April was a busy month on the advocacy front for the SU. The Alberta 2030 initiative was released, the new executive team began their orientations to be able to hit the ground running, the SU continued to push the provincial government on the issue of a poor job market for students, and the SU continues its advocacy and campaign on the potential privatization of the campus bookstore.
The SU met twice with Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides to discuss Alberta 2030 and other issue of relevance to students. Alberta 2030 was released at the end of April. Thanks to SU advocacy and advocacy through CAUS, the final product was a watered down version from what was expected early in the UCP term. The final Alberta 2030 initiative remains a net negative for students and the SU is remaining vigilant on how the UCP government implement it. You can read the SU’s news release on Alberta 2030 here.
In mid-April the SU put out a news release on the lack of a student job program from the province. The UCP government cancelled that Summer Temporary Employment Program (STEP) in 2019. STEP provided a wage subsidy to employers to encourage them to hire students for the summer months. The news release garnered a lot of attention over the following two weeks. The government responded by saying the Jobs Now program announced in the budget, along with Mitacs, will help get students employed. Unfortunately, Jobs now isn’t creating any jobs now for students and Mitacs is largely focused on graduate students. The SU will continue to push the government to better support students.
Finally, the SU has put out a survey on the potential privatization of bookstore operations by the university. The SU is very concerned about a potential plan to outsource and privatize operations of the campus bookstore to Follett or to any private company. Universities who have done this have seen textbook costs rise and agreements rarely have any student benefit. The survey closed on May 7 and results will be compiled and released. Stay tuned as we continue to work hard on this issue.
As we move into the summer months, our advocacy efforts will continue and we will be sure to keep all students up to date.