Summer URSU update

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author: kristian ferguson| news editor

Small update before the shenanigans begin again/Courtesy of URSU

 

URSU boardroom shaking in anticipation

The Carillon is looking to keep students updated on the University of Regina Students Union [URSU] over the summer when many students may not be in classes.

Suffice to say, URSU President Haris Khan and VP External Heather O’Watch were able to answer many questions that we had about what the student body can come to expect in the Fall semester.

Both Khan and O’Watch, who were newly elected in the winter semester, stated that they were adjusting well to their new positions.

“I am doing great in my new role as President,” stated Khan. “Last year, when I was VP External, I was an outsider and there was a really steep learning curve. Now, it kind of just feels like I’ve moved offices. It was really nerve wracking last year but this time, I switched right into gear.”

“I am really excited as to what VP External entails,” said O’Watch.

“Being a part of a team that is a great, diverse, group of individuals and being in a position that allows me to feel like I can best represent myself on all levels of my own diversity is very important. I am a student of a federated college, the First Nations University, the only female in an executive position this year, a First Nations student, and as someone who openly identifies as bisexual.”

Khan cited former URSU President and current VP Student Affairs, Jermain McKenzie, for helping make the transition easier.

“I have to thank our previous president, Jermain McKenzie, for his guidance. I saw him doing a lot of things and he has given me a lot of help to make this a smooth transition for everyone. Here and there, I still ask for his guidance but it doesn’t take much to put me back on track.”

Both of the executives were very excited for the upcoming semester and the events that surround and make up Welcome Week.

“Welcome Week is coming up and it is easily our biggest event of the year. Last year was a really exceptional Welcome Week and this year, we want to do even better,” said Khan.

“Last year, we worked on our inclusion, focusing on federated colleges and dry events for students who can’t or don’t drink. It was pretty good, but this year, we want an even more inclusive, even more diversified Welcome Week.”

“A student we hired, Marcus [Kuling], has been fantastic at gathering sponsorships, contacting student centers, and really in-taking ideas from different levels for Welcome Week,” stated O’Watch.

“One of the things we are hoping to have at Welcome Week is to have a safe space. An idea we had was to create a safe space environment and have students feel really supported, whether its through resources, security, workshops, or people on hand who are professionals like counselors, to answer questions for new and returning students. We want to make sure everyone feels safe.”

Khan had lots to say about upcoming projects that URSU was focusing on and creating for the new academic year.

“We are carrying on the momentum of URSU Threads and developing two new bursaries,” summarized Khan.

“The first is a bursary for those who have to do an unpaid work placement. This bursary will greatly help Education, Kinesiology, and Nursing students who may need financial help. Jermain McKenzie also helped make a bursary targeted at international students. We ran into some situations where international students were unsupported or unable to access any kind of bursary in the event of a short-term emergency. I really have to thank Jermain for all of his work on this bursary. URSU Threads was originally a pilot project but it is slowly being grown into a permanent service. Our new team has fresh ideas and is ready to hit the ground running.”

O’Watch was excited for what URSU has planned for Welcome Week.

“Last year was a nautical theme, so this year we are having an island theme. Lots of corals and things like that. We are going to be bringing in some new ideas and some old successes. Outdoor movie nights, workshops, the cultural showcase, beer and dry gardens, a trivia night and whole lot of other things are going to be included.”

Additionally, O’Watch wanted to emphasize the strong team that URSU has built for this academic year.

“Students can feel confident in knowing that we have a lot of great URSU members coming back as either board members or executives.”

“I really hope that students reach out and get in contact with us. We plan on being very, very visible this year. I have had the opportunity to see student unions all across the country and I really want to see that advocacy for education back at our school. At the heart of student unions, we really should be advocating for education rights as well as our rights as humans.”

O’Watch also left a message for students to keep in mind.

“I really want students to come out to Welcome Week and stress that students reach out to me or any of the other executives and get to know their representatives.”

 

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