BOARD OF DIRECTORS

OPIRG has an active Board of Directors of primarily full-time undergraduates. The Board is a great place to gain experience and contribute as a volunteer to an organization that strives to make a difference.

For general queries, contact the Board chair at board@opirgmcmaster.org. You can contact specific Board members at their emails below.

CURRENT BOARD 

2021-2022 Board of Directors

I am interested in running for the OPIRG Board of Directors as someone who has been an active member of the Board for the past two years. My past experiences on the Board, in particular as someone who has taken on the Secretary portfolio, will provide significant insight into the role. I have been involved in various OPIRG activities and contributed to the process of event planning. 

In addition, as someone who has contributed to the McMaster community as an Archway Mentor, I have significant experience with supporting students from diverse backgrounds. I would like to incorporate better reach into first year communities with OPIRG events. Outreach to younger students has been a persisting issue with OPIRG events, and constant promotion through Residence Life and the Archway Program will be extremely beneficial next year.  

I have also gained experience in a research context at the Population Health Research Institute that will prove to be beneficial. I would like to incorporate these research skills into the ongoing efforts to support social justice-oriented research with OPIRG planning.  

Overall, I am driven and ambitious about supporting environmental and social initiatives in the McMaster Community, and believe that my time would be well-spent engaging in OPIRG’s ongoing activism.  

In my past 2 years on the board of OPIRG, I have come to deeply appreciate the true value of this organization at McMaster as well as see the potential we have to grow and expand our impact on campus even more.

My first year on the board was a difficult year for OPIRGwith the Student Choice Initiative, the forced lay-offs of all our staff, and working tirelessly on the referendum campaign to save OPIRG’s funding, and this past year threw even more curveballs at us with the online year. But through it all, I have seen the amazing power of passionate students coming together for issues that are important to them and engaging in meaningful, impactful work whatever the circumstances. 

This upcoming year as we possibly transition back into some in-person activities, I am so excited to see what we can do with all of the amazing new projects we have going. With a new community garden that I’m helping to create, the most public interest projects we’ve had in years, and tons of new events in the works, this year will no doubt see the OPIRG McMaster community grow to new levels and do some truly incredible work.

I hope to continue in my role as communications coordinator for a third year, in which I help to run all of our social media and get word out about all our programming to reach an ever-growing community, as well as to continue my role as co-coordinator of the new OPIRG McMaster community garden.  

I am very interested in joining the OPIRG Board of Directors for the first time. I realize I am coming to this rather late in my academic career, but as a fourth year Arts & Sciences student, I am a strong champion of the “better late than never” mindset. I am happy to help in any way, but I believe that my skill set would be strongly suited to take on the outreach portfolio.

I believe I am suited for this role, as I have been placing a lot of emphasis on developing my interpersonal skills working as a tour guide and service rep for Parks Canada for the past three summers, at the Fort George National Historic site in Niagara-on-the-Lake. In this role, presenting information and researching Canadian history have allowed me to become comfortable with public outreach and engagement

Additionally, I was recently a member of the student management team for the Arts and Science New World of Work Forum in which we developed a forum to connect alumni from a range of nearly 40 graduating classes. In this forum, I gained strong outreach and engagement experience.

Moreover, a lot of the work done by OPIRG is closely related to the work that I did in the fall with CityLAB and am continuing to work on in my 4th year thesis. I have addressed climate change issues and systemic shock factors within both of these projects and I have seen firsthand how students can create change in the city and community when giving the proper structure, funding and time.

Finally, I believe strongly that students have the power to shape the community and as a member of the OPIRG Board of Directors, I would try to ensure that everyone gets a chance.

am committed to advocating for social and environmental justice, and would love to be a part of OPIRG to further engage with advocacy on campus.  Andrea

I have supported social justice in the Hamilton community through a project I took on with peers to provide free menstrual products and essential health information in the city in an effort to increase accessibility to essential hygiene and dignityMy team ultimately received a grant from the McMaster Okanagan Committee to fund our project. 

I have also been involved with McMaster’s War Child blog committee, where I write and edit stories about global justice to engage the McMaster community in discourse surrounding tragedies occurring in war-torn nations

I also interned at a social entrepreneurship last summer, where one of my key responsibilities was creating informational graphics and written posts to engage and inform the community of social and environmental justice issues. I also have volunteered as an International Student Buddy on campus to support students in the McMaster community 

Additionally, I have experience in planning, advertising, and facilitating events. I was a Level II Representative on the Society of Arts and Science Students Executive this past year, where I ideated, advertised, and facilitated virtual events that my classmates could connect through

I also regularly circulated information amongst my classmates and communicated on behalf of the class to our professors.

Volunteering for the Arts and Science New World of Work Forum has also given me experience in helping to facilitate largerscale, in-person events on campus. I also planned and led a three-part working group at this year’s Combining 2 Cultures student conference, which centred around sustainability and environmental justice. 

I would love to use my experience in communication and event planning to take on the board portfolio of secretary or publicity and events.  

My name is Inaam Chattha, and I am in my second year of Biochem. I am interested in running for the OPIRG Board of Directors as I bring a comprehensive set of skills and experiences that I believe will be valuable to the organization.

My first year at McMaster was quite different from what I hoped, owing to the pandemic. The online environment presented its own set of challenges. However, despite that, I was able to be a part of various groups/clubs at McMaster and met some amazing individuals.

I am extremely passionate about community issues, specifically environment-related matters. I am a part of two public interest projects at McMaster that attempt to raise awareness about the significance of sustainability and lowering one’s carbon footprint. I am also a part of the Ocean Bridge program organized by Ocean Wise Canada and the Community Water Leader program designed by the Bay Area Restoration Council. These experiences have allowed me to fathom the importance of taking action and the impact small changes can create. Being on the board of directors will enable me to encourage more students to advocate for grave issues that they feel
ardently about.

Moreover, I have volunteered extensively with CVC at McMaster and was a part of the Reading Rocks, Letters To Seniors, and Pathways program. In addition to this, I have been involved with McMaster Young Liberals and am the Vice President of Federal Affairs.

All these experiences have shaped me as an individual and empowered me to be involved in issues that I profoundly care about. I firmly believe that my passion and willingness to create a difference will propel OPIRG’s mission of creating a better world.

Throughout my time at McMaster, I have developed a strong passion for social advocacy and a deep admiration for the student activists and community organizers who take action on critical issues.  Saud profile photo

As a first-year student, getting involved in the campus community allowed me to recognize the systems of privilege and oppression that I occupy. As a member of the McMaster Indigenous Health Movement (IHM)I learned about the continuing impacts of colonialism on the land and health of Indigenous communities, while surrounding myself with those advocating for meaningful change. As a PennyDrops mentor, I travelled to schools around Hamilton to teach lessons in financial literacy. Doing so, I learned of the deep inequalities that exist within our city, but also began to recognize the power that a small group of volunteers have to make a big difference.    

It is for these reasons that I am seeking nomination to the OPIRG Board of Directors. I believe my skills would allow me to contribute greatly to the Public Interest Projects portfolio.  

My experience as an executive team member on the Muse McMaster and IHM has provided me with the skills needed to collaborate successfully with a diverse team. My work as a Special Projects Assistant for Camp Triumph has taught me how to help a grassroots organization transition from idea to action. Most recently, as a student at CityLAB Hamilton, I am collaborating with residents and City staff to start a new neighbourhood association. Through this role, I have learned how to access grants and resources to empower residents.  

Nevertheless, I believe my greatest contribution to OPIRG McMaster will be an enthusiastic willingness to learn and a strong desire to take action. I am inspired by the mission of the organization and would cherish the opportunity to contribute in any way possible. 

As the Policies and Procedures board member for OPIRG McMaster a few years ago, I witnessed, firsthand, the impact I was able to have empowering students to engage in social justice and environmental issues in our community. I would love to rejoin the board and continue the work I was able to accomplish before I left for exchange.Faris

I have worked in a variety of different social justice and environmental activism roles. As an environmental policy intern at the Yukon Conservation Society, I helped the NGO consult the territorial government in creating new wetlands protection policy. As a youth advisory board member for Waterlution, I facilitated school-aged children to engage with their local water stories in the Hamilton region. With the Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics, I aided migrant workers in Singapore create salary, work-injury, and abuse claims at the Ministry of Manpower. All of these experiences make me an asset to OPIRG as I understand how to make grass roots efforts of meaningful change effective and impactful across many different levels. In these positions, I was also able to manage teams and know how to effectively and efficiently mobilize people to accomplish tasks in limited time frames.

As such, due to my experience with logistics, managerial positions, and involvement in OPIRG, social justice, and environmental activism, I am running for President/Chair of the OPIRG board of directors.

I am an executive team member of many organizations such as MACMUN, the McMaster Ismaili Students Association, and the Society of Arts & Science Students. Through these teams, I have access to thousands of students who are passionate about making change in the world. Many of these clubs’ values already align with OPIRG’s, so I would be able to help facilitate collaborative events that could reach a much wider audience. I am also a member of Undergraduate Council. Through this position, I constantly interact with associate-deans, high level administration, and faculty members to discuss important decisions relating to McMaster’s undergraduate student body. I could help support OPIRG’s mission through this position by ensuring McMaster and OPIRG’s values always align.

Over the last few years, I have developed a deep passion for advocacy and community organizing, especially with regardto social and environmental justice. 

Photo of Vikita

As a Board of Director for OPIRG McMaster for the 2020-2021 year, I have only strengthened this passion and expanded my knowledge on how to lead events that meet the needs of the community.

In this position, I would be able to help lead impactful projects and events as well as work to empower other students to become engaged citizens and develop their research and advocacy skills. 

As the outgoing Treasurer, I have a great deal of experience managing the finances of OPIRG McMaster, and I understand how we might need to restructure our budget to fit the needs of a possible in-person year, and where we ought to devote our spending to meet our priorities and capabilities for next year.

I also have led my own public interest project (PIP), Disable the Difference, which gave me an additional perspective ohow we can improve Board-level organizing so that each PIP can meet their goals throughout the year. 

Working on the Board was an incredibly rewarding experience for me and I would be thrilled to work with the lovely team again! 

My name is Sydney Potts and I am running for the position of Staff Liaison and Human Resource Representative on the OPIRG Board of Directors (BOD).

Sydney

I am in my third year of Arts and Science and would love the opportunity to become more active in McMaster’s student activism community. Supporting social justice movements and working toward environmental sustainability are two great passions of mine and I think, therefore, would align me well to the mission of OPRIGAs a member of my high school’s student council four years I learned a lot of working collaboratively with others to try and give a platform for the student voice, and the intricacies and challenges of implementing student initiatives. Specifically, as Public Relations Officer, I was able to engage with both the community and the student body and work to integrate the ideas and resources of both parties and unify the two to more effectively tackle new initiatives as a collective body.

Additionally, I have experience working closely with groups of people from all different walks of life and effectively fostering relationships which are the basis for meaningful and effective change. As a member of the Student Support Team for the McMaster Discovery program, I worked closely with a group of adults in the Hamilton community that had had barriers to accessing post-secondary education. This experience allowed me to better understand the challenges that are faced in circumstances outside my own and further reinforcing, for me, the importance of personal connection and effective communication when working with others and especially when trying to offer support.

If I were to be elected to the OPIRG BOD it would also be critical that I have strong organizational skills, especially geared toward event planning. As the formal convenor for the Society of Arts and Science students this year I was able to get an even stronger appreciation for the work required to successfully execute large events and allowed me to develop practical means for overcoming obstacles that are sure to arise under these types of circumstances.

In a human resource position, it is critical that a board member be able to relate well to others and communicate effectively. As a member of the Spark volunteer team this year, an MSU service dedicated to easing the transition of first year students, I furthered my ability to aptly support those who are struggling or seeking guidance as well as refining my ability to find solutions to problems that may arise in interpersonal situations. Working with others to create positive social change is something that is tremendously meaningful to me. I believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to pursue their passions and live their lives free of oppression. In order to actualize this belief we must work towards a more equitable society and I believe grassroots organization to be at the forefront of this effort. For these reasons I would like to be a member of the OPRIG BODs and believe my skills and past experiences would make me well suited for the position.  

Director’s Conflict of Interest Declarations

UPCOMING BOARD MEETINGS

Agendas and Meeting Minutes

Agendas and Approved Minutes

Follow the Board's decision-making online, or attend a meeting: all are welcome to participate in discussions.
Agendas and Meeting Minutes
By-Laws and Policies page

OPIRG McMaster Governance Documents

The constitution, policies and guidelines of OPIRG McMaster
By-Laws and Policies page

ABOUT OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS

1-year term. All board members must be elected through the election process as outlined in the OPIRG McMaster Constitution. Board Members may be appointed between elections.

We require a time commitment of up to 5 hours per week for board meetings, committee meetings, orientation sessions, and special events, including preparation time. We cannot do a good job or meet deadlines without full participation from members.

The primary responsibility of the Board member is to attend board meetings. Currently, the board meets on a weekly basis, with each meeting lasting approximately 2 hours. The Board meets less frequently in the summer. Board meetings are open to staff, volunteers and student and community members. The board also holds in camera meetings (in private, for board members only) on an ‘as needed basis.’

Board members are required to take responsibility for a portfolio. Portfolios are a way to allocate the work of the Board between the different board members. It is recommended that deadlines be set at the beginning of the year to accomplish tasks. Board portfolio assignments do not mean that you have to do all the work yourself. But, you are committed to initiating programs, bringing new issues to the attention of the board and finding people willing to assume tasks under your portfolio.

Board Portfolios Include President/Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer, Provincial Representative, Policies and Procedures, Publicity, Staff Liaison/Human Resources Representative, Public Interest Projects, Resource Centre, Anti-Harassment and Fundraising/Resources.

OPIRG McMaster Board members are also encouraged to become liaisons that will build networks throughout the University and Hamilton community. Liaisons are to provide mutual support to the partner organization by means of publicity, creative input and financial assistance as endorsed by the Board.

Examples of liaison positions are: Anti-Violence Network Representative, McMaster Community Poverty Initiative Representative, McMaster University Student Representative Assembly Meetings Representative, The President’s Advisory Committee on Building an Inclusive Community (PACBIC) Representative, Graduate Student Representative, Queer Students Community Centre Representative, and the Women and Gender Equity Network Representative.

Each new board member will receive an orientation session. This session may include but not be limited to: consensus decision making, the collective agreement, Board roles and responsibilities, anti-oppression, conflict-resolution and anti-harassment/anti-discrimination.

Annual General Meeting: We hold an Annual General Meeting, the last day of classes in the second term, which includes the presentation of the Public Interest Project Reports, audited statements, upcoming year’s budget and volunteer recognition.

Social Events: We normally have one or two social events per year where staff, friends of the organization and board members can interact.

Training: Based on the needs of the board, specific training sessions will be organized. Some examples might be anti-racism/ anti-oppression, consensus decision making, financial accountability, non-profit board management etc.

Board Retreat/Strategic Planning: We normally hold a retreat each year to review and update our strategic plan, goals and direction. The focus of the retreat is to create a stronger board infrastructure, moving the strategic plan forward, creating the year’s priority issues areas and developing new outcome measures and performance indicators. (Most likely during July or August)

Board recruitment is through a call out advertisement on OPIRG McMaster, campus and community media. Either students or community members approach OPIRG Board members and/or Staff or OPIRG Board members and/or Staff identify prospective board members. These are individuals who have demonstrated leadership and commitment to values shared by OPIRG McMaster. Prospects are potentially invited to attend a board meeting, orientation session, or other events. They also receive an information package. If the prospective member wishes to proceed they send in a Nomination Form for election. If the recruitment is to fill a vacancy on the board, the candidate sends in a Nomination Form and may be appointed by the Board to serve what remains of the term.

Read more about our Board election process here: https://www.opirgmcmaster.org/2021/04/08/opirg-board-of-directors-nomination-period-2021/

Briefly stated, we believe that the Board’s role is to ensure that OPIRG establishes and maintains the trust of the community by being clear in its mission, prudent and ethical in its activities, and accountable for its actions. Our meetings focus on planning, supporting initiatives in accordance with our mission and vision, policy-making, and assessing our progress.

OPIRG McMaster’s mission is to empower students and community in exchanging ideas and taking action on diverse social justice and environmental issues by connecting individuals, groups, organizations and resources.

Our vision is to engage, inspire and empower all to achieve positive change through grassroots initiatives.

Our values are consensus, environmental responsibility, anti-oppression, empowerment, creativity and innovation, and equity and inclusivity.

Access the McMaster Undergrad Board Nomination Form here