History of the Students’ General Association
The Students’ General Association began in 1960 as the Association Générale des Étudiants de l’Université de Sudbury. It soon became the single association for Laurentian University upon the Federation of the University of Sudbury, Huntington University and Thorneloe College that same year. Since that time we have grown from an association with less than 300 members to one representing over 5000 full time and part-time students. The services, programs, facilities and structure of the SGA/AGÉ have also changed to meet the new realities of our membership, Laurentian University and our community.
The original SGA/AGÉ consisted of an Executive Council much like the Executive Board system used today. The Executive was comprised of five positions held by full-time, non-salaried students including a President, a French and English Vice-President, a treasurer and secretary who were selected from applications to the Council. The Council consisted of representatives from each college based on enrollment. Currently, the SGA/AGÉ Executive structure consists of a President, Vice-President Student Life and Vice-President Policy and Advocacy. The SGA/AGÉ has also brought on several professional full-time staff including an Executive Director, a Director of Membership Services, a Campus and Community Outreach Coordinator, a Finance Manager, a Creative Media Manager and a Welcome Week Coordinator.
For the first several years of existence, the majority of the work the SGA/AGÉ concerned social activities rather than political work. The political actions that did take place were largely internal, building a constitution, seeking financial autonomy using the student newspaper to communicate with the students. Today the SGA/AGÉ continues to use the student newspaper Lambda as well as the radio station CKLU 96.7FM as forums to create awareness and publicize student issues.
The SGA/AGÉ began to run a number of publications for their membership, including the bilingual Lambda which was operated exclusively by the SGA/AGÉ until gaining its autonomy in 1985. Laurentianna was Laurentian University’s yearbook funded by the SGA/AGÉ from 1970 until staffing and fundraising problems ended its existence.
Throughout the 1970s, the SGA/AGÉ restricted their Board and Executive to include representatives from academic associations rather than just the colleges. The Executive also changed the organizational structure to make the President a full-time position. Each year the organization structure is reviewed by the Board and Executive Team for any revisions or adjustments that are required to make the organization run more efficiently.
In 1972 the SGA/AGÉ became a founding member of the Ontario Federation of Students (later the Canadian Federation of Students – Ontario). A year later the SGA/AGÉ joined the National Union of Students (later the Canadian Federation of Students). In 2016, the SGA/AGÉ became a member of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA).
The SGA/AGÉ began an effort to expand its services in the early 1970s through a number of business endeavours, the most enduring being the campus bar, known as the Pub Downunder. The Pub has undergone several renovations since opening.
From 1979 – 1992 the SGA/AGÉ owned and operated the Games Room on Student Street. Until campus modernization took effect in Spring 2016 the SGA/AGÉ shared ownership of the Student Centre Games Room with the Association Étudiant(e)s Francophones (AEF) and Laurentian University Administration. With the opening of the Student Centre in 1992, the SGA/AGÉ completed its fourth move in its thirty-two years of existence. Having moved from its original suite in the Demarco building downtown Sudbury, to the second floor of the R.D Parker Building in 1965, to G11 on Student Street, to SCE 212 in the Student Centre. In the spring of 2016, the office was relocated to SSR G24 due to Campus Modernization of the Student Centre.