Students define role within city

On Sunday, the Waterloo Mayor’s Student Advisory Council (MSAC), a group that includes members from Wilfrid Laurier University, the University of Waterloo and Conestoga College, met in Laurier’s Dr. Alvin Woods Building. With the mayor of Waterloo Brenda Halloran in attendance, MSAC discussed various issues affecting students in Waterloo.

The meeting began with a discussion on the purpose of MSAC. Chairperson Jackie Dobson said that she believes MSAC to be “a bridge between post-secondary students and city council.”

Mayor Halloran suggested that she would like to see a youth council that would operate in parallel with the city council and be a forum for youth to discuss municipal issues, perhaps with a youth councillor for each ward.

MSAC generally agreed that the purpose of the group is to strengthen the relationship between students and the broader community, particularly the municipal government.

The group also identified fighting negative stereotypes about students as a priority, affirmed its willingness to participate in charity campaigns in Waterloo and agreed that a new recruitment effort was required, as it currently recruits through word of mouth only. Dobson stated that she wants MSAC to participate in municipal town hall discussions that relate to student issues.

Mayor Halloran explained the difficulties of managing new development projects, such as condos, and offered to have a meeting with students on the subject. Halloran expressed her support for students taking a more active role in municipal government, saying, “I’d love to be able to come to you and help you understand how the city works.”

In discussing their plans for the term, MSAC planned to assist in the Bracelets of Hope campaign for AIDS in Africa.

Halloran offered her assistance in the campaign and said, “It is something that I feel strongly about because it is an area where we can make a real difference.”

The campaign will feature a fundraising event which would include musical performers, likely taking place on the week of Mar. 8.

The event would have a small entrance fee in order to raise funds for Bracelets of Hope; and it was agreed that it would take place at the Waterloo Collegiate Institute.