DC students can join UOIT clubs

Photo by Jackie Graves

DSCI's Jennifer Mchugh sits at her desk in the student centre

Black Physicians of Tomorrow is a student-run club aimed at supporting students in the medical field.

However, after the split of the Student Association at DC and UOIT, and until recently, they believed their reach was limited to UOIT students.

Kimberly Benn, executive director of BPT, said she had no idea that BPT wasn’t limited to UOIT.

“I thought that after the split, we were specifically supporting UOIT students,” said Benn.

“We thought we couldn’t support DC students. We thought even if they wanted to come to our club, they couldn’t.”

Benn said BPT could be invaluable to DC students, considering the diverse demographic it offers. She also said they couldn’t advertise on DC grounds, limiting the number of students they could reach out to.

“It’s inclusive to everyone,” said Shareese Clarke, another BPT member studying Human Health Science at UOIT. “I feel like we collaboratively share a campus. I feel it only makes sense to share opportunities too.”

Student clubs are available at  Durham College to through the UOIT clubs and societies department, but not all students know that.

The Student Association at DC and UOIT split in 2017 and ended up in court.

This resulted in the shared services agreement, which decided what resources would be given to which school. The resources are still available to both DC and UOIT students but overseen by their own independent associations.

Clubs and societies, outreach programs, and health services were among the resources separated. They were split based on a user analysis done by a court-appointed receiver, which showed fewer than 40 per cent of DC students used clubs and societies while they used health and outreach services more.

Justin Miller, a Mechanical Engineering Technology student at DC, said he didn’t know clubs and societies were available through UOIT and said other students should know.

“I wasn’t aware of it,” said Miller. “If they want to join a club or whatnot, if they don’t know they can go to the other school, it would be very helpful if they know there are a bunch of clubs they can join.”

Miller wasn’t alone, as other DC students said they were unaware of the clubs and societies and expressed interest in joining.

“I stay here a lot after school most of the time, I do art or homework,” said Jameka Riley, a Foundations in Art and Design student at DC. “I think it would be nice to have a change of pace.”

Riley said DC students should be better informed about the clubs and societies available on campus, suggesting emails be sent out to students to let them know.

Jennifer McHugh, the general manager of the new Durham College Student’s Inc., said it “wouldn’t surprise her at all” for DC students to not know about the clubs. While she says the separation of the associations and their resources was the “best decision” for DC students, there are still plans to bring the clubs and societies back to DC after the current transition year.

“DC Student’s Inc. knows that there is a gap,” said McHugh.

“We are bringing forward the clubs and societies sooner than we had planned because we hear the voice of the students.”

While plans are already in motion, McHugh said the strike played a role in leaving students in the dark about DCSI and the resources available to them. The strike happened only five days after McHugh began her job, halting plans for an early student election.

“We wanted to have elections in early October-November,” said McHugh. “We could have started these conversations much earlier.”

Students are still allowed to apply for clubs and societies the same as UOIT students by visiting uoitsu.ca and filling out an online application. However, McHugh says DCSI will still have discussions with UOIT’s administration in August, with the intention of bringing clubs and societies back to DC.

“I would love to see students have a vibrant clubs engagement,” said McHugh. “I think that is a key part of the post-secondary experience, and college is no exception.”