By Dylan Hackett, News Editor
Last Friday, a dozen-and-a-half students gathered for Douglas College President Scott McAlpine’s budget consultation, with concerns aired by students directly and on behalf of the Douglas Students’ Union (DSU), with opinion data and comment collected in their “Your Voice Matters” survey. The forum took place in New Westminster with a live, interactive stream connecting the two attendees at the David Lam campus.
McAlpine detailed 2013/14 operating budget additions, which included 103 new sections for courses already offered by Douglas as well as new offerings, one of which being a Bachelor of Psychology degree.
Student concerns aired through DSU representatives Jillian Griffin, Jesse Stamberg, and Jenelle Davies addressed the difficulty in registering for essential first-year university transfer courses, the lack of available computers available in the library, and the clumsiness of the aged hardware in the 5th-floor and 6th-floor computer labs.
“I use the library often,” one comment read. “As happy as I am with the help of the staff, the availability of the computers could be better.”
Some concerns outlined in the DSU survey report were addressed in the budget, such as the hiring for a student councilor for international students and course section expansion.
A strong sentiment against the Douglas “Do” campaign was expressed by student Jacob Waskow on the principles of the mass exposure of the campaign diluting the message, the aesthetic of the new logo and other usage for the money allocated for the campaign.
“I think that the advertising campaign has not only been prolific, which I would argue to be a bad thing in this case, but has been completely ineffective,” said Waskow.
Davies echoed concerns on the effectiveness of the money allocated for the marketing and communications department’s campaign.
“I agree with the point raised that the advertisements are not effective in the way you want them to be, it’s kind of a joke on Twitter, if you say you go to Douglas College they say, ‘Oh, the one with more ads than SFU,’” Davies explained. “…I just think the expenditures are very high. What are the goals of the advertisement?”
“I can’t answer specifics on the ad budget…but I hear your comments and will consider them,” replied McAlpine.
McAlpine held court for a majority of the hour-and-a-half consultation and jotted down concerns and criticisms that were reiterated by attendees.
“I’m happy to take criticisms and listen to students all of the time,” McApline reflected on a brief break between the employee consultation taking place shortly after. “We heard quite a bit of suggestions around financial aid that we will be following up on.”