Hello UAlberta, 

We’ve been through a lot this past year. And even though it’s time for us to say goodbye, it’s not an easy thing to do. This past year has been both remarkable and challenging—and from the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank all of you for being with us through this journey.

During our time as your Executive, we’ve seen a new provincial government, a federal election, two provincial budgets, led two protests to demand better for students, and now, face a pandemic that continues to redefine our lives. Although things are difficult for all of us right now, together we’ve accomplished some remarkable things.  

We continually aspire to empower students to act with confidence, and live with compassion—and we’ve made great strides by:

  • Passing a Charter of Student Rights and Responsibilities. We are the second University in Canada to do this;

  • Guiding the creation of Free Expression Principles;

  • Bringing Indigenous students to the federal decision-making table through the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations; and,

  • Investing in the leadership and governance training we offer to students, so all students have opportunities to reach their full potential. 

On top of this, we made changes that help support students on campus to succeed both individually and academically by:

  • Launching our free menstrual product initiative; 

  • Advocating for increased diversity among mental wellness counsellors on all campuses;

  • Demanding equity for our international students; 

  • Connecting students with research opportunities through our inaugural BrainPop research event; and,

  • Continuing to push campus to take campus sexual violence seriously. Provincially, we worked with the Council of Alberta University Students to publish the most robust sexual violence policy paper in the nation. 

Keeping our fingers on the pulse of student life, priorities and values is guiding how we do things more than it ever has before, and will continue to shape how the UASU does things. We made strides by: 

  • Launching our inaugural Your UASU Town Hall;

  • Investing in the launch of UASU Perks, where students can take surveys, tell us their thoughts, do fun things, and win prizes; and,

  • Focusing on literally being “Your UASU”—creating a strong presence across our campus and digital channels, so that it’s clear what your UASU does for you.

And, finally, we know that for students to thrive, campus needs to be a barrier-free and intellectually-stimulating space. This meant: 

  • Making sure conversations regarding deferred maintenance were top of mind, and in ways that prioritize making actions that protect our climate and environmental impacts;

  • Continuing to push for the implementation of faculty-specific interdisciplinary Indigenous course content—with the hiring of the new Vice Provost Indigenous, we know the movement is in the right direction—and,

  • We continue to prioritize affordability despite a financially difficult year for students. We made changes so that you could have access to $150,000 in new, needs-based awards; in addition to successfully negotiating better University financial support during a time when tuition is rising. 

Each challenge has brought its learning moments and has allowed us to grow both as students and an organization—and for that we will always be grateful. For the challenges ahead, know that your incoming Executive team has your best interests in mind. I have no doubt that they will fight tirelessly for you. Your new Executive team will be working their tails off in a situation that none of them expected themselves to be in, where there will be difficult decisions to make. While platform goals and priorities may shift, know that your interests and well-being as students will always be at the heart of every decision and initiative. 

This is a time of renewal and reflection for our entire campus community. We genuinely wish you all luck for the year ahead. Remember to always do what’s right (not what’s easy), act with unbridled compassion, inspire change for our world, always keep moving and learn for the past to plan for tomorrow. 

Lots of love, 

Akanksha Bhatnagar