By: Srijani Datta, Assistant News Editor
On January 2, 2019, the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) will begin providing a broad range of services and support for the students of Fraser International College (FIC). The agreement between the SFSS and FIC has been reached after years of FIC students expressing their interest in acquiring access to SFSS services.
FIC student residents originally approached the Residence Hall Association (RHA) requesting the issue be addressed by the SFSS Council. Following the request, a recommendation to evaluate a possible partnership was made at the SFSS Board of Directors meeting held in May 2017.
The agreement to deliver SFSS services to FIC students was unanimously passed on April 7, 2018.
Under this new agreement, FIC students will have access to services such as the Women’s Centre, Out on Campus, food bank services, free legal clinics, SFSS spaces on campus, and other SFSS services.
FIC students, however, will not be members of the SFSS and thus will still not be able to vote in the student society elections.
Sharla Reid, college director and principal of FIC, and Martin Wyant, Chief Executive Officer of the SFSS, spoke with The Peak about the importance of this agreement in creating a strong inclusive community on the university campus.
Wyant mentioned that he had wanted to collaborate with FIC ever since he got to know about them: “I went for a walk one day and saw a place where all these students were mingling around, and I was told they were FIC students. Once I learned about FIC I was immediately interested to see how we could work together,” he said.
Reid explained that opening such services will make FIC students feel welcome to the community and campus. She also mentioned that delivering these services early on, when the students arrive at FIC, will help in their transitioning from FIC to SFU after graduation.
“[This agreement] will bring transparency, inclusivity, and create a strong community,” – Sharla Reid, college director and principal of FIC
According to Wyant, the reason why this agreement has only now been made official is that, “historically, FIC students could and were availing some of the SFSS services. We did not disallow their participation. But this agreement gives recognition to their participation.”
“Even though FIC students could participate in the community events, we could not advertise [these] events at FIC,” said Reid, concerning why an official agreement was eventually formed. “This agreement does away with any grey area and helps make FIC students feel more welcomed into the larger community.”
The agreement is still undergoing development, with the details of the plans still being worked on. The required increase in services provided by the SFSS to accommodate the influx of FIC students will be subsidized by an amount taken from the tuition fees for FIC students. The exact cost of the services for FIC students is still under review.
Both Reid and Wyant expressed great enthusiasm in working together towards creating a stronger student community where everyone feels welcome.