I just wanted to update you all on some things that have been going on at AUSU that are related to my position of VP External and Student Affairs. We have had some new initiatives come out and are being worked on within the last few months that are exciting.
Many of them involve student engagement. I think that is definitely an important part for everyone, because we don’t get to interact with each other the same way that you would attending a brick-and-mortar university.
The first new way that AUSU is trying to build engagement is with Facebook Live sessions. Since we work online, we wanted to interact with everyone in a different way, but online. What we are doing is starting each session with a topic, and discussing it throughout the session. The topics have been planned with interaction in mind, so we are including questions and topics that students can comment on during the live video and we’ll respond to those. We are also giving out a free swag pack to one member at random who interacted with our session!
So far we have talked about favourite courses, study tips, work life balance, and on-goings of AUSU council. There has been a good number of people interacting, and we only hope that more and more students will join us in our next ones.
Another way that we continue to build student engagement is with meet-and-greets. Since we do not see each other in classes or campus, we know it’s important to meet occasionally in person. This is a great way to talk about what courses you have taken, meet other people that are in the same program, and in general, talk about the experience of being a student at AU. In the past year, we have had meet and greets in Athabasca and Edmonton. Our next one is coming up soon and will be in Ottawa. We are always looking forward to meeting the students attending the university and this is a great way we get to meet everyone. You can find details of the Ottawa meet & greet online here. I’ll be looking forward to seeing all of you who will be in Ottawa!
One more way to foster student engagement that we are currently working on is our student mailout initiative. This is something that the AUSU Member Engagement and Communications Committee wanted to implement to be able to better orient new students that come to AU. After being a student for a couple months, we will be sending out a package that will include some information about AUSU and the services we can offer you, as well as some things that you may find useful being a student. This project is still a work in progress, but look towards it being implemented in the new year.
On the other side of my portfolio, I have been working on some advocacy work that is important to all students. This month, I will be attending the Advocacy Week Conference in Ottawa with the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA), of whom we are a member of. At this conference, we will be meeting with Members of Parliament, Senators, and other influential decision-makers to talk about student issues. The subjects covered in our meetings will reflect the following theme areas: financial barriers to post-secondary education, health and wellness, educational materials, Indigenous students, and international students. This will be important for all students as we all may experience issues that come up in some of these topics. I am looking forward to this conference, and am hoping it will make a difference and result in a good outcome for students.
Thanks for reading and I look forward to chatting with some you in Ottawa!
VP External and Student Affairs