Irene Lo / The Peak

Board negotiates SFSS involvement in Student Experience Initiative with SFU

Vice-president university relations Jackson Freedman presented an update to the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) Board regarding the SFSS’s ongoing negotiations with the university on the Student Experience Initiative (SEI). According to Freedman, the university passed a $9 million fund a couple of years ago for the SEI to help “move the needle” on the student experience. The initiative involves eight working groups centred around increasing student engagement and building a sense of community within the university.

     In negotiations with the university, Freedman reported that the SFSS had expressed a concern regarding the fact that there is only one student appointed per working group, and an interest in increasing SFSS involvement with the initiative: “If you think of some of the names of the working groups, they very much align with some of what we’re doing at the SFSS already. So I think what we wanna do is find ways to further integrate the SFSS [. . .] the fact that there’s one student on each working group doesn’t make a heck of a lot of sense,” he said.  

     The SFSS has reportedly been contacted by the university to begin appointing student representatives to these working groups, but faced difficulties when requesting more money from the university: “When we make the request for money they say, ‘well, the money’s already been committed,’ but it hasn’t been spent yet. So we want to find a way to get more student influence over how that money’s spent.”

     He added, “We’ve made the ask recently for the addition or creation of an entirely new working group with access to budget from the university so that we can eventually lead initiatives of our own.”

     “It’s been a challenge.”