What a wonderful last couple weeks it has been at the UVSS! Definitely some exciting updates from the campaigns department and much more in store for next semester.
Lobbying on Housing
First, we have continued to meet with Saanich city councilor Fred Haynes and the University of Victoria to discuss a viable solution to the housing crisis in Victoria: allowing universities to build more student housing. Currently the government restricts universities from self-supported capital projects, which restricts their ability to respond to a growing demand. The problem is complex, but we now have the support of the Union of BC Municipalities (all the mayors in BC), the Alliance of BC Students, the Simon Fraser Student Society, the UBC Alma Mater Society, the UVic administration, and the Camosun administration, and are continuing to put pressure on the government to fix this problem. On the 29th I had the pleasure of saying a few kind words about Fred’s leadership on this issue to a room of Saanich community leaders at the Victoria Caledonian Brewery & Distillery (lovely craft beer!).
Meeting with the Minister
On the first of December we continued the conversation about student housing, lobbying the Minister of Advanced Education about the housing problem and four other issues, recommending they:
- Increase funding for BCcampus’ Open Textbook Project by $500,000 a year for the next 3 years to expand the number of open textbooks available to BC students. (See the UVSS TextbookBroke Campaign)
- Provide targeted funding to post-secondary institutions for mental health support services for students (See the UVSS ReThink Mental Health campaign)
- Establish a needs-based student grant program that addresses student needs and provides incentives for completion and conduct a review of the current B.C. student loan eligibility requirements and interest charged on B.C. student loans.
- Provide resources to institutions implementing Sexual Misconduct policies, expand the scope of Bill 23, and create a dedicated provincial task force to create a comprehensive provincial wide plan to address sexual violence. (See the Let’s Get Consensual Campaign)
Our pragmatic approach was well received, and we will continue to be pushing for these important student issues!
— Andrew Wilkinson (@Wilkinson4BC) December 1, 2016
Bell Sponsors Mental Health Event!
Finally, exciting news on the mental health front – Bell Let’s Talk is partnering with us with a $3,500 for our Mental Health Awareness Week, which will feature keynote speaker Kevin Breel on January 18th, a renown speaker with a TED talk boosting almost 3 million views! Stay tuned for more event details.
I am truly honored to represent students on these issues, and my door is always open to hear what you want to see from the campaigns department! In the meantime, good luck on exams, and have a wonderful holiday season!
-Maxwell Nicholson, Director of Campaigns and Community Relations