Referendum to reach out

Dawson considers joining Étudiantes Axés sur le Monde

by Bianca Brais

The Dawson Student Union (DSU) is holding a referendum in order to see if Dawson College will be part of the Étudiants and Étudiantes Axés sur le Monde (EAM) program, an organization that provides help to Third World countries.

The EAM is a non-profit organization throughout the province of Quebec. It is a coalition of 30, 000 CEGEP students who want to make the world a better place.

“This project, which gives communities in the Third World a chance at a better life, builds awareness in CEGEPs about global poverty, and sends students on internships,” Melanie Hotchkiss, former DSU president and Student World Outreach (SWO) co-founder said.

“SWO is a great opportunity, it would show students what they have and what they take for granted, Fine Arts student Magalie Michaud said. “If we can try and give other countries what we have, why wouldn’t we? Can you imagine not having a house or not having food to eat?”

“We believe that there are a lot of great initiatives that SWO can implement in order to make a difference in [lives] all over the world. [I] sincerely hope that political strategies aren’t being used that would overturn the democratic right of Dawson students to vote to join such endeavors,” Hotchkiss said.

A petition signed by 451 Dawson students was submitted to the DSU, asking to call a referendum to join SWO, but the DSU initially ignored the petition.

“Their motives seem questionable. A special General Assembly might be held, but nothing is certain yet, Hotchkiss said. “It would clearly be preferable to hold a referendum, such as students requested in their petition. Better chance at reaching quorum.”

So far, 10 schools have held referendum, Carl Perks, DSU President explained. The referendum was supposed to be approved on last Wednesday but due to the quorum not being reached, it didn’t take place. The referendum will now take place on March 10 and 11 instead.

In order for the referendum to pass, five percent of Dawson students would have to be present.

“If we don’t have five percent of students, the quorum won’t pass,” Perks said.

“I’d like to attend but they tend to hold these meetings either when I have class or am rushing to get to work,” fourth semester International Business student Alia Jason said.

The petition for EAM was successful, obtaining 451 signatures from Dawson students.

“We intend on going to the DSU executive meeting to get some answers. Ultimately, if the DSU really cared about the will of its constituents they would make the referendum happen,” Hotchkiss said.

“It would be a great opportunity for students to join the fight against world poverty,” Hotchkiss said.

Some of the projects that will be tackled this year include water catchment’s systems to provide clear water to communities in Panama, providing desks and school supplies in Nicaragua, and to build immediate housing in Chile.

“I think it’s a great idea for Dawson to be part of this project. It’ll be a great experience too for those who want to take part in the internships and make a difference,” fourth semester Commerce student Riana Thompson said.

In order for Dawson to join EAM Student World Outreach, it would cost the DSU $7500, which would end up costing each student one dollar.

However, for this to happen, the referendum would have to pass.

“One dollar per student is nothing, if it would mean getting the opportunity to help out a Third World country, it would be worth it,” second semester Social Studies student Rebecca Gelineau said.

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