April 15, 2020

Here’s what your SFSS Board of Directors has been up to during the month of March:

The Board of Directors had a lot to learn in March as we transitioned and went through a once-in-a-century change. As COVID-19 swept through the world, the SFSS Board of Directors has now transitioned to online advocacy, services, and resource delivery to better fight on behalf of students and to ensure students get the relief they need. They started off March physically on campus as they stood united with other student unions across Canada in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en First Nations by working with organizers and allies to facilitate expression against the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline Project. They continue to call on the BC Government to revoke the approval of the permits for this project and to come off Wet’suwet’en territories. 

The Board also financially helped SFU Peak frequency to put on the SFU’s Got Talent, where the VP Finance served as a judge. A Spring Carnival Mid-March was also held. However, there was a complete shift after the health advisory encouraged closure to slow the spread of COVID-19. As a result, the SFSS Board, through the Executive Committee, voted to shut down the SFSS offices in response to the spreading pandemic while ensuring that staff was not financially impacted. In the midst of this, classes were transitioning online. An initiative to ensure that students were provided with alternative grading options such as Pass/Fail and withdrawal extensions was led by the VP University Relations Shina Kaur, FASS Rep and student Senator Jennifer Chou, and supported by SFSS President Giovanni HoSang and Board members. They also continued to push for a grade freeze and optional finals.

The end of March saw the VP External Jasdeep Gill lobbying for international student relief and renters relief as things become rough, and students and renters alike lose access to jobs. A moratorium on eviction was later announced. The BoD approved the remote back to work plan presented by the ED, developed in conjunction with the management team, so that services would continue to be delivered to membership. 

March was very challenging, and it has been one of the most active months of advocacy over their tenure thus far. However, they stayed focused on fighting on behalf of students and encouraging the University to remain in the side of empathy as students go through these changes. Alongside advocacy, they also offer online events for students virtually and provide relief for membership as well. Please all make sure we heed the guidelines around physical distancing and remember to wash your hands. Stay safe.

Timeline:

[March 4] Stood with other students across Canada in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en
[March 6] SFU’s Got Talent
[March 10] SFSS Spring Carnival
[March 13] Shut down SFSS offices for two weeks in response to COVID-19
[March 23] Lobbying the government for international student support
[March 24] Help with a campaign to win alternative grading options for the Spring semester
[March 25] Established a SFSS COVID-19 emergency fund for students now totalling $150k
[March 30] Instituted a return to work plan for all staff
[March 30] Transitioned to online events

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