Our Story


Originally incorporated on July 16, 1992, the organization became the Athabasca University Students’ Union in 1994. AUSU was the first students’ association in the world devoted to serving the needs of distance education learners. The first AUSU election in September 1992 paved the way for hundreds of student leaders to get involved by representing their peers and advocating for AU students at the institutional, provincial, and federal levels.


AUSU is an independent, student-run organization representing undergraduate students at AU. It serves more than 32,000 members in home-study locations across Canada and internationally. In any given month, our membership averages between 21,000-23,000 active students. AUSU supports students through various online programs, including the AUSU Awards and Bursaries Program, Health & Dental Plan, Virtual Food Assistance Program, and more.

Due to the widespread nature of the membership, AUSU operates as a virtual organization run by staff located in Alberta and Saskatchewan, and directed by an elected council of up to thirteen active AU undergraduate students. Its mandate is to provide AU undergraduate students with advocacy and services, foster the student community, and enhance distance education at AU and around the world.

AUSU has a strong, vibrant, and powerful student voice, and is an important part of the AU community. It is one of the largest student unions in North America. Currently, AUSU represents more than 32,000 AU undergraduates from every province and territory in Canada and countries around the world. It keeps students at the heart of the organization and fosters a strong culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion, ensuring that EDI principles and practices are woven through the fabric of the organization.


AUSU members are AU undergraduate students currently taking any AU undergraduate course. Students pay $4.50 per credit toward a student union membership. Your membership ends on the end date of your course, including extensions or when your final grade is posted. If you purchase a course extension, AUSU extends your membership for free. You need only be in one course to have full membership, though some of our awards have a minimum credit completion requirement.

With membership, students can access all AUSU services, including the Awards & Bursaries Program, LinkedIn Learning, personalized student advocacy, Peer Course Reviews, and the Virtual Food Assistance Program. In addition, an AUSU member in good standing may:

  • attend regular AUSU Council meetings online for free via Zoom;
  • attend and vote at any AUSU election; and
  • run in any AUSU elections for a position on the Student Council.

Please note that AU Graduate Students are represented by the AU Graduate Students’ Association.

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The Athabasca University Students’ Union respectfully acknowledges that our organization is located on Treaty 6 territory, the traditional territory of the Nêhiyaw (Plains Cree), Woodland Cree, Beaver Cree Dene, Saulteaux, Niisitapi, Métis, and Nakota Sioux Peoples. The traditional name of Edmonton, Alberta is amiskwaciy-wâskahikan, meaning Beaver Hills House in Cree. We also recognize that our members span across the lands we now know as Canada and abroad, and we acknowledge and celebrate these Indigenous histories, languages, and cultures. As an organization, AUSU is committed to decolonization, reconciliation, and conciliation efforts, acknowledging that there is much to unlearn. AUSU will continuously strive to build equitable relationships with Indigenous learners at AU, as well as Indigenous members and staff within AUSU, advocate with and for Indigenous learners through consultation, and create spaces that are inclusive, respectful, and equitable.