Levy Council Challenges Students: #OptInTrent

Trent University Peterborough Levy Council logo.

The Trent University Peterborough Levy Council has launched a campaign during November 2019 to promote student involvement with the levy groups.

The Levy Council was formed through the Trent University Peterborough Undergraduate Levy Policy, which was developed over the 2018-2019 academic year with representation from Trent’s levy groups. The policy was requested in a referendum question in Spring 2018, and the policy was approved through referendum in Spring 2019.

While many of the levy groups at Trent Peterborough were already close historically, such as The Seasoned Spoon Café and the Trent Vegetable Garden’s symbiotic relationship, the policy-writing process and Council meetings have brought many groups together to create new and exciting opportunities on campus and off. For instance, Arthur Newspaper teamed up with Trent Film Society to screen A Hard Day’s Night (1964) during Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) Peterborough’s annual DisOrientation week in September 2019.

Trent Peterborough’s levy groups have also bounded over shared concerns about the “Student Choice Initiative” (SCI), a provincial mandate that allows students to “opt out” of paying some non-tuition fees, whether they were introduced by their post-secondary institution or they were democratically introduced by a student union referendum. Many groups have expressed worry that decreased fee revenue through the SCI will hinder the level of service, or even the function, that they can provide students.

Because of this, the Trent University Levy Council is encouraging students to engage with the levy groups in a new way, too.

“The biggest barrier to getting involved with the levies is being unaware of what they do, and who the people behind them are,” explained Ankit Tripathi, Vice President of External Affairs of the Trent International Student Association (TISA). “That’s the barrier the #OptInChallenge eliminates: it helps us – the students – learn what our levies do.”

The goals of the campaign are outreach and education, which the Council hopes will help students make an informed decision about their place in the community ahead of the next round of opt-outs.

Zoë Easton, coordinator for the Trent Centre for Women and Trans People (TCWTP), said, “At the Centre, a big part of our work is getting students involved. We don’t want to dictate – we’d rather have students tell us what’s useful to them. This bingo game is a great way to sample a bit of what our groups have to offer and make sure your voice is heard.”

The bingo card features 25 squares, representing 22 levy groups and services, as well as two ancillary fees that were made optional by the SCI. As such, the bingo card is non-exhaustive: Trent University Peterborough has over 40 active levies that students support.

To get involved, cut out the bingo card in the physical copy of the newspaper (Volume 54 Issue 9) or print off a copy below and follow the tasks to receive a sticker, initial, or signature to mark off the spaces. Completed cards have finished one or more lines in any direction. When you complete your card, drop it off at the Sadleir House main office at 751 George street North to be entered into a draw for a Trent University Levy Council swag bag.

About Leina Amatsuji-Berry 31 Articles
Leina Amatsuji-Berry is Arthur's co-editor-in-chief alongside Lubna Sadek for Volumes 53 (2018-2019) and 54 (2019-2020). She was Arthur's Digital Media Coordinator during Volume 52 (2017-2018). She is a Trent University alumna, having completed a joint-major Honours degree in English literature and media studies with the class of 2018. Her interests include intersectional social justice, social media, memes, critical theory & philosophy, and fashion. When she is not working, she enjoys writing poetry, drinking tea, and eating burritos and sushi. Her karaoke skills will blow you away.