All you wanted to know about the SU…

By Bryan West SU President, 62nd SLC

Welcome to the University of Calgary and welcome to membership in the Students’ Union. Our mandate at the Students’ Union is to “serve and represent” the diverse student body here at the university.

If you pay tuition at the U of C in an undergraduate or professional faculty you automatically become a member of the Students’ Union. This membership is probably the most valuable student union membership in the country. Comparatively, we charge one of the lowest fees in Canada ($33) and provide what we like to think of as the best package of services and representation available. These include cheap books and copying at "Bound and Copied", student budget prices at the "STÖR" for all you convenience store necessities, good beer and good times at the "Den". You can also go and see some of the best acts in the music industry at Westerns Canada’s premier concert facility "Mac Hall". If you want to catch a movie check out "Cinemania" on Monday nights, it’s free for students.

If you want to do some good work and get involved, the Students’ Union provides many opportunities through "volunteer services" or membership in one of our over 150 clubs. We also throw a couple big parties throughout the year including "Overflow", "Snow Pants Day", and of course "Bermuda Shorts Day".

If your grades are suffering we provide old exams and if you’re looking for a house check out the online "off campus housing registry". We also provide an optional "health and dental plan".

On the representation side, the Students’ Union Executive, including yours truly, acts on your behalf on all the highest boards of authority here at the university. This includes deciding course load and instruction, campus expansion projects, and fighting for lower tuition levels. Although we don’t always succeed where we would want to, the SU has accomplished remarkable feats in the past. We fought for and gained the power over any "fee" aside from tuition that faculties or the university may want to charge you. So if the university wanted to start charging all students a fee for a new service it would now have to go to referendum. The Students’ Union also fought for and won the introduction of mandatory rating by the students of professors’ performance at the end of each course. Last year the Students’ Union gained a million dollar concession from the university to put towards new scholarships, bursaries, and a program to help teach professors how to be better teachers. If you have a problem with the university (or the student union for that matter) you can go and speak to your respective "Faculty Representative" or a "Commissioner". Faculty Representatives representyour interests in academic matters in- cluding appeal of grades. Commiss- ioners are split into four groups: Academic, Events, Operations and Finance, and External. On top of it all sits your Executive and that includes me. We are full time, working five days a week in the SU offices in the middle of Mac Hall, and our doors are always open (at least during regular office hours).

I hope you enjoy your time here at the University of Calgary and I hope that the service and representation that the SU provides helps make that experience the best it can be. If I could give one piece of advice I would say don’t drift through this university. There is so much to do and get involved in, take advantage of it. A degree is a great thing but is not what will get you a job, it will be that interview where the skills and social talents learned from participating in clubs, sports groups, or student government, will pay off. Education is so much more then the classroom. It’s your life, it’s your education, so be sure to make the most of it.

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