• EngSoc Emerges Victorious in UTSU AGM

    A hotly contested board structure proposal was then put up for vote last night, and an overwhelming majority approved it. This solidifies the board structure, allows engineers to maintain their 4 representatives currently on the board and also introduces a new VP Professional Faculty who can be a full time student while being a part time UTSU representative so as to make being part of the UTSU more accessible for students of professional faculties such as ourselves. Overall, it was a win for Skule and the 70 students who came and the roughly 600 proxies that were presented show the power of engineering students when they come together for a cause.

    The UTSU AGM part 2 happened Nov. 18 in the OISE. There were about 70 engineers in attendance most of whom had 11 proxies each. The vote was on the proposal of the board structure by Ben Coleman and seconded by Ryan Gomes.

    This proposal had been brought up at the previous AGM as well but had not achieved a 2/3rd majority but neither did any other proposals, so the vote had to be conducted again. UTM was not in attendance today, as they chose to Skype in to the meeting but due to last minute room booking issues, this did not happen. The meeting started at 7PM and ended promptly at 10:30PM. Samosas were present, but ran out at about 9PM; “folks” was said about 500 times. And finally the first Bingo card was finished around 9:30PM. After the approval of the minutes, auditors and financial structure the board moved on to the approval of the proposal of the board structure.

    An amendment was introduced that gave each department under the arts and science faculty a representative, while the engineers decided to abstain from this vote, it was approved.

  • Meet your 1T5 Engineering Society VP Student Life – Maddy Santia

    Interview by Rossdan Craig

    Elections have concluded and the results are in! In light of the newly elected officers taking up their up-coming roles, the Cannon has offered the new Eng Soc members to partake in a small interview. Below are the questions and answers of the interview with the new Eng Soc VP Student Life, Maddy Santia.


    Why did you want to run for VP Student Life?

    I think there is a lot of negative connotation towards with the Engineering Society and I wanted to try to alleviate some of that because it’s just getting way out of hand. It used to be that four or five people would run for one position but now it’s just uncontested; I think the moral is down and it’s got to be turned around.

     

    What did you expect the U of T community would be like when you came into it versus how you perceive it now?

    I was kind of in between. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be that everybody was really involved or nobody was really involved – it was just those two extremes that I saw when I came into university. But then when I actually came here I recognized that it seemed to be the same 50 to 100 people who show up to every single event and that’s kind of what bothers me. I want to change that around with more general student involvement at clubs and events.

     

    In terms of your experience or vision, what do you think that you can bring to the table?

    With being a part of Engineering Society this past year (being a project director and running events) I think that experience – managing an overall event – gave me skills in doing that on a larger scale and being more as an overseer as opposed to someone running events directly.

     

    Transparency is always an issue with student governments. What do you plan to do so that students are more familiar with what happens inside Eng Soc?

    An open door policy – I think that’s always been in effect… For instance, this whole problem on Facebook with students being angry about the refunds and it not being clear. Having an open door policy to have people come in and ask questions any time or letting people know that they can email [Eng Soc] VPs anytime is something I think that needs to be improved. They should know they can reach out and talk to us anytime about anything that they are confused about.

     

    How exactly do you plan to get more people involved at U of T Engineering?

    By creating a directory of clubs, where people can go access the type of thing they want to be involved with like using a tag like “leadership” or “design”, I want to create something that students can be involved in. It doesn’t necessarily mean that students have to go out to an event; it can also be just joining a club and enjoying their experience here.

     

     

     

    What’s your favourite experience you’ve had here at U of T so far?

    Ugh, so many… I would say I really liked running Post-Offer [as Director of Hi-Skule] last year. It was an awesome experience because there were so many students from Ontario and even further that come out to that day and see what engineering is all about. It’s kind of fun to tip the scales and help people choose U of T over other schools just because we have the day where they get to experience all these different things about how classes happen, how we run all events. I just found that a really fun event and it’s kind of cool to see these kids coming into school and they’re going to be us the next year.

     

    How do you plan on staying accountable to everything you’ve stated to the student body?

    I think it would be interesting to have progress reports. Not necessarily something that we email out to students but something that they can find online about what we’ve accomplished so far through the year so they can get an idea of what we’re doing.

     

    Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to be involved but finds it difficult to do so?

    I think the biggest thing is to just jump into it. I don’t think that there is anything that should stop anyone from getting involved if they really want to do it. I don’t think a lack of experience necessarily means anything; just because you don’t have experience doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be good at it. Just jumping in and seeing what you can do is probably the best thing that can happen.

     

    What are you looking really forward to being a part of Eng Soc next year?

    I’m really looking forward to being an overseer to Orientation. It’s such a large scale event that I think it would be really fun to see the ins and outs of how it works on the front side, what the students are seeing, and financially what happens, where all the money is allocated.

     

  • Meet Your 1T5 Engineering Society VP Communications – Reena Cabanilla

    Reena

    Elections have concluded and the results are in! In light of the newly elected officers taking up their up-coming roles, the Cannon has offered the new Eng Soc members to partake in a small interview. Below are the questions and answers of the interview with the new Eng Soc VP Communications, Reena Cabanilla.


    In terms of running for the current position as the VP Communications of the Engineering Society, what experience do you bring to the table and how, in your opinion, would that experience be of benefit to you in your position next year as VP Comm?

    I’ve worked on a number of projects under the communications portfolio, such as the Frosh Handbook and the Gradball video with the Archivist. Having an understanding of these projects and publications gives me an idea of what to expect from the Project Directors that lead our publications. Also, I’m currently Artistic Co-director for Skulebook, where I lead a team of graphic artists to ensure that the layout is completed in a timely manner. I hope to use what I learned about team and time management in my role as VP Communications.

     

    What would you like to accomplish during your term as VP Communications?

    I want to work with the Project Directors to ensure that Skule’s publications are released on time. I also want to work with the Webmaster to continue making improvements to skule.ca. I hope to improve the layout of Skule Digest to better suit student needs and preferences. In addition, I want to collaborate with the other officers to help fulfill their communication needs, so that students are informed about their initiatives. This can range from marketing an event to updating a Skule website related to their portfolio.

     

    Transparency has been an issue with past student governments. What do you plan to do so students are also more familiar with what happens inside Eng Soc?

    I plan to use my role as VP Comm to ensure that students are well aware of the operations that happen in EngSoc. I think that can be achieved by promoting our events, meetings, initiatives or even skule.ca through Skule’s communication outlets (emails, Facebook, plasma screen, etc.). I want to ensure that any information from EngSoc to the students is clear and up to date and that all lines of communication remain open and accessible to students as much as possible. I also want students to understand that if they have any comments or concerns, they are free to contact me or any of the other officers.

     

    How do you plan on staying accountable to everything you’ve stated to the student body?

    I want to keep the fellow officers updated on what I plan to do and what I’m doing. Since my role involves sending emails and updating our communication outlets, I want to ensure these tasks are completed punctually by managing myself and my own time.

  • Meet your 1T5 Engineering Society VP Finance – Rachel Reding

    Rachel

    Elections have concluded and the results are in! In light of the newly elected officers taking up their up-coming roles, the Cannon has offered the new Eng Soc members to partake in a small interview. Below are the questions and answers of the interview with the new Eng Soc VP Finance, Rachel Reding.


    In terms of running for the current position as the VP Finance of the Engineering Society, what experience do you bring to the table and how, in your opinion, would that experience be of benefit to you in your position next year as VP Finance?

     

    I worked at the Engineering Stores in 2013-2014. Having experience with how the Store operates will allow me to create a better budget for Stores and other Skule services. This will also help me advise the new managers for Stores, Hard Hat Café and Suds as I have seen their hardships and successes first hand.

    I created a co-ed soccer team at my PEY company this year and I am responsible for managing our $2000 budget for the year. While this is a small budget, I had several expenses to juggle including team registration, membership fees, and equipment and jersey costs. I think this will translate to the larger scale budget management in my VP Finance role as I take on the responsibility of allocating budget and prioritizing between funding requests.

     

    What would you like to accomplish during your term as VP Finance?

    My goal for the year is to allocate funds in a way that involves and benefits the most students. This will include funding new clubs for unpenetrated demographics, funding current clubs, and improving student spaces. Secondly, as an Eng Soc officer, I want to improve the engagement and involvement of students within EngSoc. Remembering back to my early years in Skule, I wasn’t well educated about the Engineering Society. Moreover, many positions, including my own, were uncontested this year. These are two things I want to change: get students excited and informed about their government, and therefore increase student involvement.

     

    Transparency has been an issue with past student governments. What do you plan to do so students are also more familiar with what happens inside Eng Soc?

    Fiscal information is posted online for students, but I don’t think this is well-known in the Skule community. I’d like to bring awareness so that the information is actually viewed. Moreover, I would like to be more accessible to students so that I can understand what information is commonly requested. Being involved in Skule events and remaining visible around engineering buildings, I’d like to build a rapport with students to ask me questions and request information. Finally, I want to work with VP Communications to inform students about important budget decisions and other information.

     

    How do you plan on staying accountable to everything you’ve stated to the student body?

    As an officer, I plan to keep my fellow officers accountable and I plan to have them do the same for me. By keeping open communication regarding our plans for the year, we can work as a team and hold each other accountable for what we promise the student body.

  • Meet Your 1T5 Engineering Society VP Academic – Oghosa Igbinakenzua

    Oghosa

    Elections have concluded and the results are in! In light of the newly elected officers taking up their up-coming roles, the Cannon has offered the new Eng Soc members to partake in a small interview. Below are the questions and answers of the interview with the new Eng Soc VP Academic, Oghosa Igbinakenzua.

    What would you like to accomplish during your term as VP Academic?

    Similar to the statements on my platform, there are two things I would like to focus on next year. The first is making mid-course evaluations better for students and the second is increasing resources on information for courses. One thing that may have been a key issue [this year] is that we didn’t contact the professors too well before the mid-course evaluations. I worked with reviewing the data, but I wasn’t too sure about how much communication went on between [us and] the professors. It was a good job that was done this year; we had data from mainly first years and second years, so I’m aiming to try to focus on the first and second years for the mid-course evaluations because I feel that’s where impact can be most felt. I talked to some course instructors recently and found that new instructors really see the need for mid-course evaluations because they feel waiting until the end-of-term evaluation is like taking a final [exam] without any [midterm] tests. It can get quite scary. I also talked to an experienced professor and who said that having received a lot of similar feedback over the years there may not be much benefit.

    The second is having more student reviews on courses they have taken available to help other students prepare or select their future courses.  Something that I personally have experienced of is knowing the upper years’ opinion on those courses. In [Industrial Engineering], we have a “comments files” for helping us decide our courses for third and fourth year. It’s a spreadsheet that upper years comment on for different courses. Getting those comments from upper years help me and a lot of other people in selecting our courses. I know [Civil Engineering] also has that because I also spoke to an upper year civ who said they had a similar structure in place. Just having those comments on the courses.skule.ca website is something that can be very helpful to a lot of people as well. Putting in comments from other disciplines can encourage people to put their own comments up. That’s why getting close to discipline club chairs is very helpful – because they know best how to help their disciplines.

     

    In your opinion, what are the priority issues facing students in terms of academics?

    For students, I feel one issue, in terms of academics, could be that some courses don’t have enough exams, midterms, or content posted on courses.skule.ca. The best way to improve this is for students to post [the exams and midterms]. I also feel there is a lot of variety with the quality of tutorials and lectures. Some are very well done and some others are quite bad. This is the sort of issue that could be addressed with mid-course evaluations as students can have data to back up their claim so as to have it resolved while taking the course. However, I am only one student in one discipline, to know more about the issues students are facing I would again have to speak with discipline clubs because they know their disciplines better.

     

     

     

    Transparency has been an issue with past student governments. How do you plan on improving that for next year?

    I feel the way this can be done is by talking more about it. Sometimes, the discussions only occur amongst the board, or amongst Eng Soc, but making it known to peers or to whoever I talk to would be something that would help. The information is out there if you want to go see it; it terms of making it more transparent, it has to just be making it known on a personal basis. The best way I can do that is to talk about it; that is one way I see as making it more transparent. In terms of having the documents available, all our meetings [minutes] are publicly available. It’s just talking to people about it and letting them know what’s going on.

     

    In terms of communicating with your respective Project Directors, what do you plan on doing different next year than what the VP Academic officer did this year?

    Not too much differently to be honest because the communication that happened between, for example, the Hi-Skule Director and VP Academic this year was good; there was nothing wrong with it. UTEK this year went well; Maya did a good job. It’s less micromanaging and more of putting competent people there and letting them do their work properly. If they need help, I can offer any help I can.

     

    As VP Academic you would have to connect with other leaders as well, so how do you plan on representing yourself to them in terms of your position?

    [Communication] to the student body would be done through discipline chairs, because class reps usually tend to go to their discipline clubs for something they need and rarely contact the VP Academic. It would be key for me to have a good relationship with the discipline club chairs so we can be on the same basis so I can understand what they want they understand my point of view as well. That way, we can work together to do whatever we need to do. With faculty, communication with the Dean’s Office, Vice Dean, First Year Chair, the Registrar’s Office and others would be important to representing the student body.

     

    Do you have anything else you’d like to add or say to the student body?

    Not too much actually, we all just need to keep getting involved with Skule and constantly seek out ways we can bring positive change to the community.

     

  • Meet your 1T5 Engineering Society President – Ernesto Diaz Lozano Patino

    SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

    Elections have concluded and the results are in! In light of the newly elected officers taking up their up-coming roles, the Cannon has offered the new Eng Soc members to partake in a small interview. Below are the questions and answers of the interview with the new Eng Soc president, Ernesto Diaz Lozano Patino.


    In terms of running for the current position as the President of the Engineering Society, what experience do you bring to the table and how, in your opinion, would that experience be of benefit to you in your position next year as the President of Eng Soc?

    In terms of experience, I have been involved with several positions within the society that will be great assets for the positon. In the 2013-2014 year, I was the Civ Club Academic Representative. I acted as the main liaison between the Civ students and the [Civil Engineering] Department, leading efforts such as midterm evaluations and focus groups. I also sat in Faculty Standing committees such as the Academic Appeals Board and the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. During the 2014-2015 year, I was the Civ Board of Directors representative and I also sat in the Finance Committee and Academic Advocacy Committee. Additionally, I participated in the establishment and became the president of the Canadian Electrical Contractors Association/National Electrical Contractors Association (CECA/NECA) University of Toronto Student Chapter, a club that acts as a liaison between the students and the electrical contracting industry.

    Overall, I believe all these experiences have helped me develop communication, leadership, management and organizational skills that will be greatly beneficial for the presidential position next year. Additionally, my participation in the Professional Experience Year has allowed me to gain valuable industry experience, which I plan to leverage during my term. In particular, I plan to bring to the table professionalism and attention to detail, which are key ingredients of a successful organization.

     

    What would you like to accomplish during your term as President?

    As stated in my platform, there are three key goals I want to pursue during my term: formalize student representation in standing committees, improve club affiliation and funding procedures, and increase awareness of opportunities and advocacy.

    These goals demonstrate, at a high-level, the direction I believe the society should shift towards. They speak to the present issues I have identified, such as low turn-outs for meetings and elections, low interest in student governance, and an uncoordinated student presence in faculty standing committees. Moreover, they also build on existing efforts from the current officer teams, namely in trying to improve the affiliation and funding procedures.

     

    In your opinion, what are the priority issues facing students?

    The first priority is always maintaining the integrity of the society. This includes ensuring that our community is a safe, equitable environment where all our members feel safe and respected. Secondly, the priority would be the engagement of students in the community. The society’s operations are completely run by volunteers, and if we do not properly engage students to participate and get involved, it becomes increasingly challenging to provide services to our members.  Moreover, lack of advocacy makes it more difficult to have a strong presence at the faculty level to ensure the student voice is heard. We have had very low turn outs at elections and meetings this year and that is definitively something that needs to be addressed.

     

    Transparency has been an issue with past student governments. What do you plan to do so students are also more familiar with what happens inside Eng Soc?

    Transparency has always, and will continue to be, one of key elements of maintaining the integrity of the society, which as I mentioned constitutes always a top priority. Lack of transparency causes distrust from the members and is very harmful to the society, and it also facilitates unlawful activities.

     

    The society has multiple strategies to increase transparency, which I plan to continue and improve. Firstly, all our meetings are open and all members are welcome to come and speak. Secondly, all the documents are available online for members to access. Although there have been some issues with online documents in the past year, I will work closely with our future VP Communications to ensure that all the documents are readily available for the members. Lastly, I and the future officers will ensure that all the questions that our members have about our operations are answered in an open, honest and transparent manner.

     

    As the President you would be representing Eng Soc and the engineering student body to other University organizations. What approach would you take to maintaining relationships with UTSU and other student societies?

    With respect to the Students’ Administrative Council (SAC, or better known as UTSU), I will maintain a professional and diplomatic relationship. However, in the referendum ran during the officer elections, the engineering students have indicated they want the Engineering Society to take over representational duties at the university level, so I do not expect next year to be very friendly between the USTU and the Engineering Society.

    With other student societies, I intend to keep an open and collaborative relationship so we can work together in issues that affect our memberships.

     

    How do you plan on staying accountable to everything you’ve stated to the student body?

    I am planning on submitting progress reports to the Board during every meeting so that students can corroborate that I have been working on the items I said I would be working on. Additionally, my door will always be open to anyone who wants to know what the status of any item of my portfolio is.

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