CASA comes to STU
The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, an organization that represents STU and 23 other post-secondary institutes at the federal level, was on hand for STUSU’s council Sept. 26 announcing their priorities for the year.
With their members, CASA plans to make a lot of noise for students’ finances, and mental health help and awareness on campus.
“We’re participating in world suicide prevention day with the Mental Health Commission of Canada. We’re doing some research and trying to figure out what is the best way to advocate for mental health on campus.”
Other issues on the top of CASA’s agenda include aboriginal education, increasing accessibility and making travel easier for international students, open access to federal research, and providing a voice for students in discussions with Canada Student Loans.
“At the end of the day it’s that we want more students to be able to access post-secondary education – Less rules in place. No student shouldn’t be able to go to school,” Champagne said.
CASA says their advocacy helped Canada Student Loans to take a step in the right direction.
New for this school year, students who declare income while at school are now able to keep the first $100 they make, with no deduction from their loan. This is called the in-study work exemption, and is double what was allowed last year.
The federal advocacy team is working on a campaign to ensure more steps are taken. One possibility being discussed is to make all part-time income not be taken out of a student’s loan.
The team’s membership, including STUSU president Elizabeth Murphy, will work together at their national advocacy week in late November to focus on what measures to take and how to promote their cause.
“There has been a consensus nationwide that we do want to do a campaign, and we debated whether to do something on student mental health or student financial aid, and we figured that student financial aid is something everyone can get behind,” Murphy said.
Murphy said this kind of thinking has made the alliance efficient. Rather than taking stances and focusing on initiatives that are not specific to students, CASA advocates for causes that have wide-spread consensus, like alleviating student debt.
The plan should be revealed in the second semester and will involve all CASA campuses.
“When we have 24 campuses across the country, all doing a campaign at the same time, and we’re issuing multiple media press releases, and engaging MLAs and councillors and MPs, we can really take a stance on an issue,” said Champagne.
New emergency bursaries coordinator
STUSU will vote on a motion to officially make Michael Haley their emergency bursaries coordinator at council this week.
Previously, a committee of voting STUSU members reviewed students’ emergency bursary applications.
Haley had already been hired by STUSU in May. The passage of this will only serve to make his position official. He will take over heading the emergency bursaries committee from STUSU’s student advocate, Johna Spencer, who is also on STUSU’s payroll.
No changes to STUSU’s 2013-2014 budget will be made.
By adding an official coordinator for the emergency bursaries committee, Spencer will be allowed to focus on his role as a liaison between STU, STUSU and the students facing a wide variety of problems with the institutions.
Haley will soon be the man to speak to in regards to emergency bursaries.
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