Most academic societies operate within a narrow sphere, mainly by reaching out to students in their program and trying to benefit them.
The Undergraduate Economics Council has a different plan: it wants to push economics further into the everyday culture of UTM.
Founded in 2006, the council did not so much emerge as re-emerge: although an academic society for economics students had existed before 2006, the group fell into obscurity for years. Three years ago, it was finally restructured, instigating an invigorated attempt to not only attend to the needs of the vast population of economics students, but to reach out to other academic disciplines.
The councils primary objective is to create a strong connection between the economics faculty, administration and students at UTM. Due to the success of last years meet the professors night, the council hopes to organise a similar event for meeting professors and TAs on November 4. They also hope to host a meet-the-alumni night to inform students about what awaits them after graduation.
UEC president Lavan Puvaneswaran hopes to go further. He imagines seminars held by the council — with the help of the UTM Career Centre — featuring professors and professionals as keynote speakers to cover topics such as research in the field, current events in the economic community and investment banking sessions. Lavan noted that the facultys support and encouragement of student-faculty interaction have been very helpful.
UEC hopes to take advantage of campus resources such as the Lee Koon Chun Financial Centre to prepare students for the workplace.
I think that the centre will be a lot of help in the future. We want to run a currency trading workshop, perhaps a stock trading workshop, said Lavan. The financial centre is well-equipped with sophisticated financial analysis and stimulation software, live data feeds from the financial community and more than thirty work stations.
The UEC faces its share of problems, such as the task of accommodating the needs of students with various backgrounds. Economics specialists, for example, obtain a degree in science while economics majors get a degree in arts. This makes it difficult to accommodate each students career goals.
The UEC wants to reach out to all students outside of the economics field. Everyone needs a bit of economics information. Everyone needs to know about concepts like supply and demand, theyre everywhere. Its just part of everyday life, said Lavan, who envisions seminars in which students studying both environment science or economics can exchange opinions and inform themselves of each others perspective.
Some may say that economic growth and environmental stability is a dream shared by people who dont know enough about either field. Lavan disagrees. I saw David Suzuki speak last year and what he had to say makes a lot of sense. He said that we have to support our economy, but in a sustainable way. We need to have both if we want to succeed in the future. Theres no other option.
The UEC encourages new members or volunteers. Check out their website at http://www.uecutm.ca or drop by their office in 1146B in the South Building.