CSI is hosting our Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Wednesday, October 30th, at 6:00pm in The Venue. As members of the CSI community, we encourage all students to attend, participate and be informed. This is your opportunity to learn more about how your student association works for you in 2018/2019.
Light snacks will be provided in The Venue at 6:00 p.m. for all who come and participate.
Can’t attend? No problem!
Fill out a proxy form ahead of time to ensure your voice is heard. Look for your Board of Directors in the halls for an opportunity to submit a proxy before the AGM on October 30th.
Thank you for taking the time to read our 2018/2019 Annual Report. This report is designed to communicate and present the accomplishments, service usage, milestones and service enhancements made by Conestoga Students Inc. in the 2018/2019 academic school year.
With 8 core services, 16,000+ student members, and multiple channels to collect student feedback, Conestoga Students Inc. is always growing and changing to meet your diverse needs. We hope you enjoy the content below and we also hope you have a chance to attend the AGM on October 30th in The Venue!
Letter from the 2019/2020 President
What an exciting year 2018/2019 was for the students of Conestoga College. Conestoga Students Inc., the official student association at Conestoga College had many engagement opportunities for students to get involved in over this past year.
In 1967, Conestoga College opened its doors with one main building and approximately 100 students in attendance. We have grown and adapted to meet the changing needs of our students, our partners, our community and our world. We now have 8 almost 9 campuses across the Waterloo Region, Guelph, Brantford, and Ingersoll. Conestoga College is known as a polytechnic institute with all the hands-on, practical and experiential learning opportunities offered across all fields of study.
Over the years, Conestoga Students Inc. has adapted to this growth as well. When the student’s association was first formed, it was known as Doon Student Association, only serving the campus of Doon. As Conestoga College has grown, the student association has grown as well, and we represent all full-time and part-time cohort students at all 8 campuses.
Our Annual General Meeting (AGM) occurs once per year to offer an opportunity to engage with our students and provide information about our business operations for the previous academic year. It also informs our students about how successful the past year was, how many students participated in our events, and what activities were hosted by Conestoga Students Inc.
Thank you to everyone that has been involved and participated in Conestoga Students Inc. We appreciate all your hard work and extra efforts that make us such a successful student association.
President of Conestoga Students Inc.
CSI’s 2018/2019 Board of Directors
Increase in service usage
CSI’s Wellness Office experienced a 146% increase in usage compared to the previous year. This is partially due to the addition of international students to the Extended Health & Dental Plan and CSI taking over administration of the Conestoga International Health Insurance Plan.
Usage of each practitioner service increased as well: Physiotherapy by 49%, Chiropractic by 12%, and Registered Massage Therapy by 16%.
Increased Service Hours
In order to accommodate the increasing demand, the CSI Wellness Office increased service hours for Physiotherapy to five days per week and Chiropractic services to 4:30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The mental health and wellness of students is a top priority for CSI. This year, new programming and services were introduced to provide support and raise awareness of the importance of mental health and wellness, including:
- Health and Wellness Weeks in both Fall and Winter Semesters
- Health and Wellness Expos
- Bell Let’s Talk Campaign
- Blue Monday
On-Campus Pharmacy at Cambridge Campus
To serve students better, a second SpotRx pharmacy kiosk was installed in the Main Atrium of the Cambridge Campus. Students at Cambridge have convenient access to 500+ over the counter medicines and prescription drugs 24/7.
CSI provides gender-neutral spiritual rooms at Doon and Cambridge campuses to meet student’s need for space for prayer, meditation, or silent, peaceful reflection.
Since opening in May 2018, the Doon Campus Spiritual Room has welcomed 15,607 users. The Cambridge Campus Spiritual Room has had 2,866 users visit the space since May 2018 with 1,211 users in January 2019.
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The menu at The Venue underwent a complete overhaul to reflect student preferences including vegetarian and vegan options as well as some international flavours. The addition of daily food and drink specials has been well received. The Venue now offers breakfast selections until 10:30 am to accommodate students early in the day.
Events in The Venue
The Venue successfully hosted a Landshark Launch event, Bacardi House Party and Twisted Tea Party last year with great attendance from students. Trivia Tuesdays and Live Music Thursdays continued to attract growing interest from students and provide mid-week food and entertainment options.
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Orientations: Getting to Know Your Student Association
Orientation is one of CSI’s first interactions with incoming students and last year we continued to provide orientation sessions at all campuses.
Nine orientation sessions were held in the fall, two in the winter and three in the spring. To assist students in the transition to Conestoga in collaboration with other college department partners, we provided 9,000 Orientation Bags containing information about Studentcare, our Wellness Office, the CSI shuttle, the CSI app, the On The Spot Pharmacy, as well as student planners, water bottles, and pop sockets.
CSI was on each campus throughout Orientation Week providing information, resources, and games and prizes, to welcome students into the CSI community.
Welcome Back Concerts
To celebrate the new fall semester CSI hosted a successful Welcome Back Concert featuring Indie rock bands Tokyo Police Club and Hollerado. on-campus event, held in the Rec Centre, sold 534 tickets to students and their guests.
For the first time, CSI hosted a Welcome Back Concert in the Winter Semester featuring Alessia Cara performing in the Rec Centre in January. With 950 tickets sold, the concert was a sell-out.
At this event, the VIP concert experience was introduced with a contest where students could win the opportunity for a Meet and Greet with Alessia Cara, an autographed poster and pre-concert admittance.
CSI’s Diwali celebration was a huge success
Diwali has proven to be a popular event with students! Last year the event was held in a larger venue off-campus, to allow more students to take part. Shuttle transportation was provided for students and was well utilized. The Punjabi Beats Club performed and the students attending provided positive feedback about the event.
The event was held at Lot 42 and was a sell-out with 990 tickets sold.
Bollywood events continue to be a popular student event and CSI hosted three sold-out events throughout the year.
CSI strives to engage in personal interaction with our students to communicate our services and programming. There were a total of 27 campus visits at Brantford, Ingersoll, Riverside Glen, and Schlegel campuses, with lunch being provided for students.
It is a priority for CSI to provide students with comfortable spaces to relax, unwind and socialize while on campus. Gaming lounge areas include amenities such as lounge furniture, TVs, entertainment and gaming equipment. The Den at Doon campus had 14,330 students visit the space last year. There were 3,043 console rentals last year which was an increase of 10%. The Cave at Cambridge campus saw an increase of over 15% with 1,371 gaming rentals last year.
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CSI Service Hubs Provide Many Helpful Services
Providing relevant and useful services to students is an important priority for CSI. With an expanding population, we have seen increased use of all our service areas prompting an extension of hours and services to accommodate all student’s needs.
CSI Service Hubs provide students with amenities such as printing, binding and laminating to support their academic success. Service Hubs at every campus saw a significant increase in students making use of these services. Doon campus experienced a 30% increase over the previous year, Cambridge experienced a 27% increase over the previous year, and Waterloo experienced a 50% increase over the previous year.
Extended Operating Hours at Doon & Cambridge Service Hubs
To adequately serve our growing student population’s needs, the Service Hub operating hours at Doon and Cambridge were extended to 7:30am to 7:00pm.
Enhanced Lend Program
The Lend Program is provided by CSI to ensure students have the ability to access and borrow commonplace items such as calculators, safety goggles, neckties, and more. Student usage of this program increased by over 25% from the previous year.
Sizeable donations in the amount of $2,924.95 towards the Food Bank were generously made with event ticket sales from the Welcome Back Concert, the CSI Farmer’s Markets and external fundraisers.
Here are some stats from last year:
- 1,261 hampers were distributed as of Feb. 2019. January had the highest food bank usage of 319, over 150 more than January 2018.
- 904 new users registered for the program since May 2018
- 3rd annual departmental food drive: 7 departments participated, over 1600 food and hygiene items were donated surpassing the 2017 total.
- $5,131.68 in free fruit was distributed across Doon, Cambridge & Waterloo campuses
- Introduced free fruit Wednesdays at Brantford
- January food bank users were 67% international, 33% family and domestic
Brantford Campus Student Space
At the core of the Brantford Campus is a fully renovated student service space. Students have access to the new Service Hub featuring academic support materials and a new student Food Bank. Included in the full renovation of the space is a student lounge space, which features dining tables, lounge furniture, a new kitchenette, and enclosed gaming areas.
In order to allow students to be informed of CSI services, supports, and events, one of the first points of contact staff and Board have with students is during classroom presentations.
This year, we completed 72 classroom presentation in the fall semester and 39 in the winter semester.
GRT U-Pass Referendum
In September of last year, all eligible fee paying, full-time students at Conestoga College were invited to vote in a Universal Transit Pass (U-Pass) Referendum, jointly hosted by Conestoga Students Incorporated (CSI) and Conestoga College. The referendum was held to determine if students were in favour of establishing a non-refundable ancillary fee to adopt a U-Pass. CSI and Conestoga College successfully reported a voter participation rate of 25%, with the majority of voters in support of the U-Pass implementation.
As a result of this vote, Conestoga Students Incorporated has been committed to implementing the U-Pass authorized by Conestoga students in last fall’s referendum. However, since that time, the Ontario Government introduced a new program in January 2019 called the Student Choice Initiative. This new policy directive affects the abilities of colleges and student associations to collect ancillary fees from college students.
Details surrounding the policy and operational guidelines for the Student Choice Initiative were released on April 1, and clearly indicate that CSI and Conestoga College may not charge a compulsory ancillary fee to support a student transit pass that did not have a “fully executed agreement” in place prior to January 17, 2019. The program was in full development, however was not technically executed.
In acknowledgement of our obligations to comply with deadlines surrounding fees associated with the new Student Choice Initiative, Conestoga Students Incorporated had no other choice than to terminate our U-Pass program with our transit partners. This means that as of September 1, 2019, Conestoga students will not have access to the U-Pass.
However, CSI will still continue to provide and sell semester transit passes (4 month terms) with our transit partners. Students can purchase a transit pass at any CSI Service Hub OR GRT bus terminal at the start of each academic term.
CSI is Essential
The CSI Is Essential Campaign, was created following the introduction of the Ontario Government’s Student Choice Initiative in January. The SCI made some ancillary fees optional for students. This mandate threatens to lead to the elimination of many vital services, both academic and non-academic, that CSI provides to our students. The CSI Is Essential Campaign sought to fully inform students of the importance and value of the programming and services provided to students through CSI.
Here are some samples of social media posts we shared during the campaign. Click on the images below for an expanded view.
The campaign focused on the following values and missions of CSI:
- CSI is committed to enhancing student satisfaction
- Through direct student feedback, CSI provides services, academic support and programming that foster an environment for student success
- CSI complements the academic experience through an extensive variety of cultural, social, and recreational programs
- Through volunteerism, its Board, committees and student employment, CSI offers first-hand experience in citizenship and educates students in leadership, social responsibility and values
- CSI advocates on a college, municipal, provincial and federal level so the student voice is heard. The student voice is not a choice.
In January 2019 the Ontario Government proposed changes to OSAP which included significant cuts to the program which could negatively affect student’s ability to access post-secondary education. Coinciding with the CSI Is Essential Campaign, we created a petition for students sign online or in person, pressuring the Ontario Government to reverse the proposed OSAP changes. Materials and content were also created by the College Student Alliance (CSA), that were shared on our social media channels to make students aware of these changes and how it affects them.
Get to Know Your CSI BOD
The job of the board is to represent the members of the CSI community in determining and demanding appropriate corporate performance, to provide long-term planning and direct the executive members for the current year. In order to assist students in becoming familiar with their elected Board, a “Get to Know Your CSI? BOD” video campaign was created. It included interviews and bios of current directors and executives that students could access on CSI’s social media.
It is a priority for CSI to provide part-time employment opportunities within the organization to current students. A Job Fair was held in April to showcase CSI positions and allow students the opportunity to apply for and engage in interviews during the Job Fair. CSI’s 2019-2020 part-time staff were hired from the pool of very qualified candidates who attended this event.
Student Leadership is an important part of the student experience and CSI’s Leadership Department provided programming throughout the year with Clubs and Societies, the Leadership Ambassador Program and through our Leadership Conferences. The October conference was sold-out, with the January conference reaching near sell-out capacity.
Discover, Lead, Evolve
This was the fall instalment, and focused on personal leadership skill development. This was a sold-out event with over 200 tickets distributed. The conference featured five guest speakers and this was the first time female speakers outnumbered the male speakers. The conference was held at the Crowne Plaza in downtown Kitchener.
Connect, Engage, Together
This was the winter semester edition of the conference program. Unlike the previous conference, this one focused on the concept of teamwork, hence the title: Connect, Engage, Together. While not a completely sold out event, the event was well attended by 142 engaged students.
Global Service Leadership
CSI supports student interest in global citizenship through Global Service Leadership trips each year. This program allows students to volunteer in a community abroad, experience a new culture, develop leadership and career skills, and connect with others. Through sponsorship and fundraising, CSI supported two GSL trips last year.
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