A month has passed since my fellow executives and I stepped into our roles, and it’s been a busy one. It takes a lot of work to turn a campaign promise into an actual plan, and summer is when we lay most the groundwork for our priorities over the course of the year.
While each of the executives sets their own priorities for the years, we also work as a team to establish a general set of principals to guide those priorities. This year, we’ve selected three major pillars:
• Respecting student agency and autonomy;
• Building foundations for success; and
• Aligning with student needs
Just as the executives work together, the Students’ Union as a whole works with a variety of stakeholders and partners as we make our plans for the coming year. We’re already in communication with the President's office as we prepare for the coming year, and will be working on a variety of projects with them, including the creation of the new Residence Life Task Force. We’re also working closely with our provincial and federal lobby groups, CAUS and CASA, respectively.
CAUS advocates directly to the provincial government, who tends to govern over post-secondary issues more so than the federal government. Our new provincial government committed to an Adult Learning Review as post-secondary hasn’t been examined in a very long time, and most of our provincial priorities tie into that review. In particular, we will be seeking support on student financial aid, expanding student employment programs and mental health funding.
CASA, the federal advocacy group, is also focusing on student financial aid. The other area of focus for CASA is looking to be campus sexual assault policies. Quality processes here seem to be lacking across many campuses. It’s very reassuring to know that we’re not the only ones tackling issues like affordability, quality and safety for students at our university.
It’s very reassuring to know that we’re not the only ones tackling issues like affordability and quality for students at our university. This year all our counterparts provincially and federally agree financial aid will be a focus for students.
Student Unions are very peculiar beasts, I’ve found. They revolve around the concept of giving the organization’s executive one year to work on all of their goals, helping them make the most of their qualifications and experience, and then kicking them out to restart the cycle and welcome a new team. I’m very grateful to be with the Students’ Union for another year, and have the chance to make headway on items that resonate with you as a student on our campuses.