Don’t let these opportunities pass you by
Is this a long article? Yes. Should you give it a read-through anyway? I certainly would. There’s a lot of good info here to make things better for you while you’re at MRU — including things that we’ve heard so many students say “I wish I knew that in first year!”
Going to university is much more than just going to class. Of course you’re here to learn and get a degree but you should know that there are so many services, supports, opportunities open to you as a member of your students’ association (SAMRU), as well as a great deal of advocacy work happening on your behalf to protect your interests.
You should SERIOUSLY take a look at what’s available to you to help you succeed, get through stressful times, and to enjoy your time here at MRU — yes, even during COVID.
So, where do you start? Well, we’ve created a handy little “tool kit” or guide to:
- help you navigate your way through the year,
- ensure you get the most value for your fees,
- get support you when you need help,
- connect you with your peers,
- and help you get the most out of university!
- Use the SAMRU services and resources available to you. We can’t stress this enough! Whether it’s services from SAMRU’s Peer Support Centre, the Pride Centre, Cultural and Indigenous programs, online or in-person events, your student health benefits, guidance with academic or non-academic issues, and much more – take advantage of what’s offered and get the most value you can.
- Get involved! IT makes your university experience way more interesting. Join or a club or start your own. Volunteer. Join student committees. Run for a SAMRU student governor or representation executive position. Just find a way to connect with your peers.
- And as always, SAMRU is here for you. If we don’t have a service or support, we can most likely refer you to one or find a way to help you.
AUGUST: PREPARE YOURSELF FOR A GREAT SCHOOL YEAR
- FIRST: make sure to connect to SAMRU’s social feeds: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook to keep yourself in the loop about what’s happening at MRU.
- Used books – SAMRU’s used book sale is the place where you can buy or consign textbooks.
- Student Clubs – start or join a club. It’s slightly different with COVID, but it’s a great way to connect with others
- Volunteer opportunities – take a peek at the many ways you can get involved. Now is a good time to apply to connect with something that connects with your interests: Peer Support, Pride centre, Cultural and Indigenous programming, or advocacy work on various MRU committees.
Employment opportunities – see what jobs may be available on campus.
- Housing – are you looking for a place to live? Check out our off-campus housing list for student-friendly rentals.
- Stay in the loop – check out upcoming events in our events calendar.
Oh, and did you know that SAMRU is governed by a student governing body? The Student Governing Board is a policy-making Board of Directors for the Students’ Association and collectively the highest decision-making body of SAMRU. SAMRU is also a registered charity that operates the Student Centre, Wyckham House. You could (and should) even apply and run for one of these positions!
SEPTEMBER: FIND COMMUNITY & BUILD A FOUNDATION
- SAMRU’s Open House – find out more about your students’ association, get in-person or virtual tours of your student centre, Wyckham House, join in the fun and games and enter to win great prizes.
- Cheap bus tickets – Need a cheaper way to get to school? SAMRU sells discounted bus tickets that are 40% off the regular price!
- Student clubs – check out the clubs page to find out which clubs are active. If you can’t find one you like, think about connecting with other students to start your own.
- Develop yourself – sign up for SAMRU’s Pinnacle Leadership Challenge for an interactive, vibrant, & multi-layered challenge which aims to develop and/or fine-tune a student’s leadership skills. The Challenge is open to all current MRU students. The deadline for applications is September 30th.
- Show your Pride – September is Pride month in Calgary and MRU and SAMRU are usually involved in the annual Pride parade and have some of our own festivities planned. This year we’re doing things differently (because COVID), but check out our social feed for more info.
- Volunteer with us and find ways to help your peers through SAMRU support and advocacy work. There’s still time!
- Connect with your student representatives twice a month at Tea with REC. They’ll provide updates on the work they’re doing representing you, and will be available to answer questions or to point you in the right direction.
OCTOBER: DISCOVER NEW THINGS/ TAKE A BREATHER
- Attend free SAMRU programs – Try new things, learn, grow, and develop yourself personally and professionally. There’s lots of SAMRU programming is happening this month, from Crafternoon to Indigenous program to everyone’s favourite game: Sex Toy Bingo! And Pinnacle Leadership workshops start in October. Check the website for more details.
- Apply for experiential funding opportunities – SAMRU has an annual $50,000 Experiential Learning Fund (ELF) that funds a number of development opportunities each year related to but outside a student’s academic experience at Mount Royal University. This fund was created to help eligible students take advantage of unique learning and growth opportunities. Learn more at samru.ca.
- Get help with appeals, grievances, and academic or non-academic misconduct – If you’re experiencing a situation which may be affecting your success at Mount Royal University, SAMRU’s Student Advocacy Resource Centre could help. Consider contacting our office for assistance. Self-advocacy is important to us, and so is helping you understand the process.
- Relax – October has a Reading week — thanks to the efforts of your SAMRU representatives! Take a little time to breathe and relax and then maybe use some time to, get ready for mid-terms, catch up on school work or … maybe some reading (whaaatt??) 😊
- Health Plan opt out – Your student health and dental plan provides great coverage and benefits for most students. However, students with comparable health and/or dental coverage under another insurance plan may choose to opt-out and can do so online before the deadline.
NOVEMBER: FIND BALANCE AND SUPPORT
November can be a tough month for some. We’re two months into school and well into mid-terms, papers and final presentations. It may not be easy at times, but you can always check in with SAMRU if you need help, support, or someone to talk to. We’re here for you.
- Get support – feeling stressed, looking for other supports, or just need someone to talk to? SAMRU’s Peer Support Centre staff and volunteers can help. We’re here to listen and we know where to refer you depending on your particular needs. We’ve got a live chat feature as well, with someone trained in listening and referring and respecting your privacy.
- Food security – Don’t let a lack of time or funds prevent you from eating a healthy, balanced diet. SAMRU has barrier-free food and financial security programs so you can focus less on where your next meal is coming from and more on your studies.
- Financial assistance – We also provide emergency loans and bursaries, discounted bus tickets (or occasional free bus tickets in emergencies) and have a food bank and a personal hygiene closet available to you whenever you need it.
- Apply for Mount Caring – Donations to our “Fundrace Flurry” campaign allow us to identify specific needs that students and student-parents require around the holidays through a program we call Mount Caring. Students can apply through the Peer Support Centre (Z210) to receive gift cards for themselves and dependents, if any. Donors sometimes like to buy physical gifts instead of cash donations, so we have a mini toy drive as well.
DECEMBER: WELLNESS/ DE-STRESS/ SUPPORT
- Health benefits – Use your health benefits if you haven’t already! We’ve got you covered when it comes to your health. Your health benefits coverage includes prescriptions, dental, vision, and more with professionals right in your own student centre! In the basement of Wyckham House you’ll find Wyckham Pharmacy, Dental Choice, and Old Street Optometry. Your plan also includes coverage for other practitioners like physiotherapists, registered massage therapists, psychologists, and others, many of which you can visit in MRU’s Wellness Centre.
- Attend Stress Less programs – December can be a stressful time for some, with major projects and papers due, studying for final exams, and getting ready for the holidays. The folks at SAMRU get it. That’s why we have a Stress Less program each year with various activities to help you reduce stress and keep you healthy. We usually have puppies and free snacks to hand out, but things may be a bit different this year because of COVID. Stay tuned, but rest assured we’ll be doing something!
JANUARY: FRESH START AND WELCOME BACK
Happy new year and welcome back! We hope that things have normalized by now and that students can return to school. If that’s the case, many of the services students rely on and enjoy will be open, including West Gate Social and the Wyckham Food Court. What we do know for sure is that it’s the start of the winter semester at MRU and it’s time to get back into our school routines.
- Stay in the loop – new and returning students should connect (or reconnect) with SAMRU online on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter — and (if permitted) in person at your student centre known as Wyckham House. We can help you get your bearings and hopefully help you start the year off smoothly.
- Apply for scholarships – You should know that SAMRU gives away over $40,000 in scholarships and awards each year, recognizing eligible student applicants who have contributed to their campus community in an outstanding way that inspires and enhances the lives of their fellow Mount Royal students and/or achieved academic excellence. Learn more at samru.ca and make sure to apply before the end of February deadline!
- Run for office – Think about running for a full-time representation executive position. Nominations are open until mid-February. Successful candidates would start their role in May. As an employee of the Student Governing Board, your job would be to represent the interests of MRU students to Mount Royal and various levels of government — so be prepared to attend a lot of meetings and do some public speaking. But don’t worry – there is ample training and support provided.
FEBRUARY: GETTING THINGS DONE
Some people say February is the worst month of the year. Winter seems to be dragging on, darkness abound with little daylight and natural vitamin D, and students are thinking about mid-terms, papers, and presentations.
But it doesn’t have to be all bad! At least you have another Reading Week to allow you to take a bit of a breather, catch up on schoolwork, and maybe get out to the mountains for some fresh air and sunshine.
- Learn about healthy relationships – When you’re on campus, you can attend Sex Week at SAMRU and go the ever-popular Sex Toy Bingo event, all designed to provide you with information about healthy relationships and to have fun while you’re at it.
- Elections nominations are due – deadlines for the Representation Executive Council (REC) nominations are due earlier in the month, followed by campaigning and the elections — and applications for SAMRU Awards are due later in the month.
MARCH: PLAN AHEAD
This is the time for you to think about summer work, transfer credits, applying for grad school, graduation, or registering for spring, summer and/or fall courses. It can be stressful but if you need help or have questions, SAMRU is here to support you and point you in the right direction.
- Attend events – student clubs are normally highly engaged in March, holding major events and fundraisers, so if everyone’s back on campus – make sure to check some of these out and also stop by West Gate Social and enjoy our very low-cost food and beverages.
- Food and financial support – If you find yourself running low on funds or feeling stressed out, stop by SAMRU’s Peer Support Centre where we have a food bank, emergency bus tickets, emergency loans, free breakfast (if in-person service is back), and peer support and referrals.
APRIL: ENDINGS AND CELEBRATIONS
You’re almost there! The weather’s warming up and summer is just around the corner. There are just a few more days of classes, studying for and writing finals, and you’re finished up for the year (unless you have spring or summer courses).
- Celebrate – If you applied for and were successful in getting a SAMRU award, we’ll join you in celebrating your achievement at our annual SAMRU Awards event, where you can collect your award (and cash!) in style in front of your peers and family.
- Stress Less – And while you’re busy studying for exams, we’ll be coming around with our exam relief cart full of free snacks, and holding our stress less programming (hopefully there will be puppies again!) to help ease your anxieties so you can ace those exams. Don’t forget to exercise and get lots of sleep too!