Big changes in store for Laurier arts council


Graphic by Lena Yang
Graphic by Lena Yang

Formerly known as the Council for the Intellectual and Cultural Development of the Arts, Wilfrid Laurier University’s arts council is going through big changes this year — the first being its name.

Coming into the 2015-16 academic year, CICDA has officially changed their name to the Arts Undergraduate Society.

“Sometimes it feels like arts programs get the short end of the stick when it comes to funding and just overall recognition and AUS wants to change that stereotype,” said AUS vice-president: external Jenna Centofanti.

“Revamping the former CICDA to AUS is going to give the whole operation a modern face lift and help us become recognizable in the social media world as well as on campus.”

After seeing the potential in other faculty associations, such as School of Business and Economics Students Society, president of AUS Tom Ebeyer believed CICDA was not living up to its own capability.

“It was quite clear that the name was so disenfranchising, you know, ‘Council for the Intellectual and Cultural Development of the Arts’ was quite pretentious and didn’t resonate with first-year students,” said Ebeyer. “So we decided it kind of needed a little bit of a change or restructuring to get the most value out of the fee that students in the faculty of arts are paying.”

According to Ebeyer, the former CICDA is being restructured to represent their core structure and program associations.

AUS oversees 35 to 40 clubs, including the History Students Association and the Political Society Association, as well as groups like Laurier Musical Theatre.

“We decided … there was a real need for a differentiation between those two different groups; some are personal interest based and that’s great and we totally support that, and some are academic based,” said Ebeyer.

Ebeyer noted the goal of AUS is to enhance student engagement and advocacy within the departments in the faculty of arts.

“We want to really help history students go to a history students association and have their voice heard on things like course selection.”

According to Ebeyer, a few programs in the faculty of arts that didn’t formerly have student associations will be launched this September.

AUS is also testing out initiatives like the Grant Fund Council, a project designed for student groups and campus clubs to receive funding for their events and projects, and the Laurier Undergraduate Journal of the Arts.

The AUS has also taken on the Social Innovation project, a student-run program dedicated to helping university students become innovators and entrepreneurs, as an internal program to give students more opportunities to transfer theoretical knowledge into community oriented projects.

“The Social Innovation Project is basically striving to create an environment where arts student can flourish,” said Centofanti.

“We’ll have workshops and placements with community partners that’ll give them some real world experience,” echoed Ebeyer.

AUS has yet to put out a public launch, but Ebeyer is hoping to announce their changes by the beginning of Orientation Week.

“We are waiting for the website to be finished, now it obviously has to be launched no later than the very first day of Orientation Week,” Ebeyer continued.

“In an ideal world I’d say September 1 we’re all ready to go, but it’s a big project that we’re doing.”

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