The second GA: “Please state your full name”
Last night, Caerus organised its second General Assembly of the year. Of course, /SLASH/ was present at the event to report on all that happened during the evening. With thirty-one others, we watched our chair Sushane Gupta (you might know him) start off the evening with an empowering message; To make Caerus greater than ever (and the much less empowering disclaimer that the alcoholic drinks were only available for consumption during the break).
After this introduction our chair could start with all the seemingly useless formalities, a part not everyone was all that excited about. The next 15 minutes consisted of the members approving the independent body, Sush forgetting to let those very same members approve the agenda, and the independent body forgetting to count the votes on this proposal. I do have to give credit to Sushane (or is it Sush?) for not even attempting to show the minutes from the previous GA (we all know how that went last time), saving himself from the risk of running into some technical issues.
With these formalities out of the way, the interesting stuff could start. Bart showed us the mid-term financial report, and to our happy surprise, we can say that we are in the black this year! With an incredible profit from our introweek committee and most other committees making money, our financial status looks promising. Additionally, Bart revealed that a day of cleaning the SA room and returning all its accompanying empty crates of beer and other glassware yielded over 135 euro. A concerning but fun fact about the alcohol usage on UCG.
The next thing on the agenda was the executive review. Although being a sub-point on the agenda, it was definitely the longest and most eventful part of the evening. In the review, Caerus pointed out their improvements over the last period. The new payment options miraculously turned out to be a success. Who would have thought students were going to pay more when they finally got the option to actually transfer money and pay by card? Besides, Sush pointed out how communication inside our organisation has taken some big leaps forward, together with inventory tracking. The goal of having less social (aka “alcohol including”) activities was not realised, but we have seen an increase of educational activities, so the overall balance has improved. Additionally, we were reminded that next year will be the first Lustrum year for Caerus, something everyone can look forward to (if you want to join the lustrum committee, make sure to send your motivation to firstname.lastname@example.org).
The second part of the executive review was where the fun began, when Sush turned his talk towards improvements inside Caerus. Sush mentioned points of improvement that were discussed (intensely, I might add) afterwards. It is safe to say this part of the evening felt more like a General Brainstorming-session than a General Assembly. For context, the problems that caused most of the discussions were:
Better photographic documentation of events
More vertical integration between the first, second and third years
Reduction of spam to promote events
Higher attendance rates for our Social Shebang (yes, that’s what it’s called)
The discussion around the Social Shebang revolved mostly around the day the event should be organised. Sush tried to solve this by holding a few votes on days of the week, which resulted in the enlightening conclusion that different people have different schedules, and not everybody can make it all the time.
Reduction of spam promotion also caused some passionate (yet entertaining) discourse on whether or not Facebook was “dead”. The views on this topic were very mixed; some thought Facebook should be the main way of promoting the events, others claimed nobody uses Facebook anymore (Are people unaware they are using Facebook? Should I cite the actual numbers?). For me, the most memorable part of this all was that everyone who wanted to add their two cents, which were a lot of people, kept forgetting to state their name for the record. This led to Sush to repeatedly (read: every 2 minutes) using the phrase “State your full name please”, in a less and less serious tone every time. Although this was all fun and jokes, some actual good points were made as well here, like encouraging people to visit the Caerus website more through pictures of events, or getting a dedicated Caerus TV for in the canteen, that can be used for the promotion of events.
Lastly, vertical integration was discussed. This problem was partly connected to the issues of the Social Shebang, but people mostly talked about how events like Deep Talk would work wonders to promote more interaction between the various years. Additionally, one member proposed to move the Running Dinner to February, to let all the third years coming back from exchange integrate faster with the boatload of first years. After this, most of us were done asking questions and giving suggestions, so it was finally time for “the part everyone was waiting for”; Caerus shamelessly self-promoting their always active social media channels, Instagram and Snapchat (@sacaerus and caerussa if you do not follow them already). Of course, the break with free drinks was also announced.
After all attendees were satisfied with some refreshments, we continued with a few policy amendments. Starting off with the most important one: the price increase of membership fees. With a lack of money coming from the faculty board, Caerus needs to become more and more self-sustainable. Of course, not everyone immediately agreed with this change, but generally everyone accepted this would be a good change for the organisation, and the change passed almost unanimously.
Some smaller changes were addressed as well, like the fact that there were 30+ typos [insert Grammarly ad] in the policy manual. Something that was fixed by giving the board permission to change all typos they found. Let’s just hope Sush won’t use this as a loophole for all his evil plans. After this, we voted to make all committees equal, although I think most of us could hear Orwell silently adding "... but some are more equal than others". Other than this, some ‘respnosibilities’ (who is the board to complain about typos?) of board members were changed, but nothing out of the ordinary.
The evening continued with a couple of quick announcements, that are worth mentioning to you, the reader, as well. First of all, elections are coming up, so if you are interested in joining the board next year, make sure to stay tuned for that. Caerus is also partnering up with AIESEC, a committee that organises volunteer work and internships during the summer. Caerus members will get a 10% discount on their programmes. After last year’s success of the career day, Caerus has decided to organise a Career week at the end of the year as well. This time, broader range of career opportunities will be included too.
Lastly, a Caerus GA would not be complete without the mention of Caerus stickers. Because the long-awaited new stickers are arriving soon, we need to do something fun with the large amount of stickers we, somewhat ironically, still have. That is why two weeks ago, Caerus launched a sticker challenge, where members were asked to put Caerus stickers in weird and wacky places all around yet not limited to Groningen and take pictures of them. These pictures could be sent to the aforementioned Caerus social media accounts, and prizes would be awarded at the end of the challenge. With just one submission, this challenge proved to be a massive success, and that is why Caerus extended the time to submit your pictures to Friday the 8th of March. If you want to join, stickers can be found in the SA room or in Hugo’s office.
And with that, Sush announced that it was time for his favourite part of the evening, and ended the GA with that note. Honestly, I think it is fair to say that Caerus managed to hold a GA with the perfect mixture of both seriousness and casualness, and I think slowly but surely we are all “getting there”, together. Keep up the good work guys!