SFUO collaborates with administration 

FROM NOV. 14 to 18, the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) conducted a week-long survey on student life on campus. SFUO representatives, volunteers, and board members collected student opinions to find out where there’s room for improvement.

Amalia Savva, SFUO president, said the federation created the 10-question survey in an effort to reach out to students.

“We represent almost 40,000 students,” she said. “It’s important to see exactly what they think and what they want to see for the rest of the year and for upcoming years as well. “

To Savva’s knowledge, this was the first time this initiative had been executed at the SFUO level, and it has been successful so far. As of Nov. 18, the SFUO collected 5,000 surveys.

“That’s a pretty good number—and we just started on Monday.” said Savva.

The survey included questions on SFUO services, businesses, the health plan, and barriers to education like tuition fees and discrimination. The answers will be compiled and used by the current and future SFUO executives.

“What’s really important is that we take the information we’ve received and move forward on it,” said Savva. “[We need to] take the comments and use them at the SFUO level.”

The survey also included questions that touched on services provided by the university. The SFUO will use that information to make suggestions for improvements.

“[The administration has] been generally favourable this year to let the SFUO have some say,” said Savva. “It’s a really good relationship that we’ve fostered with them.”

According to Savva, the SFUO executive has worked with administration in the past on initiatives to improve student life on campus. For example, they succeeded in getting Chartwells to donate leftover food to the SFUO Food Bank through their collaboration with Food Services.

Recently, the SFUO initiated an advisory committee with student representatives for Sports Services and obtained a seat on the selection committee for the food service provider in the new Vanier Hall building.

Patrick Genest, manager of the U of O’s Food Services, said the collaboration between administration and the SFUO has improved over the last year and a half.

“There’s a lot more willingness on both parties to work with each other,” he said.

Despite late integration into the selection process for the Vanier Hall building food service provider, Genest said the SFUO readily participated in evaluating providers, attending meetings, and attending the construction site.

Genest said collaborating with the SFUO allows the university to get a better understanding of student concerns and lets the executive see the university’s standpoint on decisions.

“We don’t have all the wants and needs on each side of the fence,” said Genest. “But we have to come out to a common ground, something that will be good for students. That’s what it’s about: Students, in the end.”

—Michelle Ferguson