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Exclusive: IGNITE meets UTSU to talk SCI, considers food truck

Two student unions came together on Wednesday.

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IGNITE on Wednesday welcomed a delegation to Humber College from the University of Toronto Students’ Union to discuss critical programming in the midst of the Student Choice Initiative and together considered the creation of a “mobile food truck”, according to an official that was present.

The UTSU delegation was led by Vice President of University Affairs Avani Singh, who told The Avro Post that they headed to Humber’s North Campus to learn more about IGNITE initiatives, including the sleep lounges and the pay-what-you-can soup bar.

“We are inspired by how well they are run and, given the SCI’s failure to acknowledge food security and student experience as being essential, it’s important that we look for alternative avenues of improving student services on campus,” Singh said.

The SCI, officially called the Student Choice Initiative, was mandated by the Ontario Progressive Conservative government in January and allows students as of this fall to opt-out of funding certain aspects of student unions, campus publications and other organizations.

The move was part of a financial reform package that saw domestic tuition fees cut by 10 per cent, funding to post-secondary institutions slashed and student grants through the Ontario Student Assistance Program significantly reduced.

Singh added that “we are talking about a potential collaboration that would see the creation of a mobile food truck”, however, when pressed for more details, the vice president said that that the details are still being worked out but they hope it will be a collaboration between Toronto schools.

The Avro Post reached out to IGNITE, the student union that represents those enrolled at Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber, for details but there has not been a response.

The soup bar is an initiative that was launched at the beginning of the 2018 fall semester in the then-LinX Lounge, now known the Linx Café. Various sources speaking on background have told The Post that it was in planning stages before the IGNITE elections that year, confirmed in February by the Et Cetera.

The vice president elected that year, Jeremy Afonso, ran on a platform that primarily highlighted bringing back an on-campus bar to the LinX Lounge, but that was derailed by the soup bar, which helps hundreds of students a year and was highlighted by the CBC.

The meeting between the two student unions comes after IGNITE was criticized by some students in the spring for their apparent inaction and lack of co-operation while counterparts were working together to fight the optional student fees and financial cuts at Queen’s Park.

Most notably, the Canadian Federation of Students, in conjunction with the York Federation of Students, have worked to fight the legitimacy of the Student Choice Initiative in court by claiming that the province does not have the authority to impose policy on the relationship between institutions and student unions. ■

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