This past year could not have came and gone faster for the Canadian University Press. After a long and difficult year for the organization, it has finally found a new direction and renewed hope with a newly elected board of members.
CUP is a national, non-profit co-operative, owned and operated by student newspapers from coast to coast. The oldest student news service in the world and North America’s only student press co-operative, CUP provides support services and a network for students.
The new board will have to deal with the loss of member papers in recent years who have felt increasingly frustrated by the decreasing value granted by membership.
“I’m excited to be part of a group of people who believe in the potential that CUP has,” said Adam Travis, the newly elected regional director for the Atlantic Region and an editor for his newspaper, The Brunswickan, at the University of New Brunswick, “We know CUP already holds value to many papers but we as a board want to see what papers want to get out of CUP and how we can deliver it.”
Jane Lytvynenko, a previous CUP board member, echoed Travis’s sentiments.
“I’m really excited to see what everybody comes up with. Everybody who I have talked to, from the new board members – they all seem to have really good ideas about where CUP should go. More important, I want to see those ideas happen. I am psyched to see where the organization goes.”
The newly elected board has 12 members, including executives and a director from each of the five regions: Western (British Columbia, Yukon), Prairie North (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nunavut), Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic. For the first time in a long time, five of the 12 members on the board are women.
“I’m really excited that there are so many women and such a big representation on the board,” says Lytvynenko, “I do think that we can do better. But in the past years, it has been more male dominated.”
Mick Sweetman, managing editor at The Dialog at George Brown College in Toronto and another past board member, points out that “it’s important to the health of the co-operative that our leadership is inclusive … it’s great that we are close to gender parity this year and that CUP’s board isn’t all straight or white, [but] we should also be mindful that we have a long way to go in terms of building space for leadership of women, people of colour, working-class people and people who identify as LGBTQ – as does the media as a whole.”
Before the big changes at CUP this year, the board was essentially run by industry representatives and alumni rather than by the elected student representatives.
“I think a lot of people, myself included, thought it [plenary] was going to be a marathon,” said Travis. “CUP was not in a great position and there was definitely some concern going in. That said I was still hopeful; CUP had gone through changes before and we knew CUP would still exist, even if in a different form.”
The success of recent plenary meetings show that student journalists are passionate about the future of the Canadian University Press and that they’re willing to embrace student governance and are stepping up to represent their members.
The representatives are looking forward to the future of CUP and new opportunities to further student journalism in Canada.
Bridgette Tsang, Sports Editor
Photo: Adam Travis, The Brunswickan