New association members
By Elliott Platt
McMaster University became a member of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance, a provincial lobbying group, on Tuesday.
"The student population did not want the [Canadian Federation of Students], so we had two options to lobby independently or join another lobbying group," said Fayez Quereshy, president of the McMaster Student Union.
Over the summer, Burke Christian, VP-external at McMaster, was given the task of evaluating the concepts of practising lobbying. "OUSA was the best choice," he said.
Quereshy said OUSA would give the university a forum to interact and collaborate with other provincial student leaders. "[It would] amplify the student opinion to the provincial government and Ontario public and provide political knowledge and lobby strategies," he said.
According to Quereshy, McMaster is becoming an associate member this year, as opposed to a full member. "It will cost the university between $5,000 and $10,000, although the final terms have not been reached. We are testing the water and if we don't like it we will pull out and become an independent lobby group."
Christian said McMaster joined OUSA for a variety of reasons. "The CFS was under-represented. OUSA was more member-driven and allowed McMaster to develop its own campaign and OUSA is more pragmatic, whereas the CFS is more radical."
"The organization grows stronger with more members," said Nick Iozzo, VP-education for Western's University Student's Council.
"McMaster is well respected in the province and the students' council is very active politically," he added.
Bishop's University recently joined the Canadian Alliance of Students Association, a federal lobbying group with a similar mandate to OUSA. "Bishop's has never been represented on a national level and CASA fits our needs better," said Eric Bergeron, the Students Representative Council president.
Hoops Harrison, national director of CASA, said Bishop's small population does not allow their message to get out effectively.
CASA supports about 275,000 students and is an effective alternative to address the needs of students at Bishop's, Harrison added.