RPIRG working groups offer opportunities to students

Screenshot of the RPIRG Website with information about resources and funding. RPIRG

Funding, support available

The Regina Public Interest Group (RPIRG) recently announced that they are adding two new working groups, one with the University of Regina Psychology Students Association (PSA), and one with the Non-Profit Youth Leadership Network (NPYLN).

“Working groups are involved in projects or initiatives that fit within RPIRG’s broad mandate of social and environmental justice and have chosen to affiliate with RPIRG to mutually benefit from each other’s work. RPIRG provides them with small scale operational funding, as well as other types of support, to help them succeed,” said RPIRG Executive Director, Krystal Lewis.

These two organizations will be joining a growing list of RPIRG working groups.

“We currently have one other working group based out of Saskatoon called Nourish YXE, but over the years we have had several others. It is hard to quantify success of the groups because they have ranged from established non-profit organizations (such as SEARCH) to very small-scale local initiatives that might only serve a select community of people (such as the Heritage Community Association’s Two Spirit Group). But all of them work or have worked to take action to help address community or campus needs, which weren’t being addressed previously,” Lewis said.

As stated by Lewis, these new working groups fit within RPIRG’s board mandate of social and environmental justice, with each group providing unique opportunities and supports for different people and groups.

“By supporting and promoting student initiatives like this, a wider network of our student members can learn about their work and how to get involved. They offer programming and services that can benefit our members,” said Lewis.

Shae Sackman, President of the Psychology Students Association, explained how the PSA’s decision to partner with RPIRG was multifaceted. “First, I wanted to demonstrate the PSA’s seriousness in our mission to support students. A way to provide funds to students studying psychology was a top priority and RPIRG’s belief in what we are trying to do, and their resources are such an asset to us.”

Supporting other students, while developing a strong foundation on campus can be trying work, especially in this world of online learning.

“Secondly, because the PSA has worked so hard through the remote semester, lots of other groups have seen what we’re up to and have begun talking to us. Demonstrating that student-led groups can not only obtain funding but support from an organization like RPIRG is something I felt was really important to show other students,” said Sackman.

While the PSA plans to use the funding and resources provided by RPIRG to directly support students, the Non-Profit Youth Leadership Network plans to use this funding to further grow their organization and provide training for the Executive Directors to ensure that students can be best supported and represented.

“RPIRG’s support has been invaluable in offering new ideas, new contacts, and resources that can be used to better our organization. I’ve been very thankful for RPIRG’s variety of funding options, all of which we can still apply for even though we are getting working group funding as well, such as conference/training funding, which we are using towards training our executive members,” said Emily Lints, NPYLN Executive Director and founder.

As the purpose of these groups are to provide people with opportunities, these partnerships are so valuable; they expose people to opportunities that they otherwise would not have been aware of.

“I feel as if a lot of students at the U of R have amazing ideas and projects in mind, but they either don’t know what’s out there in terms of support or resources, or they’re lacking that person to just say ‘yes, that’s a great idea’ to them,” said Sackman. “The PSA’s work with RPIRG creates more opportunities for students because it allows our board to take very seriously the values of growth, opportunity and support that we have as an organization. RPIRG’s support lets us turn our ideals into values we can concretely demonstrate.”

Both the PSA and NPYLN expressed how this partnership validates their hard work and allows them to continue growing and developing their networks.

“Being a RPIRG working group gives us more exposure to U of R students who might be looking to take advantage of our offerings. As well, it provides us with a better way to connect with U of R students and clubs in our consultations, trainings, and more. Utilizing RPIRG as a resource is perfect for student organizations just starting out and looking for some initial funding,” said Lints.

As many students are constantly looking for ways to get involved both on and off campus, RPIRG’s development of working groups in a variety of areas of interest has created many opportunities for student involvement and engagement.

In this online world, it is now easier than ever to connect with other people from across the country and find opportunities within your area of interest.

“We list our working groups on our website and try to highlight their programming and work in our monthly newsletter and on social media. Students can contact the groups directly or ask us to help connect them based on what interests they have,” explained Lewis.

“Our recent Research Reading Group is actually the first project a general member brought to us, and we’re so excited it’s started. General members can join us on URSU’s Universe website. Our board elections will happen in March. The best place to check for information and updates on all this and more is our social media, or our website at ureginapsa.org,” explained Sackman.

To get involved with the NPYLN, students can find the organization on social media @npylncanada or visit their website to join our network “After joining, students will be able to take advantage of our wide varieties of sessions, our Canada-wide network, and viewing new opportunities in the non-profit sector from across the country,” Lints said.

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