Your REC November Review

Hello MRU students,

We hope your semester is going well, and that you are keeping up with your classwork. Throughout November, your Representation Executive Council (REC) has been hard at work advocating for changes and improvements in and around campus that matter most to you, our members! 

REC is comprised of four MRU students just like you who were elected by MRU’s student body and hired by the Student Governing Board (SBG) to represent student issues to MRU and all levels of government. 

From left to right, this year’s REC team is:

  • REC President Joseph Nguyen (he/him)
  • REC Vice-President Student Affairs Anisa Tilston (she/they)
  • REC Vice-President External Prabhjit Grewal (they/them)
  • REC Vice-President Academic Tala Abu Hayyaneh (she/her)

Keep reading to hear what your team has been up to during the month of November!

Provincial Advocacy Week with CAUS in Edmonton

This fall semester, the Council of Alberta University Students (CAUS), of which SAMRU is a member, held its advocacy week in Edmonton. This was a time when student leaders met with as many provincial politicians as possible to talk about student needs and priorities.

This year, Joseph and Prabhjit met with sixteen different politicians and discussed specific recommendations around student financial aid, work-integrated learning opportunities, funding for campus sexual assault centres, Indigenous grants and scholarships, on-campus mental health services, and more. For a full read-through of the priorities, visit this link.

Federal Advocacy Week with CASA in Ottawa

Every fall semester, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA), of which SAMRU is a member, holds their advocacy week in Ottawa so student leaders can meet with as many federal politicians as possible to talk about student needs and priorities.

This year, Joseph and SAMRU’s Indigenous Ambassador Tera Cardinal discussed specific recommendations around relieving cost of living pressures on students, supporting on-campus mental health supports, unlocking Canada’s housing supply, increasing Indigenous access to post-secondary education, investing in research and development, and more. For a full read-through of the priorities, visit this link.

Fall Reading Week

We hear you, MRU students! We have received dozens of emails about your thoughts relating to the timing of fall reading week. Tala has asked MRU to take into consideration the changing nature of student needs and revisit their data on the best timing of fall reading week. REC will consider this issue thoughtfully moving forward.

The Student Perspective

REC members have been sought-after speakers recently. They have participated in various panels:

  • Tala participated in a student engagement activity to discuss textbook and course materials affordability.
  • Tala was also on a panel focusing on Governance Essentials, where she shared her insights on the valuable experiences and perspectives that students gain and provide on MRU academic committees.
  • Joseph was a panelist for the Calgary Journal’s Student Housing Forum.
  • Anisa was on a panel discussion focusing on ableism and academic accessibility, where she discussed how professors and students can work together to ensure that academic accommodations are being upheld with dignity. Importantly, Anisa stated that a common misconception about students with accommodations is that they want special treatment, but clarified that these students would be happy if everyone got the accommodation. It’s not about being special, it’s about having the ability to succeed.

In addition to speaking engagements, REC has been visible in the news as well. Joseph was interviewed on four occasions: one on parking, two on student housing (here and once live on the radio), and one on a problem dubbed the loneliness epidemic (to be published later in December). Tala was interviewed about MRU’s fall reading week

MRU Board of Governors decision on tuition and fee rates for 2024-2025

Every fall semester, the MRU Board of Governors decides on tuition and fee rates for the next school year. The student representatives on the Board this year (Joseph and Anisa) decided to vote in favour of the tuition and fee rates because of the following: MRU is gradually phasing out program-specific fees, international student tuition increases were set at a very reasonable 1.5%, and MRU has committed to increasing the quality of student services on campus.

Green Line LRT meeting

REC participated in a consultation about the under-construction Green Line LRT line and how to include the student perspective in the project. Some of their suggestions included communicating the project’s benefits to students in relation to the shorter commute times and more access to affordable housing around transit stations. The Green Line project team was also encouraged to come to MRU to connect with students directly.

Textbook Affordability (zero textbook costs)

Back in September, we mentioned in this blog that Tala advocated for MRU to adopt the movement of zero textbook cost (ZTC) on campus and improve communication on whether a course needs a textbook or not. An update to this: we have since learned that this is a project that the university is supportive of, and they are considering implementing this program in the upcoming year!

Increasing the student voice in decision-making circles

MRU has recently decided to invite a second student to sit on the General Education Steering Committee (GESC) as part of the university’s dedication to increasing student representation on internal committees. The second student will be REC volunteer Fiona Chetty. GESC will be making decisions about how best to provide General Education courses at MRU.

BIPOC Student Art Festival

We have talked about this event in the last few blog entries, and the event officially happened on November 29th. It was a beautiful evening with a room full of amazing student artwork and good food. We thank all students who participated by sharing their artwork with us as well as everyone who attended. Look out for the chance to either participate or attend a future event! We thank Prabhjit for leading this project for CAUS, and for bringing a unique celebration of art to SAMRU.

Thanks For Reading!

Your REC members have been employed in their respective roles full-time for over a year, which means every day is full of advocacy and representation happening behind the scenes, dedicated to improving your student experience at MRU. Visit this link to learn more about your student representatives this year, view updated position descriptions of each member of REC, view their position statements and advocacy priorities, and even learn how YOU could apply to become an elected student representative!

Keep your eyes open for updates, statements, and more on these and other upcoming initiatives on social media by following @samrurec on X (formerly Twitter). If you have questions, don’t hesitate to email your representatives at