Vantage College students will now pay student society fees as they officially join UBC undergraduate student societies.
Vantage College is a 12-month program to prepare incoming students who don’t meet UBC’s English language requirements. Vantage students have not paid student society fees before now.
Joanne Fox, principal and academic director of Vantage, said that this decision was made in an attempt to integrate Vantage students into the student societies of the faculty that they will go into after graduating from Vantage.
“We’ve been working very closely with Jenna [Omassi] and other members of the AMS around this and figuring out how students will be represented,” said Fox. “It [has] now been decided that Vantage students will be integrated into the student societies for the faculty that they will be streaming towards.”
At the time that the issue of representation was brought up, Jenna Omassi, now the current VP academic, chaired the Legislative Procedures Comititee.
Omassi and the past VP of Academic found two possible solutions; either a Vantage College Association could be created and offered non-voting seats on AMS council, or a first year Vantage representative could be added from each stream in their respective undergraduate societies.
“We asked Vantage College students and overwhelmingly said that they would like to be a part of their faculty’s societies and that they felt they were not very close to their faculties,” said Omassi.
“What was motivating us was we heard from our students that they would really like to be integrated and we also heard from the student societies, like the Engineering Undergraduate Student Society, that they wanted to integrate Vantage students into their student societies,” said Fox.
With this in mind, the AMS decided to implement the second option. Come election season, Vantage students will elect three representatives: one from the science stream for the Science Undergraduate Society, one from the engineering stream for the Engineering Undergraduate Society and one from the arts stream for the Arts Undergraduate Society.
“We felt it was a good idea, and Vantage students thought it was good idea, to have these (Vantage) representatives be a part of an undergraduate society because then they’ll have support from everything that comes with that undergraduate society as well,” said Omassi.
In order to ensure that Vantage College representatives are supported, an international students commissioner will work with the Vantage College representatives, according to Omassi.
Fox said that she believes the changes align with students' needs.
“The students are UBC students so we’re really pleased that the student societies and the AMS have found out a good way for them to be represented,” said Fox.