The SU Survey, upcoming General Election, and continued advocacy efforts

The SU Survey, upcoming General Election, and continued advocacy efforts 150 150 Gene Baines

Hello, UCalgary, and welcome back to the winter semester.

In case we haven’t met yet, I’m Nicole Schmidt – your Students’ Union President. I know that it has been an incredibly challenging start to the semester for students, so I have a few updates for you as you ease back into classes as well as updates on ongoing Students’ Union advocacy initiatives for the winter semester.

Take the SU Survey

First up – Take the annual SU Survey now and enter to win one of ten $100 gift cards. It’s your chance to voice your thoughts on the SU’s programs, services, and businesses – we want to make them even better, but we can’t do it without your help. Past survey data has influenced everything from payment options at the Stör to funding for new study spaces. It only takes 10 minutes – you can take the survey now.

Run in the SU General Election

Have you ever thought about taking on a leadership role at the SU? The SU General Election is coming soon. Official nomination packages will be available at the end of the month – but in the meantime, we’re regularly updating our election webpages with important information and deadlines. Want the details about what it’s like to campaign? Need insight into the life of an SLC member? You are welcome to check out our tip sheets, make an appointment with our CRO, or attend one of our Pre-Election Workshops from Jan. 26-28.

SU Clubs

Normally this week would have been the second Clubs Week of the year, and unfortunately, with classes online and so few people on campus, we’ve had to cancel this event. However, clubs are still active, and I would encourage you to check out the full clubs list if you are looking for something new to join. If you are a club leader and want some help getting the word out about your events, we are happy to help! Make sure to connect with @SUUofCClubs on Instagram. And one more quick note for Clubs – we are accepting nominations for Club Awards now until Feb. 22. Help us recognize excellence in team leadership, service, sustainable practices, advocacy, and innovation. Nomination forms can be found here.

Advocacy Notes

Moving into this new semester, we have a number of ongoing advocacy initiatives. We are requesting that the university notify students about the remainder of the winter semester as soon as possible, provide students with additional financial supports in light of the pandemic, and develop a contingency plan for the delivery format of future exams and classes.

Mac Hall

Finally, if you are on campus this month, Mac Hall remains open, including Bound and Copied, the Stör, and all your favourites in the food court.

Stay safe, UCalgary. I’ll be back with another update in the coming weeks.



Nicole Schmidt
President, Students’ Union

Stay up to date by following the SU on social media, @SUUofC.

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Excellent teachers, SU election candidates, and the Volunteer Tax Program

Excellent teachers, SU election candidates, and the Volunteer Tax Program 150 150 Gene Baines

Hello, UCalgary – I hope you are enjoying your well-deserved time off. I’ve got a few quick reminders for you as we near the end of the month.

Teaching Excellence Awards: nominations are due this Friday

If your professor or TA has helped make this semester great, it might be time to nominate them for an SU Teaching Excellence Award! I know that there are so many deserving instructors this semester, and you can help us recognize them by filling out a quick online form. The deadline for nominations is this Friday, Feb. 25, so please make some time this week to let us know who they are, and what makes them so excellent.

Health Measures Survey: ends Friday at 12 p.m.

With students returning to in-person learning, the SU has been advocating for health measures like vaccination and masking to remain in place for the remainder of the semester. We want to hear what you think. Please fill out this quick survey on campus health measures.

SU General Election: get to know your candidates

This is the time of year that you get to select who represents you at the SU. Check out all the candidate platforms to learn about who is running, and watch one or more of the candidate forums next week to see them in action. The forums for the presidential and vice presidential candidates will be streamed on Instagram @SUUofC beginning March 1. Voting days are up next: March 8 – 10 in your student centre (

More SU General Election: Health and Dental Plan Referendum

The SU’s General Election ballot will have three referenda questions that will determine the future of the Student Health and Dental Plan. In short, the prices students pay for their health and dental coverage has remained the same for almost 30 years, while costs have continued to increase. Students will vote to determine whether or not the cost of the plan should be increased, considering the impact this will have on coverage. There is a lot more to know before you vote, so please check out the Health and Dental Referendum FAQs on our website.

Student staff positions available

We’re hiring! The SU is looking for a variety of part-time positions for the spring/summer and for next fall. Are you looking for real world experience in planning events, administrative or volunteer leadership experience, or social media marketing? See all the opportunities on our website.

The Volunteer Tax Program opens next week

Finally, the Volunteer Tax Program clinic is back on campus this year. The clinic will open on Monday, Feb. 28 to prepare your tax return for free. Space is limited – you can book your appointment now through our website.

Good luck on your second round of midterms – I’ll be in touch soon!

All the best,
Nicole Schmidt, President
The Students’ Union

Stay up to date by following the SU on social media, @SUUofC.

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Advocacy Update – September 2021

Advocacy Update – September 2021 150 150 Michael Brown

There was a lot going on in September. It was great to welcome students back to campus and the SU was busy advocating for you and making sure everyone was safe as classes resumed.

First, the SU is continuing its advocacy with regard to the last-minute course changes imposed by the university and resulting steep financial costs students unnecessarily incurred as a result. The university moved hundreds of courses online at the discretion of instructors in late August and early September. We heard from hundreds of students who had most or all of their classes move online suddenly. The SU was not consulted on this decision at all.

Many affected students incurred travel, accommodation, or parking costs under the assumption that the university would honour the course delivery type students registered for. We have heard from international students who have spent up to $5,000 to be here and domestic students who have spent around $3,000. Now they get to learn from a laptop.

Unfortunately, the university hasn’t stepped up to fix the problem they created. The bursary they announced covered only $500 or $1000 of costs and only included a fraction of students who had their courses changed. The university has refused to meet with the SU on this topic and we are continuing to demand a meeting. Our demand is that the university fully reimburse travel and accommodation expenses for students for course changes announced to after the August 20th deadline. We will keep you up to date as this progresses.

Next, the SU won a delay to the university’s Exceptional Tuition Increases in Medicine and Engineering. The university was asked to consult with students again since they only consulted after classes had finished for the summer. The consultations are better this time but it remains unclear how student feedback has changed the proposed increases. The tuition increases will go to the Board of Governors on October 22.

The SU hosted a Mayoral candidates forum on September 23rd and it was quite the event. CBC News host Rob Brown moderated the nine invited candidates who discussed issues like campus voting, transit, downtown revitalization and more. If you haven’t decided who to vote for yet, you can listen to the debate on the SU website.

Health and Dental Plan changes, Elections, and the Fall Harvest Food Drive

Health and Dental Plan changes, Elections, and the Fall Harvest Food Drive 150 150 Gene Baines

Hello UCalgary,

I hope you are settling in after the first month of classes. It’s been busy semester already – here are some quick updates.

Municipal Election News

Advance polls are here on campus Oct. 4 – 5. Visit the Dining Centre from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and cast your vote for city council and school board members, select senate nominees, and vote on adding fluoride to our water. There will also be referendum questions about equalization payments and Daylight-Saving Time.

Undecided about the race for mayor? Check out the recording of our Mayoral Forum.

And there’s still time to pledge to vote – agree to receive text and email updates from us, and you will be entered to win some amazing prizes like $250 at the campus bookstore or $100 at the Den! Updates from us will include fun and informative election events, including reminders of when and where you can vote on-campus. Sign up at

SU By-Election and Health and Dental Plebiscite Voting Days: Oct. 13 – 15

We are running our own By-Election to fill vacancies for Faculty Reps in Medicine, Business, and Social Work, as well as a Senate Student-at-Large seat. We will also be asking three important plebiscite questions on the future of the SU Health and Dental Plan. These are important questions – we need you to let us know what the future plan should look like in terms of student needs, budgets, and priorities. Learn more and preview the plebiscite questions here.

You will be able to vote online through your myUCalgary student centre on Oct. 13, 14, and 15.

Fall Harvest Food Drive

October is here, and so is our Fall Harvest Food Drive, and we’re asking for your help to secure the SU Campus Food Bank for the fall and winter months. We have a wish list of most-needed items on our website, or an easy way to make a monetary donation on our GoFundMe page.

Teaching Excellence Nominations

Do you have a professor that makes your class extraordinary – whether in person or online? Has an instructor or TA gone the extra mile this semester to keep the quality of their courses high? You should nominate them for a Teaching Excellence Award! It’s really easy: just complete the short online form. All nominations for your Fall 2020 profs/TAs must be received by October 22. 

Quality Money Proposals

The SU knows that the best ideas for projects or services that enhance the quality of student life on campus come directly from students. In the past, we’ve funded brilliant ideas like club scholarships, sexual violence prevention programming, Indigenous programming, and peer-assisted study sessions. If you’ve got a big idea, apply for an SU Quality Money grant and make it a reality. The deadline is November 26 – start your application today!

Are you an undergraduate researcher?

Have you spent some time in the lab and made a unique discovery? Will your critical analysis lead to positive social change? Share your accomplishments at the Undergraduate Research Symposium for the chance to win a scholarship. Abstracts are due Oct. 8 at 4:00 p.m. For more information or to submit an abstract, visit our website.

COVID-related academic accommodations and C/G option

I know this year is a challenge for all of us, and uniquely challenging for students. So I just wanted to remind you about a few things that might help. First, the U of C has developed a centralized website where students can find information about COVID-related academic accommodations.

I also wanted to remind you that, as a result of SU advocacy, you have the option to choose a C/G (Credit Granted) on a course, rather than a letter grade. There will be restrictions in place for some faculties. The rules are here – it’s something to keep in mind if you have a course that might otherwise negatively impact your GPA.

I’ll be back with another email soon – there is always lots to share. In the meantime, the best way to stay up to date is to follow the SU on social media, @SUUofC.

All the best,

Nicole Schmidt
President, Students’ Union

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Return to Campus – Fall 2021

Return to Campus – Fall 2021 150 150 Gene Baines

The SU has been inundated with student complaints over the last several days from students who have had their courses moved online at the last-minute, just two weeks prior to classes starting. The SU was not consulted by the university ahead of this decision.

The number of complaints we have received is unprecedented and I want to let you know what the SU is doing and what you can do to let the university know your concerns.

First, we want to hear from you. Thank you to all those who emailed the SU or sent us messages on social media. If your courses have changed please reach out to us and let us know. Please email with your concerns. Please include details like which and how many courses have changed for you.

If you have spent money to travel to Calgary, put a damage deposit down on a place, paid rent, or even just bought a parking spot on campus, we want to hear from you. We also want to hear from you about how you feel generally about this last-minute change by the university.

Also, we recognize that not all students feel the same way about this issue. As such, if you are happy with having your courses moved online we want to hear from you too. Please tell why this works better for you.

Finally, the SU is calling on the university to reverse the decision to allow instructors to change how classes are delivered. Our expectation is that the university honour what students signed-up for. Failing that, we believe that the university should reimburse students for all expenses incurred while preparing to return to in-person learning. You, as students, paid these expenses in good faith expecting that your choice to learn online or in-person would be honoured and respected.

The university has let you down and we are stepping up to fight for you.


Nicole Schmidt, President
The Students’ Union

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A Guide to Great Study Spots around the UCalgary Campus

A Guide to Great Study Spots around the UCalgary Campus 1300 500 Gene Baines

By: Rafael Sanguinetti

This Fall, both first-year and second-year students will be joining their first-year counterparts in experiencing the act of physically attending classes for the first time in their post-secondary careers. Adjusting to this new environment is no simple feat; the University’s Main Campus alone spans over 200 hectares which, according to the institution, is bigger than Calgary’s own downtown.

With such a huge space, along with the University’s four additional campuses, finding a good place to study can be a difficult, and often daunting, task. Fortunately, this guide, while not exhaustive, is here to provide some well-known study locations throughout the facility that can be used while waiting in between classes or cramming before a major exam.

The Taylor Family Digital Library (TFDL)

TFDL is arguably the University’s main library, and it sits right at the centre of the Main Campus location, making TFDL an ideal study location for students that want to be relatively close to any of the buildings on the campus. The library has six floors: the bottom three floors are usually quite busy and are often used by students working in group assignments or meeting with friends in between classes, while the top three floors are dedicated exclusively to students who prefer to study in a quiet (and we mean quiet) environment. Overall, TFDL is the go-to place to study for anyone on Main Campus; however, there are other great spots for when this library is too busy or too far from your next class.

Bennett Jones Law Library

The Law Library is a great spot for students who prefer a more traditional library vibe over TFDL’s more modern environment. Located in Murray Fraser Hall by the south side of the campus, the Law Library is also convenient for students with classes near Craigie Hall, Professional Faculties, or the Education buildings. While popular among law students, all undergraduate students are welcome to use the library for their own studying needs.

Energy Environment Experiential Learning (EEEL)

For students with classes on the north side of the campus, including the Engineering building, ICT, Environmental Sciences, and Mathematical Sciences; EEEL can be a great study spot. EEEL is home to many of the University’s science laboratories, where students conduct experiments for their physics, chemistry, and biology classes, among others. Expect to see a lot of students sporting white lab coats!

The Atrium – Administration Building

The Administration Building is home to one of the most unique—and most popular—study spaces on the campus: the Atrium. This greenhouse-style space is great for students who either want to relax or study in a lively environment. This spot is particularly liked during the winter as it can get quite hot and humid! The Atrium is located on the east side of the campus, which is near Professional Faculties, Social Sciences, Science Theatres, Science A, and the University’s LRT station.

Kinesiology Buildings

Located on the Campus’s west side, the Kinesiology Buildings have several convenient areas for studying uses. Most notably, the atrium in Kinesiology Building B is a popular spot. The Kinesiology Buildings contain many of the University’s athletic facilities, including the Fitness Centre, the Jack Simpson Gym, and the Outdoor Centre, and the Aquatics Centre, among others. The Kinesiology Buildings are also connected to the Olympic Oval, MacEwan Student Centre, and Hotel Alma.

Health Sciences Library and Feasby Lounge – Foothills Campus

Finally, even for students who spend lots of time at the Foothills Campus, there are two excellent study spots at the Cumming School of Medicine! Firstly, the Health Sciences Library, like TFDL, is a general and popular go-to spot for students. Containing several work desks, group spaces, and quiet areas, the Health Sciences Library is perfect for loud group projects or focused studying. Secondly, the Feasby Lounge is a great place for students to socialize, study, or eat. The Lounge contains several desks for work, as well as table games like ping-pong, foosball, and pool for leisure breaks while studying.

There you have it, a list of six study spots to check out in the upcoming semester. Because this list is not comprehensive, there are several more study spots around the University that may be more convenient for different styles of studying. In fact, the Students’ Union has also compiled a map of several student-approved study spaces, which can be accessed on our website. As students explore the campus grounds starting in Fall 2021, making note of potential study spaces is strongly encouraged. Asking senior students about their preferred study spots may also be helpful.

As always, the Students’ Union Representatives are happy to address any further questions or concerns. Good luck in the upcoming school year and happy studying!

SU Survey: U of C Bookstore Privatization

SU Survey: U of C Bookstore Privatization 150 150 Gene Baines

Hello UCalgary,

President Frank here, asking for your input on the issue of campus bookstore privatization.

The University of Calgary is currently considering the privatization of operations for the campus bookstore. Currently, the campus bookstore is run by the University and is not a for-profit enterprise. However, the University has now approached Follett, an American company that runs many campus bookstores across North America under a for-profit model. No contract has been signed at this time. Regardless of whether this company is brought onto campus or not, changing the business model of the campus bookstore will impact students.

To date, the University of Calgary has made several verbal assurances: that students will not be forced to purchase from the bookstore, textbook markups will not increase, and that students will still be able to purchase second-hand books from Bound & Copied, for example. We will be fighting to have these assurances written in enforceable contracts, and although we have many concerns, these are nonetheless positive steps that have resulted directly from the advocacy of your SU. However, we the SU still have many other concerns related to the privatization of bookstore operations, such as the fate of student employees, a decrease in the quality of service, or other increases in costs.

As the SU continues to advocate for the best interests of undergraduate students, we wanted to better understand student perspectives on the bookstore issue. Please take five minutes to fill out this survey to help the SU better represent student perspectives through advocacy efforts on campus. The survey will be open until 4:30 p.m., Friday, May 7.

Thank you,

Frank Finley

[button link=”″]Begin Survey[/button]

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SU Club Award Winners

SU Club Award Winners 150 150 Gene Baines

Hello UCalgary,

As the semester winds down, we celebrate the winners of our annual Club Awards. These awards honour clubs that have raised the bar in categories like advocacy, sustainability, and engagement. We also introduced a brand new Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) award. This year’s winning clubs are:

  • Advocacy Award – Winner: Man-Up for Mental Health
  • Future Alumni Network’s SU Club Award for Alumni Engagement – Winner: Haskayne Consulting Club
  • Best New Club – Winner: American Sign Language Club
  • Campus Pride Award – Winner: Students Against Domestic Abuse Association
  • Club of the Year – Winner: Schulich Ignite
  • Collaboration Award – Winner: Global Development Society
  • Community Service Award – Winner: Birthday Wishes
  • Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Award – Winner: Business Pride Club
  • First Year Engagement Award – Winner: Physics and Astronomy Students’ Association
  • Innovation Award – Winner: Autism Awareness Club
  • Leadership Award – Winner: The Mustard Seed, U of C
  • L.O.V.E. Award – Winner: Mental Health Awareness
  • Quality of Education Award – Winner: Information Security Club
  • Student Life Award – Winner: Nigerian Students’ Association
  • Sustainability Award – Winner: Emulating Nature in Innovations

We also awarded $1,000 each to ten outstanding student leaders, through the Eric Lahoda Scholarship.

Check out a video of this year’s winning clubs and learn more about awards criteria here.

Fines-for-Food Success

During the last week of March, we announced a pilot program with UCalgary’s Parking and Transportation Services called “Fines-for-Food”. From March 22 – 29, 50% of all U of C parking fines collected were redirected to the SU Campus Food Bank. This program was a huge success, and we are excited to announce that over $5,500 was raised for the SU Campus Food Bank. Thank you to everyone who participated, and to Parking and Transportation Services for partnering with us on this great program!

Clean out your fall/winter locker
Make sure you clean out your locker by Thursday, April 29 (even if you have a spring locker). If you leave anything behind, you’ll be able to retrieve it at a cost of $10/bag at Bound and Copied. Unclaimed items will be donated to local charities. Please visit our website for more information. If you need a locker for the spring or summer semesters, they’re available on your Student Centre now!

Consign your used textbooks

If you need to get rid of some of those textbooks from your locker, consign them and make some money. Bring your used textbooks to the consignment window at Bound and Copied, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Check out Bound and Copied’s website for more information.

Good luck with your final projects and exams – you’ve got this.

All the best,

Frank Finley,
The Students’ Union

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Advocacy Blog – February 2021

Advocacy Blog – February 2021 150 150 Michael Brown

February was a busy month for SU advocacy culminating with the release of the provincial budget towards the end of the month. Throughout February the SU met with university officials as well as provincial elected officials to advocate for students.

The SU is continuing its work towards a permanent Credit Received (CR) option for students. While the SU has had small advocacy wins with CR options for students in the fall and winter semester, the SU continues to drive towards a permanent CR option. This is relatively commonplace in Canadian universities and we remain committed to getting this over the finish line for the 2021 fall semester.

The SU is also working with UCalgary to support the SU Campus Food Bank. Students who have parking fines to pay may be able to put a portion of payment towards the SU Food Bank. More details to come on this!

Provincially, SU staff and executives worked with our CAUS counterparts from other institutions to protest post-secondary cuts and increased tuition. Students built 300 snow penguins at McDougall Centre since students cannot currently gather in a more traditional protest. The penguins carried signs highlighting stories that the SU and CAUS have heard directly from students. In these stories students highlighted challenges finding work, paying tuition, and supporting their family while going to school. The event was picked up by multiple major media outlets. Check out that story.

In addition, the SU President and VP External met with Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides ahead of the budget and received an update on the Alberta 2030 initiative. While details from the Minister were still scarce, the SU was relieved to learn that university governance will remain with the institution rather than go to a provincial superboard. President Frank Finley and VP External Marley Gillies also called on the Minister to implement some form of summer job program specifically targeted at post-secondary students. Last summer nearly one-third of UCalgary students surveyed were unable to find summer employment while another 12% had summer opportunities cancelled due to the pandemic.

Lastly, the SU responded to the provincial budget released on February 25. The asks the SU put forward to government were that student jobs program, a reversal or at least a stop to cuts, continuing funding for student mental health, and to re-implement the tuition tax credit. The UCP government did none of these things.

The cuts to UCalgary continue, there is no student job program, and, while the Minister says the mental health funding continued, he was unable to tell student leaders how much money was earmarked and for how long. You can read our news release here but as the release says “silver linings in the budget were non-existent.” The SU was again successful in speaking to media about the budget and its student impact. You can see some of those stories here.

First year students… have you voted yet?

First year students… have you voted yet? 150 150 Gene Baines

Hello first years!

Voting days are here, and the polls are open. I know for many of you, this will be your first ever SU Election. So here is a quick version of what you need to know.

Election for what?

The SU holds an election every March to determine who will be your student leaders for the next cycle (from May until next April, 2022).

Why should I bother voting?

I get it – you’re asking, “what does the SU even do?” Well, believe it or not, the SU has a profound impact on your student experience. We operate Mac Hall, advocate against unfair tuition increases, and host hundreds of events and programs each year.

Just in the last few weeks, your current SU exec successfully advocated for a CR/F option for your winter grades, and worked with our partner schools from across the province to apply public pressure through media to the Alberta government to freeze cuts to post-secondary education.

Ok you convinced me… how do I vote?

It’s so easy, I promise. First, check out all the candidates’ platforms here to see who is running and what matters to them. Then log into your Student Centre at to cast your vote! You can literally vote from anywhere, right up until Thursday at 4 p.m.

The election results will be announced on Thursday evening on the SU’s social media, so make sure you follow us @SUUofC.


All the best,

Frank Finley,
President, Students’ Union

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