Getting involved in your student union, the Northern Undergraduate Student Society (NUGSS) is one of the best on-campus opportunities you can have at UNBC. The leadership experience within it is exceptional, and in this article, I’m going to elaborate on my experience after two years of being a board member and why I think your involvement in it can be so beneficial for your personal and professional growth.
What is NUGSS?
NUGSS is an organization built by student leadership and focused on the needs of students. Their mission is to enhance the social and academic life of UNBC students by providing services that address the diversity of student needs in a responsible and inclusive manner.” They provide many services such as the U-PASS Program, Health and Dental Plan, the Ombudsperson, The Thirsty Moose Pub, Degrees Coffee Co., emergency financial aid, food bank services, and lockers for students. In addition, they manage the Northern University Student Centre, where you can find CFUR Radio, Over the Edge Newspaper, Prince George Public Interest Research Group, and the Northern Pride Centre.
How did I land in NUGSS
It was the year 2019 when my friend Calin, the current president of NUGSS, talked me into getting involved as a board member. At that time, I knew nothing about what NUGSS is and what they do. All I knew was that they were the ones that are behind our Health and Dental plan. At that time, I was really questioning why I should get involved in my student union. As an example, I was saying, I am a Health Science student, and being a student union board member has nothing to do with Healthcare or I have so many classes that I should be focusing on my school work, not on random extracurriculars or that I can spend my time on doing a work that is actually paid. After my friend peer-pressured me (which I’m grateful btw lol) into being a board member, my whole perspective changed and I was so happy to be part of it. Today I’m the current NUGSS VP, and I have grown in my role thanks to the supportive team of NUGSS.
What I Like about my NUGSS Experience
Here are the reasons why I appreciate my involvement in NUGSS in the past two years as a board member: 1- Although I am a Health Science student, being part of the Board of Directors was a leadership opportunity that is a highlight in my resume, especially when applying to a graduate school. I am the voice of the students, and I have a say in every decision that is made for my friends, the undergrad students, and the campus that I’m studying and living in. 2- Although I always had classes to be worried about, NUGSS tasks were very manageable, and I didn’t mind at all spending 2-4 hours of my week to spend in a meeting that kept me in the loop of everything that was happening on my campus; so no crazy commitment, and high reward. 3- Being aware and on top of the news and events of the campus actually puts me in a lot more opportunities that I could get involved in and grow. For example, one of the reasons that I got involved in Over the Edge newspaper is because I saw their presentation in our NUGSS meeting, and I thought it’s a cool opportunity to get involved! Or the many opportunities with the UNBC radio station (CFURadio 88.7 FM), the PG Pirg organization or Women Centre, etc. 4- For investing 2-6 hours of your time in a week and doing all the duties (I will explain what each role consists of), you will be compensated with some honorarium. Honourariums are designed to reward Directors and Councilors for that sacrifice of time for working for Society. So it’s not free labour lol. As the Councilor of Equity Diversity and Inclusion (CEDI) you will receive $300 per semester. As the Director at Large, you will receive $600 per semester ($1200 total in a year); as the NUGSS Vice president (VP), you will receive $700 per semester ($1400 total for one year) and as President, you will receive $800 per semester ($1600 total for one year) and of course the higher the position and the pay, the more responsibilities, the more the time commitment and the more the honorarium. 5- Before I explain all the roles and what you will be doing as a NUGSS board member, here is the best advantage in my opinion, but this needs consistency. You see, all of us want to show growth in our roles. When your employers want to hire you, they want to see that you are committed to your organization as well and that you have grown in it. With NUGSS, you have the golden opportunity to show this off and check all those boxes. There are many roles in NUGSS which each comes with unique experiences. By experiencing each role, you can show this growth and confidently acquire the highest leadership roles, such as Vice president and president in the future.
My Recommendation to you or my Younger self
Here is what I recommend to my first-year self. First, start with being a volunteer at NUGSS. There is a variety of roles you can be involved. Areas of volunteering within NUGSS include the Food Bank, the Monetary Affairs Commission, event planning, and much more! All you have to do is search “ NUGSS volunteer form” and fill it out. Then next, you should apply to become a CEDI member. As a CEDI member, you will monitor the activities and motions of the board of directors and share your feedback through the lens of Equity, diversity, and inclusion. For example, you could represent international students, people of color, Indigenous peoples, LGBTQ+, and Women, or advocate for Accessibility or Sustainability. You will use your personal lens to advocate for one or all of the mentioned groups and share your opinion of how the Board’s decisions could be enhanced for the potential underrepresented group of your choice.
There are six positions in NUGSS Equity Council, and the Council meets at least once per month through zoom, although additional meetings may be called at the discretion of the Council Chair. To be more specific and in a nutshell, as a CEDI, you will attend a monthly meeting to monitor the board’s decision; do a campaign of your choice that advocates for an underrepresented group of the undergrad student population or an area of your interest that is beneficial to some extent for the undergrad body, such as the fight for women rights or a matter of interest that students care about such terminating student loans interest campaign and more. That is it!
The next role you could nominate yourself is being a Director at large! You are the voice of your student body, and you will have a say in all operational tasks that are done by NUGSS. You will attend weekly meetings to discuss different items, such as what is happening at the Moose Pub and Degrees Coffee that are businesses run by NUGSS, monitor club activities, get reports from at least two other UNBC committees that are active at UNBC, and present it during the board meeting and spending an hour of the week, doing tabling in the Wintergarden to interact with students and educate students about NUGSS and grab feedback.
The next role could be the VP of NUGSS to nominate for! Basically the same as being a director, except you have to spend an extra hour before the board of director meeting with the president and the NUGSS general manager to go over the agenda of the main meeting and also, you will be the chair of the Monetary Affairs Commission (MAC), a Commission comprised of the Vice President, two Directors at Large and four volunteer undergraduate students who collectively review all applications for funding from Student-Led Organizations (SLOs) and individual students. Also, when the president of NUGSS is not present, the Vice President is responsible for all president does.
Now the president is a lot more work, as far as I know, but come on! You could be the future president of your whole undergrad student society at UNBC; that is huge! anyways . here is what you do as the NUGSS president: The NUGSS President is responsible for supervising all Directors and seeing to the proper functioning of the Board of Directors. The President Chairs Board meetings, the Annual General Meeting, and any Extraordinary General Meetings. The President, along with the Vice President, NUGSS General Manager, and Assistant General Manager, is invested with signing authority for NUGSS. When it comes to communication and relations with all bodies external to NUGSS, the NUGSS President is the “face and voice” of NUGSS. The President conducts all media interviews, sends all communications to the undergraduate student population informing them of NUGSS activities, and communicates on behalf of NUGSS with the Administration of UNBC, the Faculty Association, all levels of government, Student Senators and Board of Governors Representatives, the UNBC Senate and the UNBC Graduate Student Society. The President attends all meetings of the UNBC Senate and all other meetings that the President of NUGSS is required to attend on behalf of the undergraduate student body.
What are you waiting for? Connect with NUGSS board members or pop by the office right above the Moose Pub and see what roles and positions are available. If the elections are not active when you are reading this article, you can still get a lot of experience by volunteering for NUGSS or working for organizations that are run under NUGSS supervision, such as PG Pirg, CFUR Radio, Over the Edge Newspaper and more. Good luck folks!