For those of you who are new to UVic, or are otherwise unaware, this campus has a particularly active political culture. Aside from the UVSS board of directors, the Students’ Union Building (SUB) houses the Native Students Union and four advocacy groups. Each of these collectives advocates for specific communities who may face different sociopolitical and cultural challenges on campus and the greater Victoria area. The common goal of each group is to create spaces on campus where students feel safe and included, as well as to provide advocacy, representation, and events. Many of the groups also provide additional on- and off-campus services to students.
Each group’s doors are open to new members, as well as to volunteers looking to assist with the continued provision of their services and resources. However, it is important to note that membership and/or participation in each of these groups is based on a student’s own self-identity, rather than outwards physical attributes. While these spaces do operate on the ideal of inclusivity, please be mindful — if you don’t identify with the group in question, be sure to ask before entering their space.
NATIVE STUDENTS UNION
Room: SUB B023
Membership: A UVic undergrad or graduate student, or alumnus of self-identified Indigenous ancestry (First Nations, Métis, Inuit) who registers with the NSU.
According to their website, the NSU “works to empower Indigenous students to benefit from the learning experiences available at UVic.”
The union has two separate spaces on campus: one in the First Peoples House and one in the SUB. Their room in the SUB features computers, a printer, a kitchen, couches, and a small library. Throughout the school year, the NSU hosts a variety of events, from workshops and lectures to movie nights and feasts.
As a student-run collective, the main purposes of the Union are to
THE THIRD SPACE
Room: SUB B107
Membership: A self-identified woman, or non-binary, or gender-fluid person who is either a registered student, faculty, staff, alumnus, or community member at large who subscribes to the purposes of the centre.
Formerly known as the UVic Women’s Centre, the Third Space provides various services on campus, including a safe space, for female, non-binary, and gender fluid identifying people. The space is collectively run, and the resources offered to students include: peer support, a library, workshops, health resources, a drop-in space, as well as numerous community initiatives and events throughout the year.
The main purposes of the Third Space are to
The Third Space found itself amongst our pages quite a bit over the past year: it officially transitioned from the UVic Women’s Centre, saw a turnover in staffing, and temporarily closed. Read more about summer at the Third Space, and why the centre changed its name.
Room: SUB B010
Membership: All queer and queer-friendly registered students, faculty, and staff at UVic, as well as queer and queer-friendly community members.
UVic Pride boasts many unique services and resources geared towards trans, queer, and intersex students on campus and members of the surrounding community. The collective hosts numerous social and advocacy events throughout the year. Some of their resources services include a lending library, resource programs (such as binders, transfeminine shoes, packers, breast forms, and safer sex supplies), a communal kitchen, and a private (gender neutral) washroom. Further services include advocacy, education, referral services, peer support, skill development, and workshops.
The goals of the Collective are to
As with each of the other advocacy groups UVic Pride receives a small portion of student tuition fees each semester to cover resource costs. Last fall, the Collective put forth a referendum proposing a student fee increase of 74 cents per full-time student per semester (from 95 cents per full-time student). The referendum ultimately failed to pass. You can read more about it here.
STUDENTS OF COLOUR COLLECTIVE
Room: SUB B020
Membership: A self-identified person of colour, self-identified Indigenous person, and/or self-identified person of mixed race.
Through awareness raising, action, and support, the SOCC works to empower people of colour by “providing resources and support to individuals and groups, and by actively working against oppression based on colonization, race, gender, class, ability, nationality, and language.” In order to do so, the SOCC provides anti-racist education and activism on and off campus.
In fostering a safe environment on campus for self-identified persons of colour, the primary purposes of the SOCC are to
SOCIETY FOR STUDENTS WITH A DISABILITY
Room: SUB B111
Membership: A member of the UVSS or GSS at UVic, and who self-identifies as a person with a disability.
The SSD promotes the full participation and inclusion of students self-identified with disabilities at UVic. The Society promotes both the accommodation of individual students on campus, as well as the “systemic changes to the University that will make post-secondary education more accessible and socially just.” Furthermore, the SSD offers a respite room in the SUB for students who find themselves in need of some peace and quiet.
Led by self-identified students with disabilities, the five main purposes of the Society are to
Not much has happened in the way of breaking news at the SSD in the past year (as far as we’re aware). However, they do have a number of upcoming and recurring events scheduled for this fall, such as community luncheons, morning coffee, and peer support and wellness sessions.
The UVSS Board of Directors (BoD) is the collective decision-making body of the Students’ Society (of which you’re a member if you’re an undergrad). Are you on the student health and dental plan? The BoD is in charge of that. Want to grab a beer at Felicita’s? BoD is in charge of that. Do you use the U-Pass to ride the bus?! BoD . . . you get it. A significant number of services for undergrad students are overseen by these individuals (and UVSS staff, of course), so they’re pretty essential.
The BoD consists of 21 elected representatives: five lead (executive) directors; eleven directors-at-large; one Director of International Student Relations; four advocacy group reps, elected by their respective memberships; and one Native Students Union rep, elected by its membership.
The UVSS executives are (in no particular order):
Ben Lukenchuk, Director of Outreach & University Relations
Maxwell Nicholson, Director of Campaigns & Community Relations
Emma Kinakin, Director of Student Affairs
Kevin Tupper, Director of Finance & Operations
Jordan Quitzau, Director of Events
The five executives, 11 directors-at-large, and one director of international student relations are elected once per academic year, in March. Last year, all but one director-at-large position went to the members of a single slate, called Encompass UVic. Michelle Brown, a member of the Woke UVic slate, won the sole non-Encompass seat. A third slate, called Unite UVic, did not win any seats on the board. (Read more about last year’s election here.)
The BoD meets twice a month on Mondays at 6 p.m. in the SUB Upper Lounge. Meetings are open for members to attend — and you should attend! They’re usually hella dry, but every so often there’s a controversy, and who doesn’t like to be at ground zero when that happens? You also get to ask the board questions directly, which is a great opportunity to ask what they’re up to — and to keep them accountable. If you can’t make it, follow along on Twitter @TheMartlet.
The UVSS will also host its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Oct. 27. AGMs are another opportunity for students to be heard, as the board often proposes multiple motions that shape the direction of the society for years to come, and requires students in attendance to vote. Historically, AGMs have trouble reaching quorum, so mark your calendar. (There’s usually pizza, too.)
If you still have questions, head over to the UVSS’s website at uvss.ca. Read more of our reporting on the society here.