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The First ESSCO Working Group Blog!

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first instalment of the monthly ESSCO Working Groups News Updates! I am the 2019-2020 Student Affairs Commissioner and starting this month, I will be posting an update at least once per month regarding the goings-on of our working groups and advocacy team.

Working Group Development & Planning

In June and July, we got our three working groups up and running: Sustainability, Academic Teaching Quality and Ancillary Fee. Our President and I met with each team of chairs to discuss their goals, complete the new Working Group form, and to work with them to develop their goals and operational timelines. We also created new policy regarding the establishment and continuation of our working groups, which help organize and document the work done by our advocacy team.

The Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) has been collaborating with us to fine-tune our working group plans, provide training to our teams, and to give feedback on our areas of research. We have also been working on updating content for our advocacy page on the ESSCO website with our IT Commissioner and Marketing Commissioner, and finalizing our sign-up form.

Sustainability Working Group

 Our sustainability working group has set their course for the year, and are focusing on the shortcomings of events with respect to sustainable practices. The Working Group will assess the areas in which our events can focus on conservation of resources,: alternatives to single-use plastics, energy usage, and strategies to reduce waste and educate our event planners across the province.

Academic Teaching Quality Working Group

 Our academic working group has renewed from last year and seen the appointment of its chair, Lucas Moncada of University of Western Ontario. This team will be focusing on collecting hard data regarding student satisfaction with their education, and identifying key strategies for optimizing student learning including but not limited to:

  • the coordination of learning styles with effective teaching method

  • effective practices used here and abroad

  • the overall impact of the current education system on teaching methods employed

Ancillary Fee Working Group

This working group will be investigating the impact of the Student Choice Initiative on engineering societies and engineering student clubs financially as well as culturally, as budget cuts can have significant implications for activities organized and funded by our student members.

The Student Choice Initative came into effect in the Spring of 2019, and required to students to select which student fees which they would pay. These student fees are typically paid through a percentage of tuition fees, and fund organizations such as engineering societies, ESSCO and other student clubs and provide students with opportunities for engagement. 

Next Up

In the coming weeks, we are looking forward to launching our working group membership applications, introducing training resources for our working groups including data analysis 101 and equity, diversity and inclusion strategies for ensuring our data represents the Ontario student voice, and potentially adding a new Working Group to the mix! This year’s joint PM-PEO-SC Conference is just under a month away, and we will be providing updates to our members then. We will also be working on policy to ensure that year to year, ESSCO’s member interests are well-covered in our working groups, and are excited to present this feedback to members.

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