A message from our President, Max Irwin
The Current Situation
Last week, due to COVID-19, RLAS had to cancel many of our events that were planned for the weeks ahead. This has had a drastic impact on student life for the remainder of the semester. Our team, along with all of our incredibly dedicated course unions, has been working over the past week to figure out how we can better support students during this time. If there is any support that students are looking for, we encourage them to reach out to us.
You can reach us via social media (@rlasonline) or by emailing your RLAS Director (contacts can be found at http://rlasonline.ca/theteam/).
There is also a very helpful web page that has the answers to many student questions that you can find at https://www.ryerson.ca/covid-19/students/.
It has now been a few weeks since the RLAS elections for the 2020/2021 school year have been concluded. It is with great pleasure that I will be passing on this incredible organization to a dedicated team and a full-female executive committee! I have had the chance, since the elections, to get to know all of the RLAS team members and I have never met a group of people more dedicated, passionate, and hard-working as this team. I want to wish them luck in their terms which will begin on May 1st, 2020. The election results can be found here.
Course Union Elections
This year, RLAS (in conjunction with all of the Faculty of Arts Course Unions) decided to implement a centralized election system. All of the elections were held last week and voting took place online. I want to congratulate all of those that had the courage to run in the election, no matter the outcome. All of the successful candidates can be found here.
For those course unions that have vacant positions, our Manager, Student Relations and Development will be in touch in the coming weeks to discuss how to fill those positions. If you have specific questions for the Manager, you can contact her at email@example.com.
As of right now, RLAS is still operating in as full of a capacity as possible. We have shifted some of our programming online. The RLAS team is working incredibly hard to test out new means of connecting and communicating with students. I am in frequent contact with various faculty members to ensure that all students’ concerns are being heard and addressed at this time. They too have been working diligently to make this transition happen as smoothly as possible.
I want to encourage all students to reach out to RLAS if they have any questions or concerns at this time. You can contact us either through any of our social media platforms or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Annual General Meeting (AGM) Updates
VP of Corporate Relations, Abbey Humphreys-Morris email@example.com
In the past semester, Abbey Humphreys-Morris has taken over the role of VP Corporate Relations. These are some of the projects she has been working on since January.
- Curating the alumni database
- To keep up with Ryerson University Faculty of Arts alumni
- Keep them updated on events, and have them attend to still be included
- Reformatting and editing the RLAS Sponsorship Package (with Marketing) so that it can be presented to possible sponsors.
- Making connections with professionals in Toronto, and and adding them to our sponsorship database
Come May 2020, a new person will be coming into the VP Corporate Relations position: Katie Flinn
- Katie is currently a 3rd year History student doing two minors; Politics and Criminology. Having been a part of various external organizations Katie has experience in networking and connecting with individuals across various job fields at all levels, something which she wants to bring to the RLAS and the faculty. Katie is passionate about finding and connecting people to opportunities in order to discover further possibilities that can lie ahead.
VP of Events, Josel Angelica Gerardo firstname.lastname@example.org
Josel Gerardo has been our VP Events for the full Academic year and has run countless events that have both engaged students and built the reputation of RLAS. Below is a summary of her work:
- 46 Events in Total for 2019-2020 Academic Year
- 30+ Attendees per big events
- 10-20 Attendees per small events
- Most Successful Events that will be embedded within the RLAS annually
- SPROUT is an annual campus-wide case competition organized by the RLAS.
- Over 30 students participated
- Over 10 professionals came to provide advice and support students with their ideas
- 1 group is currently working with the Social Venture Zone to turn their idea into a reality
- Womxn Talks is a new annual initiative in celebration of International Women’s Day.
- Over 30 students and community members attended to celebrate being women, our successes and hopes for the future
- Sip ‘n Success features professionals with an Arts background in an intimate environment.
- This year our guest was Janice Fukakusa, Ryerson’s Chancellor.
- Financial Literacy Series (run by our VP Finance) provides Arts students with the tools they need to educate themselves about basic finances including, but not limited to, debt and credits, moving out logistics, taxes, etc.
- Orientation Planning has Started
- We’ll be welcoming incoming first-year students very soon so we have started planning Orientation early to develop a week filled with fun (and informative) activities and events.
- Recruitment for Orientation Program Lead has already started and registration to become an Orientation Leader will be coming soon!
The RLAS always welcomes collaborations outside the organization and the faculty to build a greater community. This year, our collaborators included;
- Other student societies, course unions and student groups
- Ryerson Career and Co-op Centre
- The Social Venture Zone and Zone Learning
Come May 2020, a new person will be coming into the VP Events position: Claire Cornacchia
- Claire is a 3rd year Arts and Contemporary Studies student and is currently the ACS director on RLAS and a Special Projects Manager under the President’s Committee. Claire was the chair of the SPROUT Committee and looks forward to seeing what new events she can bring to RLAS next year!
Feedback From The Membership:
By March 25th we will be sending out a feedback form to all students. To end the year, we want to hear how we did from our events to our communication! We believe that we always have room for improvement and this is your chance to let us know what you need and want from the RLAS.
VP of Finance, Shazeeda Gafoor email@example.com
Shazeeda has been working hard to update the RLAS financial systems to better serve and communicate with our membership. This work has been particularly valuable as we undergo an audit and prepare for end of year reports. Highlights from her portfolio include:
Total Budget: This year we worked with a budget of $382,964.16 which is a composition of incoming levy and opt-in fees for the entire year, totalling $273,891.92, and a Cash/Cash Equivalence (money that we had from last year in our bank account and cost centre) of $109,072.24.
Each VP spent within their proposed overall budget limits; Here are some key totals for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.
- Student Group project and conference expenses: $ 3,117.88
- Meeting expenses (board, general) including food, administration, space, etc. : $ 4,662.73
- Supplies and equipment: $ 9,426.48
- Orientation: $ 14,514.79
- General events (including collaborations): $ 10,892.37
- Sprout: $ 19,007.24
- Supplies and equipment: $ 465.04
- Design & media services: $ 2591.44
- Board training, committee and team building, conferences: $ 16,990.63
Our manager Salary fees were $31,404.70
During this year, the RLAS’s financial operations had seen a particularly unprecedented circumstance: the introduction of optional fees as a portion of total levy. Given these changes, we restructured the entire budget to include a code system that highlighted which expenses were “compulsory” and “optional.” Although the government has put the levy system on hold, RLAS has been committed to carrying out this system to ensure compliance with possible reinstatement, as well as a clear system of financial recording. As a result, here are some of the operational and constitutional changes that have either already been implemented or are pending implementation:
- Change of the Funding Committee: We have designed the funding committee to be more flexible and accommodating to the dynamic and rapidly fluctuating needs of student groups and course unions under RLAS. In doing so, we are better able to serve our students and provide them with the support and resources necessary to carry out events.
- Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP): To adapt to the Student Choice Initiative’s guidelines, we have adopted a widely accepted accounting standard. GAAP is now a foundation for efficient finances within the RLAS and will be used moving forward.
- Financial Audit 2020: The RLAS is currently being audited to tighten up our procedures and financial activity. We are the last of the student societies to go through this process with the university. This is an ongoing process that will be reviewing the past 3 years of our operations and finances, and will result in a final report, as well as directives on how we can better support FoA students.
- Financial Review: In light on the University-wide call for transparency and accountability, the RLAS has decided to make a change to the language in our constitution to clearly outline the measures we intend to take. Instead of calling it a “Financial Audit”, which is a process that takes many months to complete and requires more time and money than necessary, we have decided to have an annual “Financial Review”, which requires our Manager, Student Relations and a delegate from the Faculty of Arts to review our activity. Audits will be conducted as required by the University or as otherwise requested by the Faculty of Arts.
- New Portfolios: In addition to adding new positions to the RLAS team, this will be reflected in the budget as new portfolios. We look forward to working with these incoming members to come up with a fair and feasible amount of capital to ensure their operation.
- Board Level Funding Application Process: We are in the process of approving the reduction of the board level funding application dollar amount to $4,999.99. This reduction was as a result of tightening up our processes to guarantee appropriate funding allocations and approvals for large amounts of money.
- Accessibility Budget: Moving forward, the RLAS will be adding a $5000 designation to accessibility to ensure that FoA students in the Ryerson community are served in the most inclusive way possible.
Come May 1st, a new person will be coming into the position of VP Finance: Abbey Humphreys-Morris.
Abbey is a 4th year ACS student and is currently our VP Corporate Relations. She has served on her Course Union as VP Finance and looks forward to using her skills to help serve the RLAS and its students in the coming year.
VP of Marketing, Stephanie McNeil firstname.lastname@example.org
- Social Media engagement through stories and in partnership with Course Unions/Student Groups under the RLAs
- Input blog posts that connect to certain events
- Make sure information is up to date
- Put in logos available for download
- Added campus resources page that has helpful links to resources across Ryerson
- In the process of adding a brand guideline powerpoint
- Have obtained branded stickers and pens. Including notebooks.
- Increased brand awareness with paid advertisements to target students at Ryerson.
- Trying to be the liaison between students and faculty. An anonymous google form has been sent out to get information to try to improve the transition.
- Contacted membership for their input of what resources they need and how they are feeling about the current switch to online classes.
- Keeping our language to focus on wellbeing and self-care strategies rather than triggering language.
Come May 1st, a new person will be coming into the position of VP Marketing: Justine Almira Parungao.
Justine is a 3rd year Criminology student minoring in Sociology. Throughout her years in university, she has immersed herself in many Ryerson groups holding marketing and social media positions. Justine is a graphics coordinator, photographer, a mentor, and a leader. During the fall, Justine helped facilitate a Youth Mental Health Conference; a conference that aimed to help bridge the gap between immigrants, indigenous communities and mental health resources. Justine hopes to pursue a career in Crime Analytics.
I will be in a new role next year, VP of Community Relations. My mission will be to connect students to greater opportunities through the RLAS and the Ryerson community.
VP of Operations, Chris Randall email@example.com
Chris Randall has been hard at work this semester getting ready for the AGM and for term wrap up. Below are a few of the items he has been working on:
- Updating Bylaws and the Constitution for the next General Members meeting
- These will need to be passed in the Fall due to Covid-19 and the cancellation of the March AGM.
- Finalizing new Board procedures for remote decision making
- A successful year of Office Hours
- Directors still available via their emails
- Supporting the transition of the incoming board
Come May 1st, a new person will be coming into the position of VP Operations: Natasha Chawdhry.
Natasha is a 4th year Politics and Governance student who has been involved with RLAS for the past year in the capacity of an events committee member and events specialist. She has also worked with the Faculty of Arts as a Special Projects Assistant for the Student Liaison Administrator and was one of the first students to complete the Arts Ambassadors Program. Natasha will bring her talents to the RLAS in the coming year.
SOME OTHER INITIATIVES
- The RLAS has established the Community Engagement Group for Accessibility and Inclusion – in collaboration with the Office of Equity and Community Inclusion, the Office of Student Life and the Ryerson Career and Co-Op Center – to ensure all Faculties, programs, events and initiatives incorporate inclusivity and accessibility.
- If you require any accessibility requirement, the RLAS is here to ensure you receive the right resources to participate in the area of your interest
Youth Workers Rights Hub
The RLAS is working with the Faculty of Arts Dean’s Office to create a Youth Workers Rights Hub for students. This will provide students with resources and support to navigate their work environments from an informed standpoint and with an empowered voice.