Knowing the functions of your FSU

Header image for the article Knowing the functions of your FSU Credit: HANNAH THEODORE
As a new team of FSU leaders step into their roles, let's revisit what the FSU does for you.

Why do you need to know the roles of the Fanshawe Student Union (FSU) president and its coordinators? The answer will be useful during your student journey at Fanshawe College. As a new team of FSU leaders step into their roles, let’s revisit what the FSU does for you.

Even though the college and FSU have the same goal to deliver a good journey for students, they are different entities. An example of this is the FSU needs to pay rent to occupy the current building on the Fanshawe campus.

The main purpose of FSU is to provide support to students in different areas. Issues involving mental health (or failure of a course because of mental health), finances, and procedural errors can be handled by FSU. Whole decisions and initiatives happen with the support of 120 employees.

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According to FSU president Ricardo Souza, “with the college immigration…we don’t have power to change, we have the power to influence and to negotiate, and to show what’s going on with our students and why we should analyze other possibilities or how we should proceed with other options because it’s affecting students.”

The board of directors, for instance, defines the strategic goals to be implemented by the operations.

“They’re going to have a strategic vision of the FSU, and they’re going to approve, or not approve, some of the solutions and some of the policies we use here,” Souza explained.

The three coordinators and the president are part of the executive team. They plan and coordinate the operations of the FSU. Each member has specific roles. Holding social events that promote interactions between students, for example, is within the scope of the student life coordinator.

Another important field, and something that is of big interest for students, is finance.

“Part of my role is to help students when they have questions or they have issues with personal finances, or just when they want to have a conversation regarding how they can manage their money in a better way,” FSU finance coordinator Karen Martinez said during a recent Instagram live with Interrobang.

One piece of the scope of advocacy and communications coordination is handling the Class Rep program and Clubs Day, in which full-time students can assemble other peers with similar ambitions and interests. Nowadays, the FSU has more than 10 clubs. The complete list is available on fsu.ca/clubs. In addition, the same coordinator is responsible for promoting academic integrity, providing support for students when they face problems for understanding policies, appeal cases involving grades, and plagiarism.

There are some issues that cannot be resolved by the FSU. In these cases, the Union becomes a bridge between the college and its students.

One of the ways to reach it is through the ombudsperson. This person is confidential and unbiased, with their salary being paid by both the FSU and the college.

“We connect those issues with that person to help us fix some complicated situations, especially when it comes to the code of conduct, academic appeals, academic integrity, that kind of stuff,” Souza illustrated.

Presidents can be more vocal with their political positions and must have good relationships with stakeholders such as media, government, and Fanshawe.

Souza offered a helpful tip for the next president.

“The president doesn’t build anything by him or herself. We build as a team. We must be here inspiring people and trying to coordinate all those efforts representing the FSU to the best of our abilities. But at the same time, we need the support of all stakeholders and all like the amazing team we have here to make it happen.”

For more information about FSU and its services, visit fsu.ca.