Federation of Students, University of Waterloo

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Federation of Students,
University of Waterloo
Motto Concordia veritate
Institution University of Waterloo
Location Waterloo, Ontario
President Chris Lolas
Vice presidents Brian Schwan, Deanna Priori, Sarah Wiley
Affiliations OUSA
Colours Gold & Black
Full-time Staff 37
Website http://www.feds.ca

The Federation of Students, University of Waterloo (commonly shortened to Feds) is the students' union that represents over 29,000 full-time and part-time undergraduate students at the University of Waterloo. They have an office in the University's Student Life Centre, and have over 30 full-time staff members. They help support and run over 200 student clubs on campus. They run six businesses and eight student services.


Feds is headed by a four-member executive, which includes the President, Vice-President Internal, Vice-President Operations and Finance, and Vice-President Education. These positions are elected by a vote of all Federation members in February of each year.

Feds is governed by two bodies an elected Students' Council and a Board of Directors. Students' Council consists of the executive, student society presidents as non-voting ex-officio members and elected student councillors. Student councillors are elected by the students in various constituencies like the Faculties, affiliated Colleges, the School of Optometry, and the School of Architecture (a part of the Faculty of Engineering). These students serve one-year terms. The Board of Directors consists of the four executive, five students at large and two students elected from the student councillors.

Campus Life[edit]

The Feds Campus Life Department has four full-time staff members, including a Director of Campus Life, Clubs Manager, Services Manager, and a Special Events Coordinator of Programming.

Feds' Campus Life Department coordinates eight student-run services, including The Glow Centre for Sexual and Gender Diversity, The Women's Centre, Campus Response Team, Feds Student Food Bank, International & Canadian Student Network, Off Campus Community, Co-op Connection, and Sustainable Campus Initiative. These student-run services are coordinated through a Services Manager, a full-time staff position.

Campus Life also organizes the Feds Diversity Education Team, Waterloo Team Feds, and hosts weeklong events including Welcome Week, Wrap-up Week, and International Celebrations Week.


Feds' Campus Life Department, along with the societies beneath it, have the power to recognize clubs on campus. They supervise and fund more than 200 student clubs. [1] Clubs must have a Federation-approved constitution, submit to financial review by the Federation, and restrict full membership to members of the Federation, among other restrictions. [2] In return, clubs receive up to $75 per 4-month term in funding, the right to use the name "University of Waterloo," the right to book rooms on campus, and the right to have a presence at Clubs Days, an opportunity to recruit new members at the beginning of each term and access to Special Projects Funding, an amount determined annually (close to $30,000 in 2008/2009).

Commercial Services[edit]

Feds organizes eight commercial services including The Bombshelter Pub, Campus Bubble, Wasabi!, The Dispensary (located at the Downtown Kitchener campus), International News, and Feds Used Books.

Orientation & Community Events[edit]

Feds has an Orientation & Community Events Department which has two full-time staff members. In partnership with the University, this Department helps to organize Orientation, and also partners on University events including Reunion Weekend and Canada Day celebrations.

Bars and pubs[edit]

Feds operates The Bombshelter Pub (more commonly known as The Bomber), located in the Student Life Centre. Until 2004, they also operated Ground Zero, a restaurant in the Student Life Centre. The space now contains a Tim Hortons, operated by Waterloo's Food Services. The Federation was originally supposed to receive money from Food Services each year for the use of the space, but due to administrative issues has not been reimbursed.

Until the fall of 2004, Fed Hall was subsidized by a student fee. The fee was collected to cover mortgage payments for the building, with the remainder going to subsidize operations. This subsidy averaged $80,000 in the decade until the fee was terminated. [3]

Liquor dispute[edit]

In January 2003, administration at the university took control of, and eventually ordered closed, the liquor-serving establishments operated by the Federation in response to fights and a beating that took place following a New Years' party at Fed Hall. In response, the Federation sued the university in March of that year for $11 million, claiming the university had breached a long-standing contract. [4] The lawsuit was eventually settled and the bars reopened in June 2004.

Marketing and Communications[edit]

Feds has a Marketing & Communications Department, which consists of four full-time staff; a Director of Marketing & Communications, a Communications Coordinator, a Marketing Coordinator-Campus Life, and a Marketing Coordinator-Commercial Services. The Marketing & Communications Department also employs more than 25 part-time student staff members including a Marketing Assistant, Graphic Designers, Roadrunners Promotional Team, Visual Media Coordinators, Communications Data Analyst, WATSUP Student Planner Editor, and Electronic Media Coordinators.

Student participation[edit]

In recent years, student participation in the activities of the Federation has declined significantly. Voting in executive elections has seen a downward trend from a high of more than 50% in the 1960s to approximately 17% (2005) of student members, up from the late 1990s. The 2014 election saw a turnout of 11%. Seats for Students' Council are more often than not filled by acclamation, if at all.


Provincially, the Federation of Students are founding members of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance. Along with 5 other student unions, the Federation of Students left the Ontario Federation of Students (now the Canadian Federation of Students). At that time, the Federation held a referendum in which 75% of its students voted to leave CFS. However, CFS contested the results of the referendum, claiming improprieties. More than three years later, CFS reversed its position and chose to ratify the results of the referendum, and the Federation was allowed to defederate from CFS. [5]

The Federation is also a founding member of the Canadian Alliance of Students Associations (CASA), which represented them federally. In 2003, The Federation held a plebiscite to determine if members were in favour of remaining in CASA. The result was close and non-binding, with less than 4% of students voting. [6] In the end, the Federation chose to remain in CASA. In January 2013, Student Council voted in favour of dropping down to Associate membership of CASA, with the intention to withdraw from CASA the following year. In April 2014, Students' Council decided to withdraw its membership from CASA.

See also[edit]


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