Tag Archives: ULSU

Students Union elections, gone and back again.

The Students’ Union (ULSU) and Organization of Residence Students (ORS) election finished up with a similar air of nonchalance as it started with. Despite a couple heavily contested positions, this year’s election for both the ULSU and ORS was quieter than in years past, causing worry about voter turnout and voter apathy. Despite the number of positions without candidates, voter turn out was as high as it was last year, at 21% for the general student body and in the upper sixtieth percentile for students living on-campus.

The race for ORS between former VP Aperture Park, Kyle Hammod, and K3 Residence Advisor, Karen Ogilvie, saw Hammod win handily with a 51 vote lead, garnering 205 votes. VP Aperture was acclaimed by current VP University Hall, Matt Racine with 332 votes; and Timothy Webster was elected VP University Hall with 210 votes.

ULSU Arts and Science representatives saw a heavily contested race, with ten people running for six positions. Lisa Rodych (545 votes), Cole Scheider (537 votes), Zack Moline (459 votes), Shane Groarke (419 votes), Tyrell DeSilva (366 votes), and Andrew Williams (330 votes) took the six positions. With two former GA members, three residence students, and a Zoo staff member, this will be a GA populated by representatives who have been active in U of L student life.

Both Keith McLaughlin and Allan Hall won by acclamation, taking VP Academic, and VP Administration respectfully. McLaughlin took 1234 votes, with 265 votes going to the no vote. Hall took 1228 votes, with 280 votes going to the no vote. This can be deceiving, as the no vote is generated either from a voter clicking no, or not clicking anything at all. VP Internal was without a candidate.

Taz Kassam won Presidency with 829 votes, 54% of the total vote share. Michael Solberg received 545 votes. The no vote was at 8% for the options presented for Presidency.

The Lethbridge Public Interest Research group board election happened co-currently with the ULSU and ORS elections, and all seven nominees were acclaimed for the seven positions available. Your student funded LPIRG board next year is Keith McLaughlin, Alex Masse, Courtnay Sopko, Kristina Larkin, Thomas Fox, Nicole LaLonde, and Kelti Boissnneault.

Due to the initial lack of interest in the ULSU general election, there will be a much needed by-election running March 23rd to 25th. Nominations close Thursday of this week at 3 p.m., and campaigning will start Sunday, March 14th at noon. The Town Hall for all positions will by held March 18th at noon on the Atrium of UHall, and the Executive debate will be at noon, the following day. The only executive position in this by-election will be VP Internal, and here’s hoping to a lively debate between two, four, maybe even six candidates.

The positions left unfilled by the general election are VP Internal, Undergraduate Board of Governors Rep, Education Rep, Management Rep, Health Sciences Rep, Fine Arts Rep, International Student Rep, and First Nations, Métis, Inuit Rep. For the purposes of this by-election, the restriction of having a clean financial record with the U of L has been lifted, and there is nothing within the current ULSU by-laws that prevent a candidate who ran, and lost in the previous election from running for a new position. It is also worth noting that candidates do not have to be from the faculty they are running for election in.

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Student engangement loses its sex appeal

Student engagement is the no longer the two sexiest words in post-secondary vernacular. All too often bandied about as a reason to do this or that, to spend this money or not spend any at all, the idea behind ‘student engagement’ has become almost meaningless. With students expected to pull A’s, work part time to support their academic career, maintain a semblance of a social life, and get involved in school activities it is no wonder that dark shadows grace many an eye and stress is palpable in the hallways.

At an institution, Students’ Unions are based around the very idea of an active and engaged student body and without such, these bottom up organizations would be fairly inconsequential. It is no wonder then that our very own Students’ Union, the ULSU, constantly fights the good fight, proving that our UofL students are active and responsive. At the very least, page twelve of The Meliorist proves that there is somewhat of a Chuck Norris loving – classmate call out – disgruntled roommate student community here.

Recently, there have been grumblings about newly placed barriers the University administration and the various departments within have put up to discourage club activity on campus and over all students ‘good times’. There have been significant changes in the attitudes the ULSU has taken regarding clubs and their vigilance to ensure that rules and regulations are being followed. Observing the number of events and the outstanding attendance for club activities, this is not acting as a deterrent to event organizers.

Speaking to Alex Masse, Vice President Academic for the ULSU, he commented on club restrictions, “Everyone at the SU thinks that clubs should be able to go out and have dinner at a restaurant, or help promote a concert, for example like the Headbangers want to do. Everyone wants to make it happen, but it’s on our books that it can’t happen.”

Student events have been increasing by both the ULSU and clubs at large. As well, events and speakers being brought in by the University of Lethbridge to engage students and community members at a more visceral level, an education outside of the classroom, continue to be of excellent quality and well attended.

Student engagement is not a one sided issue. It is not just a matter of students not caring, or not being interested in exploring new idea’s and paradigms. In fact, to believe in true student apathy is a disregard for the sacrifice students make to continue their education at a post-secondary institution.

The reality is, students are no longer just students. Students hold part-time jobs alongside attending full time classes. Financial restrictions place a greater emphasis on success in academics as well as time spent working to ensure rent is paid, food can be eaten, and tuition is forked over.

Tuition in Alberta continues to rise, worrying many that it will soon reach unaffordable rates. Albertan students now pay the third highest tuition in the country. A province that can afford to promise two billion to a green washing initiative sadly does not prioritize education to the same extent.

Those who are involved, especially those who work to advocate changes to post-secondary education, understand the pressures many students are under. Masse, “I do see where students are coming from when they do come across as being disengaged. Quite frankly, we are dealing with a campus where so many people are spending so many of their waking hours just trying to do well in school and then dedicating the rest to work. I don’t think that it is so much that students don’t want to be engaged, I think that haven’t bothered to care because they are already hurting from all the other burdens placed on them, because of the amount of actual paid employment students need in order to get through a degree without having a crippling amount of debt. It’s really hard to find the time to come out to hear such and such person speak about whatever topic, regardless oh how important it is.”

Students are engaged, and they do care. The continuous efforts being put into their academics and into ensuring they are financially stable enough to remain in post-secondary education demonstrates that. It is our institutions and our governments that need to prove to students that they also care, that the work and effort is noticed. Lowering tuition rates, ensuring there is adequate on campus housing, and fiscally prioritizing funding to post-secondary education will have a lasting impact on students and on their communities. Students will give back in volunteer time, in student engagement, and in making this campus a better and more vibrant community for all.

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My one night for Homeless

Tonight I will be snuggling in tight with the five students who are sleeping outside for a week to raise awareness about homelessness and money for Wood’s Homes here in Lethbridge.

As much as I would love to have a hot meal and cups of tea all evening brought to me, I am fortunate enough to have access to those things every night. Tonight, please come by the shelter set up outside the ULSU building and bring me nothing but your change. Every little helps, truly it does and the goal this year is $10 000 for Lethbridge and I am really hoping that we as a community can come together to surpass that.

All donations over $20.00 are tax deductable and you can make donations online as well at the 5days.ca website. Myself and my three co-workers will post a blog on the ULSU blog site tomorrow morning about our experince (check it out at ulsu.wordpress.com) and I will hopefully be live tweeting our evening and my morning tomorrow. You can follow the twitter feed at twitter.com/JProssa.

By no means are we in a position to genuinely be able to understand what someone who is truly homeless has to go through as it is not just the physical discomfort but also the emotional and physiological discomfort and torment that goes along with having no place to live and no security. The societal problems overshadow the physical ones and this week is also about combating the stigma that homelessness carries as well as raising funds.

Please give, even if its just a little. The five students will be collecting donations and living outside until 5pm Friday so come by thier shelter with some change and some encouraging words and fight homelessnes.

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Raindrops and roses or: Top Ten reasons that I reveal in fall’s glory!

As September wanes and the leaves drop, ski season is on the foremost of many of you young wiper snapper’s minds. As for myself, I am too busy reveling in the glory and absolute loveliness that is Fall. Lethbridge only gets a brief glimpse into this seasonal young lover mind and I intend to enjoy every lovely morsel that’s available.

Top Ten reasons that fall can make my heart beat faster that an unclapable clap track:

1.       Live shows – For real folks. Everyone knows that summer is music festival season but fall is the time of year where smaller bands are touring for their last vestiges of musical gained income before it gets too cold to risk that tour van on Canada’s highways. As well, the colder it gets, the less evening outside options you have so opting for the warmth and comfort of your local indie venue is an excellent plan.

2.       Warm sweaters and huge, colorful scarves – Fall is the perfect season for us cardigan, boot and scarf lovin’ peeps. So many great options for layering and finding the perfect wool cardigan and huge pashmina can give you more satisfaction than the Top Hat.

3.       Cuddling – Keep those heating bills down (and your carbon emissions lowered!) by finding someone to cuddle with. Cuddling is the greatest form of human contact ever and as an extra bonus, that huge pashmina can work as a great blanket.

4.       Long drives – Southern Alberta is killer for fall aesthetics. Grab some friends, a vehicle and go country driving. The freshly cut fields and crisp leafy smell is amazing this time of year and fall nights offer excellent star viewing.

5.       Long walks – the more sustainable way of appreciating the lovely fall days and nights! Lethbridge has some pretty decent parks which offer lovely walking paths and great opportunities for conversations. A mug of hot cider and a great pair of boots is all you need to enjoy this. Plus, pretty soon it is going to be too cold to be walking for any length of time so jump on it while you can.

6.       Halloween! – This holiday does lend itself to hoochie mama’s dressing up like “slutty” whatever but man o’man is getting a costume actually so much fun. Think outside the box this year and dress like your favorite Watchmen character, or children’s TV show (Jem and the Holograms…amirite?!). There is also going to be a screening of Rocky Horror Picture at The Galt on Halloween night, so get your tyranny on and come out!

7.        Baked Goods – So, baked goods are probably my favorite thing in the world and fall is the perfect season for them. Eating homemade banana bread while walking through a park on a fall afternoon…sigh. Like me and are baking challenged? Get a friend to give you a lesson, or find someone who loves to bake and offer back rubs in exchange for baked goods. Or, just man up, grab some Company’s Coming cookbooks and get to work!

8.       Nights in – Fall offers the most perfect night in. No matter if your curling up with a great book and some Fleetwood Mac or with some good friends and a killer movie (Calgary Film Fest recommendation: Let the Right One In…Swedish vampires…need I say more?) with the wind and rain outside pattering on your window and the warmth and love inside, could you get any happier?

9.       The Coulee’s – This time of year, the Coulee’s and the river bottom becomes stunning. The trees turn a million different colors and since it’s the last ditch effort before it becomes inhabitable, there is a flurry of cute and furry animal activity to watch and enjoy.

10.   ULSU events – Sorry, this is a full on plug but the ULSU has a trillion things happening this fall semester and they’re all pretty cool so please check ‘em out. You’ll probably be pretty stoked when you do and better off for it.

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How many emo kids does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

This week I was finaling and hanging out with wicked student leaders. I am currently gearing up to take my position as official VP of keeping the rest of the ULSU in line. Nah, just kidding. We have staff who are way better at that than me.

This weekend, a bunch of student leader political heads got together to nerd out about federal lobbying and how funny Rob Anders can be. Canmore was lovely and even more so was the pole dancing aficionado from the one and only UBC. Myself, the ULSU’s current and future president and incoming VP Administration bonded like Elmer glue on the ride up. Apparently a four hour car ride also gives ample opportunity to see how many indie/music/misrepresented emo jokes can be made. (I lost count at 28 837…) So, due to my weekend filled with patience testing emo jokes, political mayhem, federal lobbying information and all around nerdy good times:

This week’s web comics: Politics and Music – they’re both funny!

A non web comic notes- just finished the Top Ten Trade from my beloved Alan Moore and loved it. The plot is a little wierd and sometimes a little all over the place and the writing surprised me a bit as this particular trade series is much lighter and a lot less overtly political and radical as Moore’s previous work’s. Still, no complaints and pretty cool to see a lighter and much more humor based side of Moore.

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