SUCCI – A Brief History
Student-led activities have existed on the Confederation College campus since its inception in 1967 and an informal student government convened in 1969. In 1971 the Student Union of Confederation College (SUCCI) was officially incorporated as a non-profit organization.
For two decades SUCCI was known as the College Council of Students (C.C.S) (though on its incorporation documents it was always The Student Union of Confederation College Inc.). The focus in those years was on presenting social activities and advocacy work for students attending Confederation College; recreational athletic opportunities and the publication of a student newspaper was included during the 70’s.
SUCCI’s Mission Statement
Through pro-active leadership and representation, SUCCI will advocate for the best interest of the student body and will provide student services which compliment student life, foster personal growth and development, and enhance the formal Education process.
For many of the early years there was a very small representative board of six student leaders with no staff supporting the activities of the C.C.S. As the organization, college and student’s needs began to change, staff were hired in the positions of Manager, part-time Bookkeeper and a facilitator for Campus Recreation who worked at a satellite booth outside of the main office.
SUCCI’s original office space was in the temporary McIntyre Building that was being built in 1968. Upon the completion of the Shuniah Building in 1971, SUCCI was provided offices on the second floor above the Student Lounge where they remained until 1989. The organization had been setting aside funds for years with the goal of building a new student center.
In 1990 this goal became reality and SUCCI once again was on the move to a renovated stand-alone building on the south side of the campus. This would become the Student Centre which housed a much larger space including SUCCI Offices, a large multipurpose meeting room and a small, licensed pub called Sharky’s Pub which was owned and operated by SUCCI.
The new space was not an ideal location for the office and services of SUCCI as it was a stand-alone building between the current McIntyre Building and Sibley Hall Residence. A decision was made to close Sharky’s Pub for financial reasons. SUCCI took this opportunity to move to the current site adjacent to the Shuniah Student Lounge. The move back to the Shuniah Building was a great decision, and SUCCI branched out with new services and programming initiatives. It put SUCCI into the centre of the Shuniah Building in a high traffic location. These offices were renovated in 2007 to improve accessibility, increase the space for staffing, and to include OASA in the shared office environment. This coincided with a renovation of the Shuniah Building which included changes to the Student Lounge and Library. The student commons area was developed and renovated for student use. Previous to this it was a wide-open space.
SUCCI works closely with Confederation College. Our Board members and staff represent and advocate for students on a wide variety of college committees. These include the Academic Council, Advisory College Council, the Strategic Leadership Team, Information Technology Fee Committee and Orientation. We also work with the college on initiatives such as It’s About Respect., Mental Health, Sexual Assault & Sexual Violence, Environmental Sustainability and more. SUCCI’s role as an advisor and advocate for our student body is well respected at our institution. SUCCI was also integral in assisting with the activities of the Confederation Colleges 50th Anniversary celebrations, as a partner and sponsor and many alumni, former board members, staff and friends visited the College. SUCCI has in past been a member of the provincial advocacy organization, the College Student Alliance and are currently reviewing options to continue with provincial advocacy with other Ontario Colleges. The SUCCI staff are members of AMICCUS-C (The Association of Managers in Community College and University Student Centers), which provide networking and professional support.
On behalf of Students, SUCCI is a major donor and partner of Confederation College and has participated as a donor in almost every capital campaign undertaken by the college since 1999. This includes fundraising for Endowed Scholarships and Bursaries, the Aviation Centre, the Reach Building, The Student Learning Commons, and TEC Campaign. SUCCI’s financial support totals approximately $3.42M.
In September 2014, SUCCI approved an increase to the student capital fee to support the build of a new Athletic & Wellness facility which is now called the SUCCI Minowaadiziiwin Wellness Centre “Lead a Good Life”. This project was completed and opened in the fall of 2017. The student capital fee supports payment of the $8.5 Million loan that the College secured for the build of the new Wellness Centre. It is estimated the loan will take approximately 25 years to pay in full. It was also agreed by the Student Leaders at the time to not incur any new student capital fees until the commitment to the Wellness Centre is completed in full.
The SUCCI Board was involved in the direction and determination of what would be built in the new Wellness Centre. This included surveys with many students to identify their top priorities to include in a new Wellness Centre. The Confederation College Fitness Centre was nearing end of life and required a major investment to upgrade and restore. It was in the best interest of the college and students to build a new Wellness Centre rather than renovate the old costly structure. The SUCCI Minowaadiziiwin Wellness Centre is attached to the Shuniah Building on campus.
SUCCI works in partnership with the Oshki-Anishnawbeg Student Association (OASA), whose goal is to provide Indigenous representation and Cultural Programming at Confederation College. Through an old Tri-Party agreement, OASA receives a portion of the student recreation fee to support OASA and their activities. The SUCCI VP has a position on the OASA Board and OASA appoints one of their Board Members to sit on the SUCCI Board. Most often the position on the SUCCI Board has been held by the OASA President.
SUCCI has a strong desire to continue working together and in partnership with OASA.
Board of Directors
The current SUCCI Board of Directors is comprised of eleven elected Student Leaders who are voting members on the board and six ex-officio positions. The term of office is May 1st to April 30th for the elected student leaders. Annual elections are held in the winter semester at the end of February. Eligible students are defined as full time post-secondary students paying a student association fee at the Thunder Bay Campus, as well as Distance Education Students and returning to school full time in the fall. The President is elected for a one-year term but can serve a maximum of two consecutive one-year terms.
The current board structure includes the elected student leaders in the positions of President, Vice President, Director of Social Events, Director of Wellness and Diversity, Director of Athletics and four Senators which represent each academic school (Aviation, Health, Negahneewin & Community Services, Engineering Technology & Trades and Business, Hospitality and Media Arts) and a Distance Education Student Representative to speak for the needs of DE students. OASA also appoints a student leader from their executive to the SUCCI Board. This is a voting positon. These are the eleven voting members on the Board of Directors. In recent years with the increase of our International Student Body, the majority of the elected student leaders are International Students, primarily from India. SUCCI continues to strive to engage and diversify our Board to reflect the student population including increased involvement from our Domestic and Indigenous Students.
The six ex-officio positions on the Board consist of the Executive Director, College Administrative Advisor, College Support Staff Advisor, College Faculty Advisor, Past SUCCI President and the Chief Justice who is responsible to chair the board meetings. The Executive Director also serves as recording secretary for the SUCCI Board. The Executive Committee consists of the President, Vice President and the Executive Director.
Over the years SUCCI has had a variety of different titles for the positions on the board and at times a different number of voting positions. This number has changed as academic schools combine or divide, or new needs for representation were identified. Elections are typically held annually in late February. In 2016 Electronic voting was introduced and expanded the ease for students to vote. It drastically increased our voter turnout. Prior to the pandemic SUCCI achieved a record setting 37% voter turn out to select the 2019 – 2020 Board of Directors. In addition, interest was expressed by thirty-two students running for ten positions on the board. In 2021 SUCCI was forced to run a total virtual election as the pandemic continued. The total voter turnout dropped to 23% but this was respectful considering many programs were running fully virtual. During 2022 all positions were acclaimed.
Historically the SUCCI’s President position was held by a full-time student attending college. In 2002-2003 the Board structure changed to incorporate a full time President position which was held by Olaf Smith. There was a movement across the province by college student associations to have a full-time association, President. Today most Ontario College Student Associations have a full time, President. Throughout our nearly fifty years of student government, there have been 49 different Student Leaders who have occupied the role of our Student Union President.
Support and Services
SUCCI provides a wide variety of services and supports for students on campus. These include Campus Employment Services (CES). CES began in August 1992 and provides part time employment opportunities for students on campus in 1997, SUCCI and the College reached an agreement whereby SUCCI would employ students part time on campus in a wide variety of college departments through funds supported by the Ontario Work Study Program and Confederation College Financial Aid. Managers and student employees were better served by having part-time campus jobs administered from one centralized source. In May of 2000, SUCCI and the College reached an agreement whereby SUCCI would administer payroll for peer-tutors hired by the Learning Centre. This commitment provided “one-stop shopping” for part-time on-campus employment for our students which continues today. Today, approximately 150 students are employed through Campus Employment Services during the school year. In February 2019 the part time student employees became members of the new Part Time OPSEU union. This is a provincial union. We have employed close to 8,000 different students since CES began.
SUCCI administers the Extended Health & Dental Insurance Plan for domestic students. This plan came to fruition after a referendum of the student body in 2003 and in the fall of 2004, SUCCI introduced the first Extended Health & Dental Plan for Students. Previous to this all students were covered by a mandatory insurance policy with limited coverage. Domestic students who have insurance through another provider are able to opt out of the Health Plan and receive a refund. The International Student Health Plan is administered by the International Department.
In the Spring of 2010, SUCCI entered into a partnership agreement with the City of Thunder Bay to provide our students with a Universal Bus Pass (U-Pass). The initial U-Pass was an 8-month program which was expanded to a 12-month Universal Bus Pass Program two years later. Non-post-secondary students, part time students and students in our distance education are able opt-in to the U-Pass upon payment of the U-Pass Fee. This is a highly valued service for our students. The current agreement expires in 2023 and negotiations are starting to discuss renewal of a new agreement with City of Thunder Bay Transit.
Student Athletics at Confederation College made its debut in 1967 with 67’s Men’s Curling team participating in and bringing home the Gold from the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) Championships. Our first Male & Female Athletes were “crowned” in 1972 - 73. The 67’s became the Thunderhawks in the early - mid 90’s. The Thunderhawks Athletics are sponsored by SUCCI through collection of an athletic fee. The college had supported a dedicated staff member who oversaw & represented the Athletics program, at the OCAA level, as the Confederation College Athletic Director.
In August 2012 to the present, the SUCCI Administrator, Campus Recreation & Athletics took on the role at the OCAA table as Confederation College’s Athletic Director. Our Thunderhawks have competed in many sports over the years – Curling (Men’s, Women’s & Mixed), Men’s & Women’s Volleyball, Badminton (Men’s, women’s & Mixed), Alpine Ski Racing (Men’s & women’s), Cross Country Running, Men’s & Women’s Indoor Soccer and Men’s Golf. The Thunderhawks have brought home over 35 Provincial medals and 6 National Curling medals. Our current varsity teams include Golf, Cross Country Running, Men’s Soccer, Women’s Soccer and Curling.
Intramural Recreation began in the mid 70’s and is also sponsored by SUCCI. For over 40 years there was a combined Athletic & Recreation Awards Banquet. Intramural teams competed throughout the year vying for the Overall Championship trophy and plaque. The Overall Intramural/Campus Recreation Activities plaques were hung proudly on the walls of the Fitness Centre. We pride ourselves with being able offer the most varied and diverse “Something for Everyone” Campus Recreation program throughout the province. Over past 2 – 3 years our college population/culture has changed and so our Campus Recreation program has transformed to meet the needs of our students. The motto of “Good Friends! Great Times! Free Fun” continues. The Athletic hardware is now proudly displayed in the new Wellness Centre including recognition of Past Male and Female Athletes of the year.
In its early days, the Intramural program was housed out of a cupboard beside the library. By the late 80’s the Student Athletic Information Booth was built. The SAIB was enclosed by a trophy case, counter with sliding windows and door. When SUCCI offices moved to their current location, the SAIB found its permanent home. It first served our students through a large open window which looked into the lounge area, followed by the Athletics & Recreation Office addition in 2007.
SUCCI is one of 3 colleges in Ontario who administers and runs the Athletics and Recreation Program.
The Staff of SUCCI have been led by Executive Director, Lynne Savela since the fall of 1985. Lynne retired in June 2022. Susan Tucker joined the staff in 1987 initially in a seasonal position to run the Campus Recreation Program. The staff grew from one full time administrator, and one part-time bookkeeper to include today an Administrator of Campus Recreation & Athletics, Administrator Campus Employment, Administrator of Marketing and Communications, Office Administrator, Adminsitrator of Accounting & Payroll and an Events Programmer. After the closure of Sharky’s Pub, the Book-Keeper position evolved to become the Administrator of Accounting and Programming. Various additional part-time employment positions have existed for short durations over the years to accommodate the current needs of the organization, or to cover parental leaves. Recent retirements in the past 5 years included two long standing employees Cathy Gorrie and Carol Kennedy.
Currently the staff compliment includes Susan Tucker (Administrator of Campus Recreation & Athletics) who joined the staff in 1987 in a seasonal position to run the Campus Recreation Program, followed by Thomas McDonald (originally Administrator of Wellness & Diversity, now Communications and Marketing) in 2007. Laurel Tyrvainen (Receptionist and Office Coordinator) joined SUCCI in August of 2018 and Alyssa Veneruzzo (Administrator, Accounting & Payroll) in November 2018 and Cari Kruzel (Administrator, Campus Employment Service) in 2019. With the retirement of long time Executive Director Lynne Savela in June 2022, SUCCI enters a new era under the guidance of Executive Director Kendall Williams. SUCCI currently employs six full-time administrative employees and one part-time administrative employee. Our events and promotions are also supported by an Events Team comprised of part time student employees along with our elected student leaders.
Into The Future
The current demographics of the student body include one third domestic, one third indigenous and one third international students.
The changing face of the staff and the changing demographics of our student body makes this an excellent time to reaffirm our mission and vision and determine a pathway into the future.
SUCCI remains committed to working closely and respectfully with OASA – Oshki Anishnawbeg Student Association to support all students. SUCCI is committed to learning, growing and respecting the Indigenous knowledges, language and culture. SUCCI is committed to demonstrate its responsibility to work towards the prospect of renewed relationships and reconciliation processes which are ongoing