It’s that time of year again; the second semester is in full swing, clubs are getting back into gear, and some of us are looking to the future.
But for all the fast-pacedness of university life, let’s take a step back for a moment and focus on the present. There are a lot of issues taking place on our campus that you might be surprised to learn about.
Take, for instance, the new greenhouse being built close to the library—did you know that its budget is over $3 million?
Or how about the second refugee student that UTMSU plans to sponsor this year. Although the Syrian national hasn’t arrived yet, we’ve learned that it costs about $60,000 to sponsor a student through the WUSC program and UTMSU is allocating the surplus from its WUSC levy to cover the entire cost of the sponsorship. Kudos to UTMSU for such a responsible decision for a very respectable cause.
I could go on, mentioning, for example, Will Huggon’s comments this week in the article on healthy living, about students who visit him in office hours exhausted while looking ahead and preparing for graduate studies.
“They say that it’s to have a good job and life,” he says, adding that in his view, the answer “is to have a good life—not in the future, but right now”.
This last point about students’ wellbeing is an issue in itself, but is frequently overlooked because it is just so common among students today. And many of us are so caught up in the never-ending cycle of assignments, tests, midterms, and exams that it’s hard to notice what’s going on outside of our cocoons. But there’s a lot, if we look for it.
I will stop here for a moment to thank Alexander Nunez for his letter this week in response to our article last issue about Zumba and cultural appropriation. I appreciate Nunez’s letter not only because he took the time to contribute to our newspaper, but because he stopped to take notice of an issue, reflect on it, and put forward a thoughtful response. How many of us can say we’ve done the same?
Well, it’s not too late and it doesn’t take a lot to notice issues and contribute a little time towards them. If you haven’t yet heard, The Medium is holding its very own annual general meeting this Thursday at 4 p.m. in the Presentation Room of the Student Centre.
We’re legally required to hold this meeting to present our financials to our members—you, and all UTM students who pay fees to us—and appoint our auditors. But that’s not all; our annual general meeting (AGM, for short) is an opportunity for students and the people here at The Medium to get together and talk about what we do, what’s working, what’s not working, and what directions we can take in the future. So here are a couple of reasons why we’d like you to join us.
You paid for it
As I mentioned, UTM students pay a levy to us each year that allows us to publish our paper, pay our staff, and cover all the expenses of our corporation. The Medium levy is $3.63 per semester, or $7.26 per year.
It’s important for us to hold an AGM for the express reason that we have to explain to you, our members, how we’ve been spending our funding. If you have any questions about it, this is your opportunity to ask.
We want to meet you
Believe it or not, the staff here at The Medium is curious to know who our readers are. What do you like to read about? What do you NOT like to read about? How do you find our coverage overall? Do you have any suggestions for improvement?
You guessed it: we won’t know the answer to any of these questions unless you tell us. And I would personally be delighted to know that you took the time to read our paper and think about ways that we can improve.
Our staff will also be available to answer questions you may have in mind. Do you want to know how to get involved at The Medium? How to volunteer for us? How to improve your writing? How to run for our elections?
The AGM is a great place to talk to us in person and meet the people behind the sections you see each week.
Announcement of winners
We’ll also be announcing the winners of our Writing & Photo Contest, which ended last weekend. So, if you submitted an entry, you can find out if you won! If you didn’t submit one, you can come to cheer on your friends and support the arts as a whole.
Vote on changes
Yes, you actually have a vote at this meeting. There are some updates we’re looking to make to our constitution and we can’t do it without your help! We need 40 people to reach quorum—which doesn’t sound like a lot, but ask us how many times we’ve reached it in recent years. In other words, your attendance matters a great deal.
Also, we don’t do proxies. So if you want to vote, you have to do it in person.
Show us you care
In all honesty, one of the major challenges of running a student newspaper is finding ways to publish stories that will catch students’ interest. There are a lot of things that happen on this campus that students should be aware of, but it seems that a lot of us are too busy to take notice. Coming to our AGM is one simple way you can show that you care about your student newspaper—and we will really appreciate it.
If nothing else has convinced you so far, at least rest assured that you won’t need to pack a lunch that day or buy one on campus. The Medium will have you covered.
All in all, we really hope you come out and bring along some friends. We look forward to seeing you!