The end of the Winter semester also means that this year’s Representation Executive Council (REC) members are approaching their terms’ end.
After being elected by the student body and hired by SAMRU’s Student Governing Board to serve one-year terms, your 2022-23 REC team hit the ground running last May and have stayed engrossed in their advocacy work throughout the school year!
It has been a busy year for REC with many successes; join us as we reflect on some of the REC team’s advocacy from the 2022-23 term!
Finances are top of mind for many MRU students, so let’s look back at some of the ways that REC has advocated for affordability and additional financial support.
Throughout the Fall semester, REC members sat on MRU’s Tuition and Fees Consultation Committee where they reviewed proposed increases to tuition and fees and advised the institution by providing student perspectives. During this meeting, student representatives were able to negotiate that an extra $200,000 be allocated to the MRU Tuition Bursary, an overall increase of 20%.
During the December 2022 meeting of MRU’s Board of Governors, your student representatives voted against the proposed tuition and fee increases for the 2023-24 academic year. Due to the inclusion of higher tuition fees, your representatives also voted against the MRU budget during the March 16, 2023 MRU Board of Governors meeting, citing the existing pressure put on students due to the rising cost of living. While the proposed budget would ultimately pass, your representatives took the opportunity to thank MRU for expanding access to financial support through the MRU Tuition Bursary.
Check out our follow-up blog to learn what you can expect from these upcoming changes.
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)
As they represent all MRU credit students through their work, the REC team furthered their efforts to make this diverse campus equitable and inclusive for all students. Here are some highlights from their EDI work!
In the fall, REC wrote a letter of support to bolster the MRU Wellness department’s proposition to have free menstruation products supplied in campus washrooms. The Wellness team later reached an agreement with the MRU administration in the Winter semester with support from REC. In the coming months, students can expect to see paid menstruation product dispensers replaced with no-cost dispensers in every all-gender and single-stall, and female designated washroom.
Throughout the year, REC members have advocated for MRU to expand the network of all-gender washrooms on campus. To learn more about all-gender washrooms on campus, and current plans for expansion, check out MRU’s Washrooms subpage.
During Black History Month in February 2023, members of REC represented SAMRU at various MRU-hosted events, where they took to the stage to express SAMRU’s commitment to supporting EDI initiatives on campus.
This year, REC also sat on the President’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. As a committee made up of Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) individuals, allies, and those with knowledge and experience in equity, diversity, and inclusion, the committee strives:
- to affirm MRU’s commitment to EDI
- to disrupt racism
- to advocate for systemic change at MRU and in our community
Get Out The Vote (GOTV)
In collaboration with the Council of Alberta University Students (CAUS,) the REC team launched their Get Out the Vote (GOTV) campaign in January 2023. This campaign runs when an external election is called at the civic, provincial, or federal levels, and is intended to empower students to vote with confidence.
To measure their success, the REC team set a goal of receiving 1,000 pledges–or promises to vote–through the CAUS website.
In February, REC hosted Donuts for Pledges, the largest single pledge-gathering event of the campaign. Over a few hours, they gave away 600 donuts and gathered 600 pledges in return.
With the help of the GOTV Coordinator, they performed a series of classroom visits and campaigns across campus. By April, the REC team achieved their goal of 1,000 pledges, the highest pledge count of any post-secondary institution in Alberta (roughly 50% of all pledges)!
We encourage you to pledge using this link if you have not done so yet, as by pledging, you’ll be signed up to receive voter information in your inbox closer to the date of the provincial election in May 2023.
Policy & Committee Work
As part of their work on MRU’s General Faculties Council, members of REC review and vote on institutional policy revisions. This presents them with a great opportunity to see student perspectives reflected in official policies.
Over the year, a few policies came up for review–for example, REC voted to approve the new Grades Policy and Examinations Policy, introducing changes that favoured students. You can find details of these changes in the MRU Policy Updates section of our Summer Advocacy Updates blog!
REC members also sat on internal committees to help hire several executive roles at MRU. Some of the roles that REC had a hand in hiring this year include:
- Dr. Moussa Magassa, Associate Vice-President of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
- Alena Boczek, Director of Student Success and Learning Services
- Mustansar Nadeem, Vice-President of Finance and Administration
- Dr. Chad London, Provost and Vice-President Academic
Connecting with Students
One of the goals of this year’s REC team was to strengthen communications with students and provide consistent updates on their advocacy work.
To this end, REC hosted a Fall town hall meeting on November 2, 2022, where they provided status updates on their most pertinent projects and opened the floor to student questions. You can watch the live stream of the town hall here.
SAMRU has also produced a series of monthly advocacy update blog posts so that students can keep track of REC’s initiatives month by month. You can also stay connected with REC by following their activities on Twitter @samrurec.
Farewell to Yasmin
As we wish the 2022-23 REC team the best of luck in their future endeavours, we would like to extend a special thanks to Yasmin Ahmed, who is wrapping up her time with REC after spending two terms as SAMRU’S REC Vice-President Academic.
A significant goal for Yasmin through her time with REC has been to help uplift all students so that they feel comfortable, represented, and included. In this leadership role, it has been important to Yasmin to create more opportunities for underrepresented students.
After being elected to this position during the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, another priority for Yasmin has been supporting students’ mental health through the changes in learning delivery over the last two years.
Yasmin’s work has been integral to the success of the REC team, and she has taken great strides in advocating for students and improving the MRU student experience in her time at SAMRU.
Here are just a few highlights from her work with REC:
- Yasmin was asked by Dr. Chad London, MRU’s Provost and Vice-President Academic (who she helped to hire), to sit on the Academic Plan Steering Committee as a student representative
- Yasmin served as the Vice Chair of the Student Affairs Committee
- Yasmin played a key role in MRU’s decision to provide additional funding ($200,000!) to their Student Bursary
- Yasmin sat on MRU’s General Faculties Council and also supervised a team of 13 GFC Student Ambassadors
Hear what Yasmin has to say about her time with REC:
Reflecting on this year’s successes, we are grateful for the efforts put forward by this year’s Representation Executive Council and by each of the student volunteers and ambassadors who came together to ensure student interests were furthered.
If you’re interested in student advocacy and representation issues, you should know that REC is currently seeking student volunteers to support their work in the coming academic year! You can sign up to receive more information about upcoming volunteer opportunities with REC at samru.ca/rec.
If you have any questions about the REC team or their work, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.