In addition to St. Clair’s Student Representative Council (SRC) having a portion of its “financial rug” pulled out from under it by the provincial Conservative government’s Student Choice Initiative, the fee-funding of the college’s Alumni Association is threatened by the same policy this fall.
In January, the Conservatives announced that many previously mandatory, student-paid fees at postsecondary institutions would be made optional.
The new policy arose from a perception – rightly or wrongly – that many of the fees were excessive, and were funding project and programs that the majority of students might not regularly use or endorse.
The SRC has launched the “It’s a tiny investment for HUUUUUGE benefits” information campaign to urge students to retain their “membership” in the organization – and access to its services – by not opting-out of the now optional $50 annual fee. (See http://www.stclair-src.org/member-advantages/)
The Alumni Association – its funding now also generated by a non-mandatory, opt-out-able, annual $50 fee – will be promoting its services too: not only to graduates of the college, but to the currently enrolled students who will be invited to pay the fee.
During its yearly report to the college’s Board of Governors (BofG) on June 25, the Association unveiled a video describing those services to students. It can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/St.ClairAlumni/videos/1049518195236938/
In their presentation to the BofG, Association President Andrew Rowberry and Director Marianne Burke explained that the group regularly provides grant-funding to campus clubs for their projects, field trips and academic competitions – approximately $30,000 in such funding last year.
The Association also support current students (as opposed to just grads) with scholarships and bursaries, a sponsorship of the Saints Gaming e-sports team, by providing assistance to international students, and by grant support of the college’s planned construction of a new Academic Tower.
Also making its annual report to the BofG during the June 25th meeting was the college’s fundraising Foundation.
Concentrating on its helping hand to students too, Foundation President Charlie Hotham reported that the organization received 1,450 applications for scholarships and bursaries in 2018-19 – a gigantic, 57 percent increase over the previous year.
Thankfully, from the community (private individuals, businesses and organizations), it had secured 22 new scholarship donors last year. Combined with existing, long-term scholarships, the Foundation was able to dole out $535,000 in assistance to 750 recipients in 2018-19. “It’s never enough, but we were pretty impressed by what we were able to do,” Hotham said.