A Memorandum of Understanding signed by the College and NISU over the winter, replacing the initial one from nine years ago, formalizes the essence of collaboration between the two organizations. The new student housing project is one important example of this arrangement at work.
Both partners see the renewal as a sign of growth in the relationship.
“We’ve built such a strong relationship between the College and North Island Students’ Union,” said Kathleen Kuhnert, NIC Vice-President, Students & Community Engagement. “As the recognized voice on behalf of students, their input is extremely important for us to hear.”
The MOU translates into partnerships on projects like student housing, student life and events, as well as formal participation for NISU on committees, such as policy development and the newly legislated Accessibility Advisory Committee.
“They are a strong partner and advocate for our students,” Kuhnert said.
The principle of regular engagement is highlighted in the section on transparency and accountability in NIC’s five-year strategic plan, BUILD 2026. This cites targets and initiatives for increased student participation. It can be found at engage.nic.bc.ca.
The MOU spells out the roles, rights and responsibilities for both parties—for example, it lists principles to follow around consultation and open dialogue, as well as identifying primary liaisons for each partner: Kuhnert for NIC and Executive Director Carissa Wilson for NISU.
Since the first MOU was signed, both Kuhnert and Wilson are new in their roles as representatives. The updated document names a NISU-elected student position, re-affirming the strength of elected students at NIC, and highlights the willingness to work together while acknowledging each parties’ unique positions.
The relationship also means more opportunities for the two organizations to combine their resources on initiatives like orientation, graduation and end-of-term celebrations for students held two times a year.
“In our work, representing all credit-earning students at NIC, partnering with the college on events and initiatives, we share costs and energy, extending our reach and capacity,” Wilson said.