The CFES President’s Meeting 2017 took place at Camp Jubilee, in North Vancouver, BC from Friday September 22 to Sunday September 24, hosted by Simon Fraser University.
President’s meeting (PM) is a retreat-style meeting that serves as the first gathering of the new school member representatives and the officer team. Through PM, the members can gain a thorough understanding of the CFES team, projects and priorities, as well as provide their input on our goals, long-term direction, and operations.
We began Friday afternoon at SFU’s downtown Vancouver campus with CFES 101, an introduction to our meetings, events, and partners. We also went through the team’s major projects this year: Academic Advocacy and the National Survey, the Coalition of International Engineering Student Organizations (CIESO), and our sustainability stance. These projects would later become the major discussion topics of the entire weekend.
After we arrived at Camp Jubilee by bus and boat, we settled in before sessions continued. Included was an eye-opening formal Inclusivity Training presented by Vanessa Raponi, the President and Founder of EngiQueers Canada. She gave us an introduction on recognizing and avoiding categories of non-inclusivity: classism, ableism, heterosexism & sexism, and racism. We are very excited about our new standing partnership with EngiQueers Canada, and look forward to future collaboration. After a few more introductory sessions, a long first day ended with the delegates getting to know each other better around the campfire and under the stars.
We started Saturday bright and early with Officer Updates. Each National Executive, National Councillor, Regional Ambassador, Commissioner and Working Group leader updated on their work to date, from May to September. We also went over the background and supporting documentation for motions to be presented at Sunday’s Plenary.
Plenary is the general assembly where the member representative discuss and vote on motions to move the organization in a direction that mutually benefit all members. This year, the major motion brought forward by the National Executive is to join the Coalition of International Engineering Student Organizations (CIESO) as a founding member. CIESO is a new international organization being developed in collaboration between CFES, BEST, NAESC, and bonding, with the primary goal of sustainably running the International Engineering Competition.
On Saturday, small group discussions also took place, meant to gather member input through guided brainstorming, and exchange ideas between schools. Based on the major goals and projects of the CFES this year, the discussion topics were: Sustainability, Academic Issues, Further Motion Discussion, and Constitution Changes.
Following, we moved into Strategic Planning. Every three years, the CFES Strategic Plan is rewritten, with input from the members. Delegates and Officers were split into four major topics: Student Services, Student Representation, Communication & Outreach, and Financial Management. The delegates were asked to give us input on how they see the CFES operating in each area in three years time, to be developed into long term goals and included in the Strategic Plan. This was an incredibly valuable session for the Officer Team; it provided us with valuable direction and guiding vision for the rest of our terms, and the years to come.
Finally, Saturday concluded with member evaluation of the Officer team so far this year, and a few of us de-stressed with a quick dip in the ocean water.
On Sunday, we took an early boat back to Downtown Vancouver to have Plenary on SFU campus. Plenary was a swift 5 hours, with the majority of discussion revolved around the CIESO motion. There were reservations about joining CIESO without a ratified constitution and formal definitions of the membership. After many member amendments, the motion passed but with opposition from a few Quebec schools. They brought valuable perspective to the table on this issue, and we hope to continue working closely with them to gather their input and guide CIESO in drafting its constitution. Ultimately, the passing vote of the motion reflects CFES’ support and faith in the vision of CIESO to provide engineering students with the opportunity to collaborate and compete on an international platform.
During Plenary, we also accepted the University of Waterloo A-Society’s bid for the Canadian Engineering Competition 2019. Congratulations!
After a group photo and many hugs, it was sadly time to say our goodbyes. However, we all left Vancouver with new connections across the country, a clearer understanding of the CFES, and where we should be headed in the next few months leading up to Congress 2018.
If you are interested in getting more involved with the CFES, attend the Conference on Diversity in Engineering hosted by McMaster University next month in Hamilton, Ontario! Reach out to your engineering society to find out how you can apply.
All photos from the weekend.