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UTMSU to dedicate $18,000 to new food centre

Student fees increase due to cost of living
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The UTMSU offices. MARGAUX PARKER/THE VARSITY
The UTMSU offices. MARGAUX PARKER/THE VARSITY

The University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) met for its board meeting on January 28. At the meeting, the board passed a motion to budget $18,000 for the relocation of the food centre, heard updates on the UTMSU’s advocacy efforts, voted to increase student fees in accordance with inflation estimates, and heard a breakdown of upcoming events for the winter semester. 

Food centre relocation budget 

Vice President Equity Ryan Tomlinson proposed a budget of $18,000 to relocate the UTMSU’s food centre from the second floor to an office on the first floor and for basic renovations. The renovations include adding kitchen amenities like an island, a fridge, freezer, and cupboards, as well as a sitting area. The motion passed. 

Prior to the 2021–2022 school year, the UTMSU’s food centre was located in the Davis building. In the summer of 2021, the university asked them to relocate due to the campus’ plans to renovate that area. The UTMSU originally relocated the food centre to the second floor of the Student Centre, but it later realized that the operation has outgrown its current space and that the second floor is not an accessible spot to students. 

Many of the costs associated with these renovations are expected to be one-time expenses and will likely not require excess spending after the initial $18,000. Executive Director Nour Alideeb also explained that the UTMSU wants to host workshops in the centre.

Other updates from executives 

Tomlinson said that the UTMSU passed out over 100 bursary cheques to students in the fall semester and distributed the Racialized Community Involvement grant. It also held a successful clothing drive in November where it was able to collect five boxes’ worth of clothes to distribute to a Toronto organization called New Circles, and some winter coats that it has kept to be distributed in the food centre. 

Wei Lai, the UTMSU’s vice president internal, said that the union will be releasing a second survey in February to see whether students are in need of the UPass program. She also reported that the WeChat team is hosting a weekly study room and planning a Chinese New Year celebration. Lai added that the union is working toward printing out student discount coupons and is aiming to collaborate with grocery stores near campus to get student discounts. 

Maëlis Barre, the UTMSU’s vice president external, updated the board on the Fairness for International Students campaign. She explained that the campaign organizers had a meeting with MP Iqra Khalid, who represents the Mississauga—Erin Mills riding. The meeting included discussions on some of the UTMSU’s other efforts, such as raising awareness of the ties between free education, the upcoming provincial election, and demands around tuition fees.

President Mitra Yakubi talked about the Safe Return to Campus campaign, where the union is advocating for students’ safety during the pandemic and for town halls to hear from students in residence. 

Fees

A motion was also passed to approve adjustments to UTMSU student society fees, which are calculated based on students’ full, part, or summer enrolment status. The fee increase was based on the consumer price index determined by Statistics Canada to reflect the increase in costs of living for the previous year. 

The full-time student society membership fee will increase from $35.66 to a newly adjusted rate of $37.51, and the fee for part-time students will go from $1.16 to $1.22. 

The biggest increases were to the Mississauga U-Pass Transit fee. Students in the fall and winter terms will see a fee increase from $137.85 to $144.74, whereas summer students’ fee will increase from $183.13 to $192.29. 

The UTMSU Health and Dental fee designated for the Accidental Health Plan will increase from $102.09 to up to $112.30 and the Dental Plan fee from $85.34 to up to $93.87. 

All of these fees are the amounts that will be charged per student, per session. 

Upcoming events

Some of the upcoming events hosted by the UTMSU include those honouring Black History Month, which will take place throughout the month of February. 

The UTMSU’s Education-for-All campaign is hosting a Phone Zap and Coalition meeting in February. The Job Readiness Support program is planning more events in February, and the Undergraduate Research Symposium is being held throughout February and March. 

The Undergraduate Research Symposium is an opportunity for students to submit completed research that they are currently working on or have recently completed to compete and win prizes. The submission deadline for research entries is February 17, and a winner will be announced on March 10.

Additionally, the UTMSU 2022 spring elections will be held from February 28 to March 17.