History of Student Referenda

The referenda process began in 1987, when Engineering students came up with the idea to raise funds for their faculty by holding a vote. Overwhelmingly, the students voted in favour of contributing $50 each for three years. Since then, virtually every faculty and school has adopted a similar process, and student referenda results have continuously supported various funds and initiatives.

Most faculties hold a referendum every three to four years, giving every student the opportunity to vote at least once during their academic career. Some referenda have resulted in student donations made in perpetuity.

Where the Money Goes

The majority of students allocate their gifts to their individual endowment funds. The money stays in the students' faculty. Money from endowment funds are used to support a number of initiatives, including:

  • research funding,
  • conference or travel assistance,
  • laboratory equipment,
  • facility upgrades, and
  • student awards.