The Student Association of George Brown College (SA), which funds The Dialog, is organizing town hall meetings beginning in February to discuss what services they can improve.
Tiffany White, the SA’s director of education, said the town hall format allows for a more personal interaction between students and the SA. White said that sessions will help add a measure of accountability because ideas expressed at the town halls will be face-to-face communications between students and the SA’s board.
“If students see me a couple of months (after the town hall) and they’re like ‘hey, what’s going on with that idea?’ I can actually give them an answer,” White said. “So that way they know somebody heard their opinion and input and is actively doing something about it.”
At the Jan. 16 SA board meeting, LGBTQ Rep. Sheldon Mortimore and Accessibility Rep. Carolyn Mooney expressed concerns about the level of consultation in picking the dates and content of the town halls.
Mooney said she understands that organizing events like a town halls sometimes require swift decisions. Still, she has doubts that folks in her constituency will feel comfortable at town halls.
Mooney said that a town hall could be too public for folks who, “may not want to be singled out or gathered together as a group where people can be identified very clearly.”
She added that she is thinking about alternative arrangements for students who might be cautious of the current format but still want to participate.
White told The Dialog that the town halls are not meant to be “the end-all, be-all of how we engage our students and solicit their feedback.” And she encourages representatives to organize town halls specifically for their constituencies.
In addition to soliciting feedback from students, White said that another aim of the town halls is to clarify which services the SA provides for students, as there is some confusion as which come from the association and which the college provides.
Town halls are scheduled from 11 a.m to 2 p.m. on Feb. 1 at Waterfront on the learning landscape of the concourse level, Feb. 8 at St. James in the Kings Lounge, Feb. 15 in the Casa Loma Student Centre, and March 8 at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts in the student lounge.