At the AGM in Richmond this past June the leaders of CFUW from across Canada came together to network, listen, learn, be entertained and to vote on a variety of issues. Prior to, and post the AGM official business, there were many day trips just like the wonderful trips that our conference team put together for the previous year’s AGM held at Brock University.
At the start of each meeting, CFUW National gives every delegate ample written information so we know what to expect. There is the opening event on the Thursday night followed, on Friday, by a full learning day. The business meeting follows on Saturday. It is during this business meeting that the CFUW Board presents reports, resolutions, motions and changes to the constitution, all with lots of discussion and input.
At this year’s meeting, among the many decisions attendees had to discuss, debate and finally vote on, were issues related to our membership in GWI (Graduate Women International), and a proposed increase in their dues. For the past two years we have been receiving information about GWI’s enormous financial deficit. In fact, the organization was going bankrupt! In consequence, pressure from the international members has forced GWI to realign its spending. Today they report that they have taken steps to streamline their operations and to pull their budget into line. Although this has reduced the deficit it has not eradicated it. If GWI is to continue, the dues from its member organizations around the world have to go up. That cost will filter down through national organizations to local groups like CFUW St. Catharines.
So what does this mean to you? It means that the cost to be a member will increase to cover the portion of your payment to CFUW St. Catharines that is forwarded on to CFUW National and then to GWI. Over the years, we have recognized that there is a value in belonging to a larger international organization. But at what price?
Last year and this year you, as members, sent a clear message through Heather Hall and myself, that if membership in GWI meant a considerable increase in the dues, we needed to withdraw from GWI. But we are only one chapter. At both national AGMs, last year’s and this year’s meetings, after exhaustive discussion and debate, the vote narrowly went to remain in GWI and thus incur the cost of the dues increase. This is where it stands today.
In the coming months, the executive will discuss what this means to our club and our members and report back to the club with strategies for the future.
Nancy Ferris-Hostick, CFUW St. Catharines President, 2017-18