FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
What is External Affairs?
External affairs refers to projects and relations that are not contained within the McGill community. This includes working with representatives from other Quebec and Canadian post-secondary education institutions , lobbying the government at various levels, and getting involved with various initiatives within the greater Montreal community.
External affairs recognizes that students are not just students and their issues are not isolated solely to campus and often have far reaching implications, and so we work with diverse stakeholders to address those issues.
What is the External Affairs Mandate?
The external affairs has a wide set of responsibilities that are untaken by them as well as a team of employees. The main points of the mandate are focused on equity, advocacy, and political campaigns, as well as representing SSMU to the Montreal community and external bodies.
To take an indepth look at the VP External’s responsibilities, take a look at the VP External’s 2022-2023 Mandate Letter, where you’ll find the entire mandate of the position as set out in the SSMU’s governance documents. You can also consult a summarized version of the VP External’s mandates here.
Where do I find information about events and initiatives?
I have an idea for an initiative. Who do I contact?
Depending on the specifics of initiatives, different people may be more helpful to contact.
- If you are interested in a project related to the Montreal community or housing contact the Community Affairs Commissioner
- If your initiative is related to one of SSMU’s affiliated campaigns related to a social justice issue (e.g., the struggles against settler-colonialism, the climate crisis or police brutality) or you think that it should be, contact the Political Campaigns Coordinators
- If your initiative is related to promoting equity and inclusion of Black students on campus contact the Black Affairs Commissioner
- If you are interested in an initiative relating to francophone affairs and inclusion of francophone students contact the Francophone Affairs Commissioner
- If your idea is related to the Indigenous communities within and surrounding McGill contact the Indigenous Affairs Commissioner
- Outside of SSMU External Affairs it can also be helpful to contact clubs, services or external organizations related to your initiatives for collaboration. Don’t forget to take a look at the SSMU website to see whether your initiative fits in another executive’s portfolio.
How can I get involved in the SSMU’s External Affairs Portfolio?
With the broad mandate covered by the External Affairs portfolio there is no shortage of opportunities to get involved. You can:
- Follow SSMU External Affairs on Facebook,Instagram and Twitter
- Apply for a job in the External Affairs portfolio
- Attend an event or protest
- Join or start a political campaign (@Divest, @SPD, etc.)
- Email email@example.com to join the Affordable Student Housing Committee
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org and join the Popular Education Events Committee and help plan events like Culture Shock and Social Justice Days in partnership with QPIRG-McGill.
- Contact the Community Engagement Commissioner to apply to join the Community Engagement Committee. The Community Engagement Committee is responsible for leveraging SSMU’s links with local community organizations to help plan event series and connect McGill students when possible.
- Volunteer in Milton-Parc/SSMU projects like Trash2Treasure or Street Teams.
- Reach out! We’re happy to support you anytime! email@example.com
How can I get involved in the SSMU?
There are many ways to get involved in SSMU depending on what you are interested in. You can:
- Attend an event
- Join a club or volunteer with a service
- Join a committee
- Apply for a job at SSMU
- Learn more about the inner workings of SSMU and exercise your right to vote by attending General Assemblies
- Run for elected positions like senators, executives, members of first year council, or legislative councilors
- Attend a Legislative Council or the Board of Directors meeting
- Apply to be a Director of SSMU
- Apply for funding to start your own project
- Look at the SSMU Calendar
How can I get involved in my community?
Montreal is a big city with many opportunities to get involved and meet people beyond the McGill bubble.
- Volunteering is a great way to give back and meet new people. Check out the question “What volunteer opportunities are available in McGill and Montreal?” to find out more
- Attend events in the city
- Join a group or organization related to something you care about
- Talk to your neighbours
- See the Community Engagement Database which aims to facilitate student engagement with various Montreal organizations
- If you live in Milton-Parc, look at the Milton-Parc section of the website to learn about opportunities specific to that neighbourhood.
What volunteer opportunities are available at McGill and in Montreal?
- See the Community Engagement Database (link) which aims to facilitate student engagement with various Montreal organizations
- McGill also maintains a list of volunteer opportunities which can be found here
- SSMU clubs and services provide a wide range of services and resources to the student body and most rely on volunteers to help them operate. More information about each services and their contact information can be found here: https://ssmu.ca/student-life/clubs-services-isg/
- If you still have not found an opportunity that you are passionate about, look for local organizations addressing issues that you care about and see if they are looking for volunteers. Centraide has a database for finding volunteer opportunities that can be a great place to start.
How can I meet the VP External?
How can I contact my SSMU Representatives?
As SSMU members you are represented by a variety of students on different levels of governance.
- SSMU’s Legislative Council is SSMU’s representative and political body. They make decisions and initiate legislation for SSMU which includes setting internal policies and procedures, defining external policy on advocacy, and approval of referendum and fee levy questions
- Legislative Council includes thirty councillors elected by specific constituencies, including school and faculty associations and councils representing particular student demographics, and the seven SSMU Executives. You can find your representatives and their contact details here https://ssmu.ca/governance/ssmu-legislative-council/
- The McGill Senate is the highest governing body of the University tasked with general control and supervision over academic matters.
- It is composed of 111 voting members broadly representative of the University’s constituencies (faculty, staff, students, administrators, Governors and alumni). You can find your SSMU representatives and their contact details here https://ssmu.ca/governance/senators/
- Each Faculty and School at McGill has an undergraduate students’ society. They plan events, advocate for students’ interests, and offer many great involvement opportunities. Note that some faculties have smaller departmental societies within the larger faculty society (e.g., Anthropology Students’ Association (ASA) within Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS)). You can find information about each organization here: https://www.mcgill.ca/engage/overview/faculty-and-school-associations/undergraduate-faculty-and-school-associations
- SSMU’s Board of Directors supervises the management, and administers the business and affairs of SSMU. You can find their meeting information and contact information here: https://ssmu.ca/governance/board-of-directors/
- SSMU executives represent students in various capacities both on and off campus. Find out about each of their responsibilities as well as their contact information here: https://ssmu.ca/about-us/organigram/
I have a concern about the SSMU or a specific executive. Who do I contact? What should I do?
There are several methods of addressing concerns about SSMU or one of its executives depending on the nature of the concern.
- You can contact one or several of the executives either over email or during their office hours. Further information on each executive’s mandate and their contact information can be found here: https://ssmu.ca/about-us/organigram/
- You can contact your legislative council representative. See the “How can I contact my SSMU representatives” FAQ for more information on this topic.
- You can contact SSMU’s Board of Directors who are tasked with supervising the management, and administration of the business and affairs of SSMU. Information about Board meetings and representatives can be found here: https://ssmu.ca/governance/board-of-directors/
- If your concern is related to an equity issue you can submit a complaint to the Equity Commissioners. For more information, please contact the SSMU Equity Commissioners at firstname.lastname@example.org or submit a complaint using the online form.
- If your concern is related to gendered and sexual violence SSMU’s Anti-Violence Coordinators (AVCs) are responsible for coordinating SSMU’s response to sexual violence, and they can be reached at email@example.com.
- SSMU also has Complaint and Feedback forms where we gather complaints, comments and ideas about the society and its services
How can I contact Local Government Officials?
In Canada there are three levels of government: Federal, Provincial, and Municipal. Each branch has different responsibilities and representatives; below are links to find your representative and their contact information for each level.
- Federal representatives are Members of Parliament (MPs) https://www.ourcommons.ca/members/en
- Provincial representatives are Members of the National Assembly (MNAs) http://www.assnat.qc.ca/en/deputes/index.html
- Municipal representatives include the mayor and city councilors https://montreal.ca/en/elected-officials