Summer is generally a time of relaxation, but not for the Brandon University Students’ Union.
With the new executive’s term in office having begun May 1st, BUSU is already preparing for the next school year, which is only a little over three months away. For new Vice-President Internal Matthew May, the summer months, as well as the school year following, will be especially busy. May, a fourth-year Faculty of Music student, has recently been appointed Brandon University’s representative on the Manitoba provincial executive of the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS).
The Canadian Federation of Students is a union that provides students across the country with “an effective and united voice, provincially and nationally” that advocates for students in over eighty universities and colleges across Canada.
As a representative from BU’s division, Local 37, May’s new CFS duties are quite comparable to those expected of him as VPI, he said. “If there [are] any problems with the CFS services on the Brandon side of things, I would report back to them to see what we can do to fix it. I also keep them informed of everything that’s going on in Brandon—anything from orientation [to] staffing issues with BUSU. I’m basically the liaison between BUSU and CFS.”
Reporting at provincial meetings usually held in Winnipeg, he will hear concerns voiced by other CFS provincial executive members from other post-secondary institutions across the province, including St. Boniface, University of Winnipeg, and University of Manitoba.
One of the most important things CFS does for students is being “a student voice on a provincial and national level,” May said. “[…] They’re the one body that’s mainly fighting tuition fee increases […] As well as being in arguments and debates and discussion with the government about tuition increases on a broader scale than BUSU does.” May also believes the Federation’s services are of great importance, like the Student Handbook, Student Identity Card, the Studentsaver Card, and the National Student Health Network.
All of the services provided by CFS are available to Brandon University students simply through the payment of compulsory annual student fees. However, much of the BU population remains unaware of these benefits, something May is determined to change.
“One of the things that I’m going to do as the local representative is make [CFS services] known.” Planning to focus his energy as VPI on “advertisement, on a BUSU level and a CFS level,” May is “going to try to make all the services known” in order to give students “their money’s worth” in the coming year.
Although it’s too early to know for sure, May hinted that he may be interested in reprising his role after his yearly term is over, as he is “super excited for this opportunity.”
Appointed CFS Manitoba Representative at BUSU’s previous council meeting held May 22nd, May is not the sole BU influence on the board. Krystal Kayne, BU’s Part-Time and Mature Students Commissioner, has come to hold the same position with CFS Manitoba, and BU’s Residence Commissioner Cameron Flamand has become Aboriginal Commissioner at CFS, as well. Neither Kane nor Flamand were nominated by the BUSU council, but rather attended a CFS AGM earlier this summer to demonstrate their interest in the Federation, and acquired their positions afterward.
BU students that sat on the CFS Manitoba executive last year include former President Carissa Taylor and current Racialised Commissioner Manuel Godoy, who acted as Local 37 Representative and Racialised Commissioner, respectively.