Fanshawe Student Union proposes a $2 fee increase

A graphic for the FSU’s referendum vote, showing a grocery bag full of food and the words 'Cast Your Vote' CREDIT: FANSHAWE STUDENT UNION
The online referendum will be held between March 4 and 6 to improve food programs and affordable dietary options at Fanshawe.

The Fanshawe Student Union (FSU) has scheduled a referendum that will take place from March 4 at 9 a.m. until March 6 at 2 p.m. The referendum will be held through FanshaweOnline, and the final results will be available on March 6 at 3 p.m.

This vote is asking students to vote yes or no to increase FSU ancillary fees by $2 per semester, with the aim of ensuring the sustainability of the student union’s food bank (The Sharing Shop) and increasing the availability of healthy and affordable food options at the FSU’s campus eateries.

“That’s why all of this came to end up in the referendum. It’s a food security fee of $2 per semester for full-time students,” said the president of the FSU Stephin Sathya.

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Fanshawe College also said it will match the funds provided by students, ensuring even more money going towards supporting food security on campus.

Sathya emphasized the referendum’s importance, framing it as a response to the pressing issue of food insecurity among students, as the food bank has reached a point where it does not have the budget to meet the increase in demand. Officials from the FSU say the Sharing Shop could temporarily close due to the absence of a dependable and sustainable funding source.

“We didn’t want to keep giving out gift cards as that’s not a sustainable way to support our students. Instead, we plan to expand our food programming to include free breakfasts and healthier options. We are even considering setting up a grocery store on campus to give students easy access to groceries. Our goal is to make these services available to every campus, based on its specific needs,” Sathya explained.

“Anything related to implementing the food programs will benefit the students,” said Celia Saldaño, a public relations and corporate communications student at Fanshawe College. “If students have to pay $2 per semester, it’s not that much.”

“[The referendum will be] followed by a series of surveys or a comprehensive survey to comprehend how we can customize our offerings to cater to the preferences of our students. This will include healthy, dietetic, vegetarian or halal options,” Sathya said.

Students who vote in the referendum will also be entered in a prize draw. The draw will occur on March 7, and winners will be randomly selected. The prizes include:

Grand prize: One winner will receive a $500 Amazon gift card

Second prize: Four winners will each receive a $200 Amazon gift card

Third prize: Ten winners will each receive a $100 Amazon gift card

Fourth prize: Fourteen winners will each receive a $50 Amazon gift card

Fifth prize: Twenty winners will receive a $25 Amazon gift card

As the referendum draws near, the FSU is urging all students to actively participate in voting. A voting threshold of at least 20 per cent of students must be met for the referendum to pass. Your vote can make a difference.