Hello MRU students,
We hope you had a memorable and safe summer! While you were enjoying the heat, 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.
This year’s REC team is (from left to right):
- Vice-President Student Affairs Anisa Tilston (she/they)
- Vice-President External Prabhjit Grewal (they/them)
- Vice-President Academic Tala Abu Hayyaneh (she/her)
- President Joseph Nguyen (he/him)
Keep reading to hear what your team has been up to since the start of their terms!
Position Statements for 2023-2024
Every summer, REC updates its position statements, which represent the stances that your student representatives are advocating for on behalf of all MRU credit students. Take a look at the current version of the position statements here.
Joseph expressed his perspective to Mount Royal on the importance of standardizing student feedback regarding curriculum changes. This reflects our commitment to ensuring that student voices play a central role in shaping the educational experience at MRU.
Tala’s efforts to address the rising trend of access code requirements through collaborative awareness campaigns demonstrate our dedication to enhancing academic resources.
Joseph spoke to MRU about the importance of letting students know that when applying for awards, their grades will not be rounded up. We understand that there are reasons for why grades are not rounded, but students must be clearly told this before putting in the work of applying.
Tala spoke with MRU about extending the withdrawal deadline permanently to the last day of the semester. Key representatives at MRU have expressed interest in collaborating on this initiative in the coming year.
Tala advocated for MRU to enhance the academic advising services that students receive, suggesting that MRU employ AI technologies such as virtual assistants. She spoke about the correlation between academic advising and the rate of D/F/W grades increasing over the last year. These numbers are projected to continue increasing, with the relationship between the two being tied to the lack of support to students entering MRU.
Collaborating for Open Education Resources
Tala’s engagement with the Open Education Resources (OER) Working Group highlights our commitment to enhancing educational resources for students and making them more affordable.
Further Elected Roles/Committees
Prabhjit has been elected to significant positions within student advocacy groups, including the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations’ (CASA) Advocacy Committee, Vice-Chair of the Council of Alberta University Students (CAUS), and Vice-Chair of the Calgary Student Alliance (CSA). These roles empower Prabhjit to advocate for student interests at various levels of representation.
Joseph’s appointment to the MRU Board’s Governance and Nominating Committee marks a historic milestone for SAMRU, reinforcing our dedication to effective governance and student representation.
Recognizing Student Advocates
MRU’s President initiated a certificate of recognition for student volunteers who serve on the General Faculties Council (GFC). This acknowledgement reflects the value of their contributions in advocating for students’ interests and volunteering their time.
Advocacy for Parking Solutions
At an advocacy meeting with MRU’s Director of Business Services, Tala proposed the installation of solar panel ceilings over parking lots A and B, aligning with MRU’s sustainability goals. The proposal was well-received, acknowledging the potential for long-term cost reduction and solar power generation.
Tala also advocated for several improvements in MRU’s parking policies, including a towing grace period during finals, clarity on Flex Passes, and the inclusion of debit card payment options. These changes aim to ease the parking experience for students.
Prabhjit successfully advocated for the implementation of in-person payment options for parking tickets, ensuring that students can conveniently settle their parking violations without being solely reliant on online processes.
Better bus service to MRU
Since last year, REC has been advocating to MRU and Calgary Transit to improve the frequency of the MAX Yellow, which is the main bus route connecting MRU to downtown. The bus is notorious for being overcrowded and leaving students at the stop to wait for the next one. Joseph continued that advocacy over the summer and we are pleased to see Calgary Transit drastically increase the number of buses that will be on the route. Buses will now run every 11 minutes, instead of every 19 minutes, during the morning and afternoon rush.
Gender-Based Violence Advocacy
Anisa’s involvement in the Gender-Based Violence Policy Committee and participation in discussions on the needs of international students further underscores our commitment to diverse student interests.
Prabhjit attended a full-day conference with the Ministry of Advanced Education where they asked questions of the Minister. Notably, Prabhjit requested that the Minister strike a working group with student representation to address the results of a recently released gender-based violence report. The Minister responded that it was too early to commit to any next steps. REC is making it a priority this year to push the government to take action. You can express your support here.
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI)
Anisa met with MRU’s office of EDI to seek out information about how MRU provides EDI training to staff, faculty, and students in order to ensure that it was meeting student needs. Anisa also advocated for the EDI office to do more to include students in the EDI office’s events and advocated for the EDI office to create programming for International Day for Persons with Disabilities (IDPD).
Prabhjit’s collaboration with the Iniskim Centre highlights our commitment to building partnerships that support Indigenous student representation and engagement. We look to build on this partnership this year.
Strengthening Alumni Connections
Tala’s attendance at the MRU Chair’s BBQ Dinner allowed for meaningful connections with MRU stakeholders, donors, and alumni, reinforcing our commitment to fostering relationships that benefit students.
Advocacy for Mental Health Services
Anisa’s discussions with MRU’s Chair of Counselling emphasize the need for prompt attention to long counselling appointment waiting times, ensuring students have timely access to mental health support.
Prabhjit met with provincial government officials to advocate for improved mental health services and solutions for students.
Prabhjit attended many Calgary Stampede events to connect with government officials. This proved very beneficial, allowing them to make key connections with elected officials from both the governing UCP and opposition NDP.
Prabhjit’s discussions with Nick Kalynchuk, 2SLGBTQIA+ advisor for the Premier, emphasize our ongoing efforts to advocate for better representation and support for 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals in policies and events.
Tala attended the Advanced Education Minister’s Reception and advocated for incentivizing graduate retention in Alberta, affordable education, and opportunities for international students.
Prabhjit discussed with Samir Kayande, MLA for MRU’s riding, the importance of increased financial support, decreased tuition burden, and accessible housing options for students.
Prabhjit met with the NDP MLA for Calgary-Falconridge and advocated for solutions to issues related to Gender Based Violence (GBV), mental health, and housing. Specifically, that the Opposition NDP pressures the government to create a culture of consent on campuses and to create external partnerships with mental health and campus mental health clinics so students have other quicker options to access mental health. Prabhjit also invited the MLA to support our housing advocacy at City Council in September.
Prabhjit had meetings with City Councillor Courtney Wallcot to collaborate on solutions to the housing crisis through joint media efforts.
Joseph met with MRU’s Director for Residence Services, asking that Residence communicates frequently with students on the housing waitlist to ease anxiety. Joseph also advocated that MRU should collaborate with the government and developers to build affordable and safe on- and off-campus housing.
Enhancing Financial Assistance Options for Students
Joseph’s advocacy for an opt-out option for Canada student loans and reduction of barriers to social worker access exemplifies our commitment to supporting students’ unique financial situations.
Joseph has pushed for student loans to match the current cost of living, showcasing our dedication to advocating for students’ financial well-being.
At the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations’ (CASA) Policy and Strategy Conference, Prabhjit pushed for greater accessibility to financial aid information for low-income parents through media campaigns.
Prabhjit advocated to Technology Alberta to build better relationships with MRU so that students can gain work-integrated learning opportunities in technology fields.
Thanks for reading!
We, your REC members, are employed in our respective roles full-time over twelve months, which means that every day is full of advocacy and representation happening behind the scenes dedicated to improving your student experience at MRU. You can visit this link to learn more about your four REC members this year, view updated position descriptions of each member of REC, as well as learn how to potentially become an elected student representative yourself!
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 us at firstname.lastname@example.org.