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The Mount Saint Vincent University Student Union is comprised of the entire student body. Individual students are then elected as Student Union executive members to represent the entire student body. These elected officials are also known as student council members, or councillors.
The Mount Saint Vincent student government association became a member of the Maritime College Students Federation in 1939 and later became a charter member of the Canadian Federation of Catholic College Students in 1941. Student government has been a part of the Mount’s tradition since its early days. Initially, class presidents, vice presidents, and treasurers were elected for each graduating class (freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior) on a yearly basis. This tradition began to change during the 1950 – 1951 academic year when Mary Cossitt was elected as the first Student Union president. Class presidents were also elected during this year. Tradition changed yet again in 1952, when only one president (Marguerite Peddle), was elected to represent the entire student body for the 1951-1952 calendar year.
The fist edition of the Mount’s student newspaper entitled: The Picaro, was printed in October of 1965. The newspaper was operated by the Mount’s Student Union and published until 2005. The name was briefly changed to Jargon from 2002-2004 and was eventually changed to the Sentinel in 2005. The last issue was published in January of 2011. The name Picaro, was chosen because of its meaning. Picaro is the term used to describe a hero in early Spanish literature. He is a person who roams about the countryside, retaining the ideas and philosophies expressed by the people he encounters. He then forms his own philosophy and ideas. The objective of this newspaper was to give an overall picture of the times and events as they happened.
It was under Student Union president, Linda Bergstorm (1966), that the Student Union revised their constitution and began working towards incorporation. Mount students were involved in the organization of the Nova Scotia Union of Students in 1967 and participated in a march on Province House to present a brief on student fees to the Premier. It was in 1968 that the board of governors invited the Student Union to send two student representatives to be voting members of the board. The board also invited the university senate to send faculty representatives to join the board. In 1969, the senate voted to have 3 student representatives join the senate, despite the fact that the student brief had asked for 9. The students served on the library, convocation, cultural affairs, and academic committees of the senate.
The Student Union had traditionally recognized those executive members who had made outstanding contributions to the student activities by awarding them a Gold V in their Senior year. On April 6, 1969, the Student Union instituted the silver-V’s and council pins. The council pins are awarded to executive members of the Union in any year and may be for contributions in a specific area. The Silver and Gold V’s are awarded only to those in their graduating year for superior leadership, achievement and service.
The Student Union revised its constitution and became an incorporated body in 1970. It also established guidelines for elections and financial controls. The Union's executive members were involved at a national level and the Student Union president became an active member of the Student’s Affaires Committee of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (A.U.C.C.). This organization was established in 1911 and is now known as Universities Canada.
The Student Union broadened its horizons and introduced communications procedures for dealing with university and inter-university committees. The Union cooperated with Dal Housie University in community action programs, student orientation, and winter carnival. In October of 1974, Mount Saint Vincent University singed an official agreement with Dalhousie University which specified a desire for cooperation between the two universities in order to avoid the unnecessary duplication of resources and services. The executive member in charge of External Affaires for each union would then have the same rights and privileges as executive member of the other’s union (other than voting and committee membership).
During the 1970’s, the Student Union sponsored and conducted a course evaluation of the Mount professors and published the results. A few years later, Mount students and professors collaborated to create a more in-depth survey. It was also during this decade that the Student Union took over the production of the student handbooks from the Mount administration. The books continued to deliver helpful advice to Mount students attempting to navigate their way through university life but no longer included information about prescribed behaviour or dress.
The Student Union store opened in the fall of 1972, in the Rosaria Centre. The store began as a Student Union summer project but remained open afterwards. The goal of the store was to offer reasonably priced products to students that were easily accessible. It initially sold snacks, penny candies, basic groceries, and toiletries. Over the years, the store has also sold second had books and school clothing. The store still operates today and is known as the Crow n’ Go.
The Mount Saint Vincent Student Union was among the first members of the Atlantic Federation of Students, (A.F.S.). The federation began in January of 1975 as a forum in which students of the Atlantic region could discuss their mutual concerns and deal cooperatively. The Mount Saint Vincent Student Union later became a member of the Students’ Union of Nova Scotia (S.U.N.S.), which is the provincial organization of students attending a post-secondary institution in Nova Scotia. The organization was established in November of 1978 in response to the need for students organizing on a provincial level rather than a regional one.
Up until the 1979-1980 school year, all Student Union presidents at the Mount had been female. Men began attending the Mount in 1967. The first male president elected was Paul McNair, who held office for the 1979-1980 academic year.
The Mount Saint Vincent Student Union had previously been a member of the National Union of Students (N.U.S.), which was founded in 1972 but the organization was reorganized and the name was changed to the Canadian Federation of Students (C.F.S.) in October of 1981. This organization was established in order to provide Canadian students with a national decision-making forum. The goals of this organization were to achieve a system of post-secondary education in Canada that is rationally planned, of high quality, and accessible to all.
The first annual Athletics Alumnae and Student Union Awards Banquet was held in 1978. Prior to this year, the Athletics Awards dinner and Student Council Awards dinner were held separately. The event is typically held in March and honours those who have done outstanding work in sports, government, or in a particular society.
The campus pub, which is owned and operated by the Student Union, first opened its doors during the 1981-1982 school year. It was quite successful, even in its early years. In addition to serving pub style food and drinks, the pub has played host to many talent shows, coffee houses, dances, trivia nights, live performances, and other social events. The pub is also available for student bookings such as fundraisers and society events. The pub continues to be a popular campus hangout at the Mount today and was renamed Vinnie’s Pub.
During the 1981-1982 school year, an Inter-University agreement was signed between the Mount’s Student Union and the Student Unions of other local universities. The Open-Door Policy Agreement included Mount Saint Vincent University, the Technical University of Nova Scotia, Saint Mary’s University, Dalhousie University, and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. The purpose of this agreement was to allow students to gain admittance to the functions of these universities’ cooperative adventures which would take place during the 1982-1983 academic school year.
The first annual Student Union Leadership Conference was held in March of 1982 at the Mount. The conference offered leadership workshops to society and student leaders, as well as other interested students. Topics covered included entertainment and publicity, assertiveness, special needs of international students, time management, and many more. The conference was attended by students from Mount Saint Vincent, Saint Xavier, Acadia, Dalhousie, and Saint Mary’s University.
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This subseries contains miscellaneous financial documents that are related to the Mount Saint Vincent University Student Union. The file presently contains a Mount Saint Vincent University Student Council Accounting Manual.
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August 18, 2017
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