IGNITE still stands by its decision to stay out of the College Student Alliance (CSA) almost three years after leaving.
The CSA is a partnership of college student associations that supports the interests of college students across Ontario.
Many argue IGNITE would benefit from being in the organization as it has the ability to address student issues on a much larger scale and lobby the provincial government.
However, according to Humber IGNITE staff there are a number of reasons why they chose to end their partnership with the CSA.
“The Board of Directors at the time felt the CSA wasn’t advocating enough on behalf of Humber and Guelph-Humber students,” said Ahmed Tahir, president of IGNITE. Most of the member colleges within the organization are located in smaller communities and their needs are much different than those of Humber.
“We are a very diverse community and the issues we face are much different than those of other colleges,” said Ammar Abdul-Raheem, IGNITE vice-president of Student Life. The CSA had trouble advocating for Humber as a result of its diversity and the unique needs of its students.
Other colleges in the Toronto area including Seneca and Sheridan ultimately decided not to join the CSA citing similar reasons.
The organization no longer represented the values of students within the Humber community, student government representative said.
“The Board of Directors also felt the costs associated with being a member of the CSA began to outweigh the benefits,” Abdul-Raheem said. The organization imposes a yearly membership fee based on the number of students enrolled at a member college.
“The membership fee is $6.12 per student which is added directly onto their student activity fees,” said Jennifer Horwarth, CSA’s General Manager. The math shows IGNITE is saving upwards of $150,000 a year as a result of its decision to end its relationship with the CSA.
“The money IGNITE saved from paying membership fees can now be used to help benefit students directly at Humber and Guelph-Humber,” Tahir said. The money will go towards improving services, creating more clubs and hosting better events for students, he said.
IGNITE expressed interest in joining other organizations similar to the CSA in the future. Staff members are currently asking other institutions about their experience in organizations such as the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) and the Ontario Undergraduate Student Association (OUSA).
“We need to look at the facts before making an informed decision to join a particular organization,” Ahmed said. IGNITE will continue to explore options to ensure students’ best interests are kept at heart.