As the first week of September rolls in, a new batch of first year students are being introduced to life at McMaster. Welcome Week 2013 is in full swing as upper-year students, campus organizations, and administration gather to welcome incoming Mac students to their new school.

The current Welcome Week marks the second year of a mandatory MacPass, a policy requiring every incoming first year to pay a $110 levy to participate in the week of events. While new to the Welcome Week, the levy was met with success by the MSU last year and a similar model has been followed this year.

“There haven’t been too many big changes, mainly small things,” MSU VP Administration Anna D’Angela said of the planning. The VP Administration is traditionally one of the main organizers of the week.

Though the week is about half done, MSU President David Campbell is already pleased with how things are going.

“I want to knock on wood saying this, but I think it’s been going pretty smoothly so far,” he said of the programming.

The 2013 Welcome Week has also continued the trend of increasing options for students living off campus.

“I do think again the focus was on trying to get more off-campus [students], because they tend to be the most prominent group of people who don’t necessarily get involved as much but are now paying to be involved,” Campbell explained.

Such events as the SOCS Sleepover, available after the Tuesday night concert so off-campus students could stay on campus, were repeated this year, having been first implemented in 2012.

The weeknight concert, a regular part of Welcome Week activities, was headlined this year by Tommy Trash, while Friday’s concert in Faculty Hollow is set to welcome Lights and The Arkells back to Hamilton.

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Nominations for next year's McMaster Students Union vice-presidents were opened at Sunday's SRA meeting, and six students, all of whom were either on the Assembly or in attendance, were nominated.

Anna D’Angela and Justin Korolyk were nominated for Vice-President (Administration). Lisa Bifano and Spencer Graham were nominated for Vice-President (Education). Jeffrey Doucet and Marc Lamoureux were nominated for Vice-President (Finance).

Maria Daniel was also nominated to be next year's MSU Speaker at the meeting.

Two other nominations were made, though somewhat facetiously, as current VP (Finance) Jeff Wyngaarden nominated current VP (Education) Huzaifa Saeed for VP (Finance), and Saeed returned the favour by nominating Wyngaarden for VP (Education).

The SRA will elect the MSU's 2013-14 set of VPs, who will join president-elect David Campbell on the MSU Board of Directors, at its April 7 meeting. It will be the first meeting of the newly elected Student Representative Assembly.

The MSU Speaker, Simon Gooding-Townsend, hesitated before taking the nominations. While it's customary for nominations to be opened ahead of time, names are not typically submitted until the meeting at which the VPs are elected. The incoming SRA now has two weeks of officially knowing the names of at least some of the candidates, though it's not unusual for candidates to speak to members ahead of being nominated on election day.

More students may be nominated between now and the April 7 meeting, or at the meeting itself.

Earlier in the meeting, there was discussion over how MSU VP elections would work this year. While that will ultimately be up to the next SRA, the current members were preparing their recommendation. A proposal came forward to split elections over two meeting; candidates would give presentations on April 7, and elections would be held on April 14 at a separate meeting. The proposal was voted down.

Also debated was a closed-session discussion period, during which SRA members could discuss the candidates in privacy, without observers or candidates in the room. While this has been a part of the election process in past years, it didn't happen last year. The SRA decided to not recommend a closed-session discussion period in the elections again this year over concerns that it would cause groupthink and cattiness to drive the election.

The video of Sunday's 6.5-hour long meeting is below. View the agenda items here.

Part 1:

Part 2:

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