the largest concerts to take place at a Canadian University which featured EDM and Hip Hop artists, unfortunately it only put a small dent into the FOCO Celebrations that took place on Broughdale Avenue on September 29th. Discovery Credits has been an idea roughly two years in the making, however many students complained that they are limited in being able to exploit Discovery Credits during their time being educated and that's it's a far cry from what they envisioned.
Pratt went on to discuss other accomplishments over the last 6 months such as: the 16,000 club memberships by students, the sexual violence prevention education which was provided to all elected representatives, the revival of governance and the revamp/redesign of the USC webpage “to be more accountable for all students.”
With 6 months left in the tenure of this administration and the 2019 USC Election just mere months away, Pratt also brought up things to look forward to such as: mental health initiatives, Thames Hall renovations and Cannabis Policy consultation with the legalization enacted since October 17th. Major issues on the horizon include Broughdale Avenue, which Pratt stressed shouldn’t just be a point of discussion around the Fall months. That student safety, along with students respecting the community around them go hand in hand with the issue. Along with the continual fight against sexual violence on campus and around the community, by approaching local bar managers to discuss what could be done to make students feel safer. Finally, building and then maintaining the relationship with Amit Chakma’s replacement, as inevitably the University of Western will soon have a new President.
The event was livestreamed on the USC’s Facebook Page for those who were unable to attend, as well as an online interaction with those outside of the UCC via Twitter.