Presidential address


Dear fellow UTM students,

I hope this letter finds you well. Though the weather this summer has continuously shifted in a menagerie of blue skies to gray, I hope you have all taken advantage of the warm and sunny days and enjoyed your summer vacation. For those of you who took summer school, I hope you have had a relaxing break before the beginning of this fall term.

My name is Joey Santiago, and I am the President of the UTM Students Union for this school year. On behalf of the 2009/2010 UTM Students Union Executives and Directors, I would like to thank you all for voting and making the March 2009 UTMSU Elections a success. We look forward to fulfilling our campaign goals for the year and strive to further increase voter turnout for the years ahead.

Your UTMSU Executive team is as follows: Carole Au Yeung as VP Internal & Services, Maria Pilar Galvez as VP University Affairs & Academics, Ibrahim Hindy as VP Part-Time Affairs, Henry Ssali as VP External, Vickita Bhatt as VP Equity, and Andrew Lalla as your VP Campus Life. In addition, your UTMSU Directors are Sarah Minhas, Nabeel Jafri, Hibba Amin, Sunil Shah, Natasha Chopra, Shahid Hassan, Amna Noor, Ali Karim, Mazin Hassan, Grayce Yuen and Thomas Kristan. Feel free to approach any of these individuals if you have any inquiries regarding anything about the UTMSU or UTM!

To the first year students who have just arrived at our campus — congratulations! I know it can be an overwhelming experience, but hang in there! The campus gets smaller, the classes get easier and the professors become friendlier as the weeks go by. With that said, however, the next four years will be the toughest youve yet to experience. But in those next four years youre going to learn a whole lot inside and outside the classroom. Youll obtain skills that will help you in the real world, youll work towards a world-class degree, and most importantly, youll make friends that youll treasure for the rest of your life.

Orientation Week has been a great success. I wish to thank all the incoming first year students who participated in the week and I hope you all had fun. I also want to thank our Orientation staff, committee and volunteers for all their hard work in the past four months to make sure that Orientation week became the amazing event that it was!

I would like to inform everyone of two important changes happening on our campus this year:

With parking fees frozen this year (remaining at the same rate as last years), the construction of two new facilities on campus creates a whole new dynamic regarding fees.  The construction of these two structures have taken away valuable resources to the common UTM driver – places to park. This essentially leaves students to choose between Unreserved and Reserved parking spaces, effectively eliminating any reason to buy a Premium Unreserved parking pass.

The elimination of parking spaces will also mean our parking lots will be constantly full. Your UTM Students Union will, with no doubt, fight for a reduction in parking fees for the 2010-2011 academic year. We will also put pressure on the UTM Administration and Parking Services to ensure that there is a long-term plan to accommodate parking for all drivers at UTM. If you would like to express your concerns regarding parking, please contact Parking Services.

As many of you are aware, our UTM library, the Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Centre, launched the 24/5 Study Space Pilot Project in 2006. This was a three-year project funded through the Provosts Office, called the Provost Experience Fund. As of April of this year, the project was discontinued, and the Provosts Office has decided that they will no longer proceed to provide funding for it. For this academic year, the Library will no longer offer 24/5 study space.

At the UTMSU, we are lobbying for the University of Toronto Administration to continue to provide funding for this essential service. Being students ourselves, we know that it is crucial to have a study space available at least 24/5. Your concerns and opinions regarding the 24/5 Study Space Program are highly regarded, so please contact the UTM library if you have any to express.

Feel free to contact myself at [email protected] for any inquiries you may have. The Executives and I are always in the Student Centre, so please feel free to visit us at the UTMSU office (also known as the Yellow Room) if you have any questions, concerns, suggestions or want to get involved to enhance the student experience. You can keep yourself updated with UTMSUs services and improvements by visiting and you can also join the Facebook group, UTMs Student Union (UTMSU) for updates.

I wish all of you the best of luck in the upcoming academic session and I hope to see you all very soon!

Warmest regards,

Joey Santiago