Sacrifice – A comment on the Engineering Society

Katie Arnold -
Posted on: January 23, 2019

The Engineering Society isn’t perfect. We have rapid turnover and internal drama. We have issues getting enough volunteers, and attendance at some of our events isn’t stellar. We lose progress on initiatives because of lack of communication across A and B Society or transition to the next exec team. For engineering students on the outside looking in, I can understand it might be intimidating to try and get involved in an organization where most of us met and connected when we were in 1A. My current exec team is full of people I have known for years; people I volunteered with or attended EngSoc events with long before any of us thought about running in an election. And that can be scary, if you’re trying to break into this group.

The Engineering Society is for all undergraduate engineers. Our events are for all engineers, our elections are for all engineers, and our services are for all engineers.

A thought on Sacrifice. Your Engineering Society executive are unpaid, 20-h-per-week (minimum) volunteers. We have full course loads, and many of us are in our most difficult academic terms. All of our commissioners and directors are unpaid volunteers with full engineering course loads. The events we run and services we provide come at a personal sacrifice. We sacrifice study time, we sacrifice sleep, we sacrifice personal relationships. A lot of the effort that goes into the Engineering Society isn’t fully appreciated. Our VPs Academic don’t have to miss classes to try and make the Co-operative Education program stronger and safer for our students, but they, like the rest of us, bite the bullet to bring the best to our students.

Our staff in the C&D, Ridgidware, and EngSoc Office are paid part-time with full course loads. Our full time staff, Mary, Lily and Ashley manage our day-to day operations in the EngSoc office and C&Ds, and are some of the most hardworking people I’ve ever met. Mary Bland has been working extra hours in an effort to ensure the new EngSoc operations in E7 are up and running efficiently and effectively and has made many sacrifices for the Society previously.

The Engineering Society runs on Blood, Sweat, and Tears from our volunteers and staff, and our biggest accomplishments were championed by unpaid students. My frustration with another student-run corporation on campus is that they appear to burn money as a fuel and look down upon the member societies. I’ve seen paid staff positions with less efficacy or responsibility than our volunteer roles. I’ve seen the Engineering Society executive workload equated to 2-5 hours per week, (Federations of Students Council Procedure 24), two categories below Federation Councillors (5-10h per week).  I would like you to present me with a Councillor that commits 10 hours per week to the Federation, or an EngSoc Executive who only commits 2h to the Engineering Society.

My biggest frustration is when I was told President Richard thinks that the Engineering Society should stop complaining when the Federation violates the Societies Agreement (on three separate occasions). I know that the Federation Executive work hard, but I think that they need to acknowledge that so do we.

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