Dear UASU members,

As we approach the end of the year and the start of the holiday season, I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of you. Your resilience, dedication, and spirit have defined our university community. This year has brought much to reflect on and I’m grateful for the opportunity to represent you and advocate on your behalf.

Reflecting on our achievements:

Financial Advocacy: Collaborated with the University to revamp the Moderate Standard of Living calculation, boosting bursary spending for 2023/2024 by around $1 million.

Defeated the proposed campus-wide smoking ban: The ban did not pass at the General Faculties Council (GFC), a result attributed to collaborative efforts with the Indigenous Students' Union (ISU). This outcome is a significant victory, as it upholds the diverse voices and needs of our student community.

Student Experience Action Plan: We’ve worked on the strategic guide reflecting students’ priorities for our University experience. Officially launching in January, it outlines pathways for improving the student experience in vital areas ID’d by students.

Indigenous Course Requirement Approval: Successfully advocated for an Indigenous Course requirement in the Faculty of Science, to be implemented by Fall 2024.

Consent Awareness Week: Partnered with Possibility Seeds and The U of A Sexual Assault Centre for Consent Awareness Week, promoting consent literacy on campus.

UASU Pronoun Campaign: Doubled the positive response from professors in the third year of the campaign, helping support a more inclusive environment in classrooms.

ZTCup Award: Introduced the ZTCup, recognizing faculties' efforts to make courses more affordable through the Zero Textbook Cost program.

Ongoing Provincial Advocacy: Met with almost a dozen Alberta Provincial Ministers to push for prevention of campus sexual and gender based violence, additional mental health supports, and increases to grants for students.

Academic and Non-Academic Support Enhancement: Initiated discussions to enhance students' access to various forms of support and centralized research opportunities.

Zero Waste Initiatives: Undertook efforts to minimize waste on campus, focusing on initiatives like going zero waste at CSJ and partnering The Daily Grind with Too Good to Go reduce food waste.

Learn more about our successes over the summer, and through September and October this year.

As we look ahead to the new year, there’s much work still ahead:

Tuition Advocacy: The fight against tuition increases is a priority that requires your engagement and feedback. The impact of rising tuition costs on students is a challenge we must address collectively, and your input is invaluable in shaping our strategy. Your involvement will be key in advocating for a fair and accessible education for all. In the coming weeks, we'll be seeking your thoughts, ideas, and support to ensure that our message resonates loud and clear. Together, we can make a difference and continue to build a university experience that prioritizes the well-being and success of each student.

Student Engagement: We are busy planning an all members meeting in the new theater space for 2024 to create a space where we can gather and discuss the issues most pressing to you.

Strategic Plan Steering Committee: Connecting with you to shape the future of our Students' Union through the UASU Strategic Plan.

Advocacy at the Provincial Level: Continuing efforts to advocate for student priorities at the provincial level through CAUS.

May your holidays be filled with joy, warmth, and moments of relaxation. Take this time to celebrate your achievements and to look ahead with optimism and excitement for the new year. Wishing you a restful break and a happy, healthy New Year!

Best regards,

Christian Fotang