Q and A with the URSU executive

Coffee with execs URSU logo manipulated by Jeremy

Asking questions you’d like to know

Since the spring, URSU has been doing Coffee with Execs, where students can contact their Executive Government and go for a coffee with them to discuss any concerns they might be having about the school year, and what’s going to happen. We at the Carillon decided to ask some questions about how it’s been going.

Q: What are some of the common concerns that are being brought to you during these “Coffee with Execs” events? What are some uncommon but important concerns being raised?

A: The most common concern we have received from “Coffee with Execs” is about transit passes. URSU had to cancel the U-Pass program due to the budgetary issue of insufficient funds as there would be fewer students travelling to campus and thereby lower ridership from the student population. Notably, most of the institutions across the country are unable to come up with the alternative for semester wide bus pass, however, URSU is proud to subsidize $28 per month to its members from its financial budget. We will do our best to provide affordable transit to our members after the fall semester too if the situation stays the same.

Aside from the transit questions, the uncommon, but important, concern we have also heard is a request from a student group to support their team with building a program that offers workshops and speeches about mental wellness, racial justice, and cultural diversity. Students are also worried about the quality of education they will get through online learning. 

 Q: What are the executives plans and hopes for fall and winter?

A: In the fall and winter semester, URSU executives will encourage university administrators to partially reopen the most essential academic services like libraries, computer labs, face-to-face counselling services to students since we have to pay the almost same amount of tuition. At the same time, we will provide a mental wellness program, new campus group platform, Cultural Awareness Week, Welcome Week, and a Virtual Club Fair to our fellow students through an online experience. It is a challenge to deliver those programs successfully to every student under the current circumstances but we will do our best to fight for our students’ best interests. 

Q: What are the execs doing to put pressure on the University to lower tuition costs?

A: When the student community start[ed] to fight for lower tuition in the 2020-21 school year in May, URSU executives totally supported our fellow students. As a result, we met with senior administrators and requested them to reconsider the unaffordable tuition for several times till now. As VPSA, I have connected to several student groups and encourage them to start a petition regarding tuition deduction. Our president is currently working to strengthen Saskatchewan Students’ Coalition with which student unions across the province will be able to pressure the government better for affordable post-secondary tuition. URSU believes that education should never be a burden on a student and we will keep working best of our power to lower the tuition costs. 

Q: As an exec what are the most important issues on your mind leading into the 2020/2021 year?

A: As Vice President of Student Affairs, the most important issue on my mind leading into the 2020/2021 year is lack of student engagement, I’m working my best on connecting with different student groups, and building a cohesive student community. Students’ power will be fragile and our voice will waver if we are disconnected from each other.

Q: Will you continue doing “Coffee with Execs” through the 2020/2021 school year?

A: The URSU executives would love to continue to have this event through our whole term, it is a very great opportunity to allow executives to connect with student groups in an informal but informative manner. 

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