By Maham Abedi
If all goes according to plan, Faculty of Communication and Design (FCAD) students may have their own student society by January.
The initiative, launched by 11 students, proposes a brand new student society called the Ryerson Communication and Design Society (RCDS) that would enable full-time students from FCAD’s nine programs to collaborate on projects and mingle at social events.
“We wanted to make our students feel like they have a home here, a centralized base, rather than just their classrooms to work in,” said Cormac McGee, a third-year journalism student leading the proposal.
McGee said the main goal is to get the programs working together.
“There’s a lot of skills these programs have that can be intertwined with each other.”
McGee said this would be accomplished by creating a job board where students would post their skills in hopes other students need help with schoolwork. For example, as a journalism student, McGee could create a post seeking a photography student to help out with an event that needs to be covered.
Over the past few months, the student group has been receiving guidance from FCAD dean Gerd Hauck, who says he fully backs the initiative.
“These societies provide opportunities that a regular curriculum doesn’t provide,” he said. “We have been constrained by a lack of collaboration and synergy with other schools in the past. We want to break through that.”
Hauck said student support support for the society has been overwhelmingly positive so far.
A survey of 1,000 FCAD students conducted in March indicated 95 per cent of students were in favour of creating RCDS, while 70 per cent were willing to fund it via a student levy.
The society is not ready for creation yet though; there are still several administrative holes to jump through. The students must present their case to the Board of Governors at the Sept. 30 meeting.
If approved, a referendum for FCAD students will be held in November, asking whether they are willing to pay an estimated fee of $30 per semester to fund the society. Fees would not be charged until next September.
Getting students to agree to a student levy may take some convincing. Second-year journalism student Yara Kashlan said while she thinks FCAD could benefit from unifying their disciplines, she needs more concrete plans before agreeing to pay.
“If they gave a clear agenda and specific goals, then yes, I would agree to pay,” she said.
The student levy would cover the bulk of the funding, said McGee. Additional funding would also be provided by the provost office and FCAD.
RSU president Melissa Palermo said that although the union is in communication with student groups across campus, such groups work best when created in conjunction with the students’ union.
“Students are most successful organizing when they do it in a completely student-led way, with the student union,” she said.