BY JP ARMSTRONG
In January of 2019, the Ontario government gave college and university students the option to opt-out of “optional services” such as school newspapers, clubs, and student unions.
At Sheridan College, many students and staff believed clubs would suffer due to funding cuts caused by people opting out of the “SSU Clubs” service. However, Ben LeBlanc, president of the Sheridan Student Union, says they have not cut club funding at all. Despite the students who opted out, the SSU still allocated the same amount of funding to Sheridan Clubs that it did in previous years.
“We wanted to keep the student experience the same,” said LeBlanc. Although, the SSU did change how clubs would receive their funding.
There is now a three tier system for club funding. Tier one is for clubs in their starting phase, who have few members and are not yet fully organized. These clubs will receive $200 worth of funding. Tier two and three include clubs that are larger and more established, and these clubs receive the full $400 from the SSU. LeBlanc said that the future of clubs is unsure, but, for now, they will continue to try their best to maintain the student experience.
Jaime Rebanal is a Sheridan student who is worried about the future of clubs since he is part of both the Sheridan Movie Association and Sheridanlife Radio.
“We haven’t noticed anything too drastic yet, but it’s the thought that we could potentially be dropping down that terrifies me.” Clubs are not only a hobby for Rebanal but something that is potentially helping him with his future career. He was able to attend TIFF this year for his Sheridan Radio podcast Cinema From The Spectrum. For Rebanal, and many students like him, losing access to clubs could have wider implications.
When asking students on campus what they thought about the possible loss of clubs, there was a surprising lack of awareness. “I’ve never even heard of the clubs here,” said one confused student while he walked away. This indicates that although money may not be the issue now, student awareness definitely is.
In an effort to solve this problem, the SSU is hosting a “Clubs Carnival,” where booths will be set up to talk about the many social and academic clubs at Sheridan. You can find details below.