This year, the UVSS Board of Directors has submitted four referendum questions. They will be on the same ballot as the Board of Directors candidates, and all undergrads can vote “yes” or “no.”
Referendum question #1
“Do you support a fee increase of $0.50 per semester for full-time students and $0.25 per semester for part-time students to be allocated to the University of Victoria Sustainability Project for the purpose of implementing effective sustainability programs and initiatives on-campus?”
Proponent: Lindsay Worden
UVSP: Creating a More Sustainable and Equitable Campus Community — With Your Help!
The University of Victoria Sustainability Project (UVSP) is a student-run group —situated on unceded Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ territories— dedicated to re-conceptualizing sustainability on campus and implementing initiatives centred in sustainability, intersectionality, decolonization, accessibility, and community. Sustainability intersects with all aspects of our lives and concerns every one of us.
The UVSP is committed to creating a welcoming community for all students interested in sustainability, supporting tangible action on climate and social justice and environmental health, and effecting meaningful change at UVic. In the past two years, the UVSP has grown exponentially – as has the number and diversity of our events and initiatives. We have strong connections with both on- and off-campus groups.
Our Bee Campus Campaign, aimed at protecting pollinators, is widely endorsed, including by the Campus Community Garden. This year, our Sustainable Recreation Campaign supported students in accessing recreation opportunities through the lens of sustainability. We also produce Ripples, an annually-released art zine celebrating World Water Day, and collaborate with other groups to promote food security and sustainable food systems. These are just a few examples of our work on-campus. However, we cannot continue to do this work in the long-term without a bit more support.
Increased funding would enable us to:
– Continue expanding our programs and creating impactful, educational, and community-oriented opportunities open to all UVic students.
– Support grassroots community resilience work in the face of current environmental challenges.
– Cultivate awareness and action on decolonization and anti-racism in the environmental and sustainability movements.
– Diversify our initiatives to reflect the evolving needs and interests of students.
– Grow our team of staff from two, and boost student employment hours.
By funding the UVSP, you are investing in student-led action, community, and a more sustainable campus future for all.
Referendum question #2
“Do you support tying UVSS fees to the previous year’s annual, all-items Consumer Price Index for BC (a minimum of 0% to a maximum annual increase of 2.5%) starting in September 2023, so the UVSS can continue to serve and represent students as the cost of doing so increases? This does not include Health and Dental or U-Pass fees.”
Proponent: Izzy Adachi
In order to continue serving students through the affordability crisis, we need to be able to stay competitive with the rest of the economy. With inflation rising drastically, it is critical for the stability of our student society that we tie student fees to inflation. Voting in favour of this motion will ensure that the UVSS can continue to provide quality and affordable services to students.
Referendum question #3
“Are you in favour of establishing a fee of $2.00 per full-time student per semester and $1.00 per part-time student per semester, starting in September 2023 and ending in August 2030, to prepare and adapt UVSS operations for climate change? This could include but is not limited to heat pumps, new windows, sunshades and awnings, cooling stations, tree-planting around the SUB, and building insulation.”
Proponent: Izzy Adachi
As the climate continues to change, we must take efforts to protect students and workers from the harmful impacts. As a result, we are seeking a small increase in fees to optimize SUB operations to deal with the effects of climate change. Vote yes for this question, it’ll be really cool!
Referendum question #4
“Do you support a fee increase of $1.05 per semester for full-time students and $0.525 for part-time students, to be allocated to the Gender Empowerment Centre to continue to support and provide free resources to women and gender minorities, and to reflect an increase in need and inflation.”
Proponent: Bunni Williams.
The Gender Empowerment Centre (GEM) is a collectively run, drop-in space on campus focused on the needs of women, non-binary, trans, two-spirit and gender non-conforming folks through an intersectional feminist, anti-oppressive, and sex positive framework. Our space is open to both University of Victoria students and community members, serving a large population.
GEM offers access to a large variety of safer sex supplies, menstrual supplies (including FREE menstrual cups), pregnancy tests and emergency contraceptive vouchers that can be redeemed at HEART Pharmacy in the SUB.
Through its various interpretations, the GEM has been a staple organisation in keeping UVic activism alive; advocating for women and gender minorities to feel safe and welcome at this campus by bringing awareness to various social issues through panels, workshops and events, like SEXPO!
This year has presented new and challenging obstacles for the student population, with the rising threat towards reproductive justice and gender diverse people. This has led to a sharp increase in the need for our emergency services. Compared to last year, we have seen a close to a 70% increase in the need for emergency contraceptives & pregnancy tests, we have given out nearly 10,000 condoms and various other safer sex supplies, hundreds of menstrual cups and thousands of pads and tampons.
We are asking for a $1 increase per full-time student to match this demand, and it will be our first budget increase since the fee’s inception in 1993.
Increasing our budget would allow us to serve the students at our best capacity and host many more inclusive programs and expand the resources our centre has to offer. Furthermore, our rapidly growing community has become a beautiful representation of what this University should aim to stand for: safety and inclusion for all students.
Most of our members are located in Victoria, BC., the traditional territories of the Lekwungen peoples, also known as the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations communities.
Many of us are settlers or visitors on land that was violently stolen from Indigenous peoples. The historical and continued dispossession of land threatens Indigenous peoples’ physical and emotional safety, cultural and linguistic growth, and basic and legal rights.
The Electoral Office organizes elections for students at the University of Victoria, but we, just like you, exist within a wider context of colonization. We encourage you to think about why you possess certain rights (like the ability to vote) while others may not, and why elected Directors are rarely Indigenous – or People of Colour, folks with disabilities, and other marginalized identities (both at the University and broader levels).
We are always open to feedback in order to critically evaluate our policy and processes. Deconstructing colonial systems and rebuilding equitable ones is uncomfortable, hard work, but we are ready.