By Katie Hobday
The Students’ Union has big plans for lobbying all levels of government this upcoming school year, with a focus on the election-bound provincial politicians.
"There has been a lot of strategic planning this summer," said SU Vice-President External Mike Bosch, who has worked closely with the Council of Alberta University Students, to get ready for this year.
CAUS will focus on base funding, which looks at tuition and the costs associated with post-secondary education.
"With the new economic situation in the province, we’re going to try to get tuition frozen," said Bosch, who along with his commissioners will lobby heavily for the newly debt free Alberta to use its future surpluses for funding education.
CAUS, a provincial lobby group of which the SU is a member, also discussed allowing for corporate sponsorships as an alternate form of funding.
"It’s still very controversial," said Bosch. "It would be strictly regulated. We need to maintain academic integrity."
The SU’s fall lobbying will focus on the provincial election, and there will be a strong push for increased accessibility and a higher quality of education, according to Bosch.
CAUS will play an important role in some of the SU’s plans for the upcoming election, including a media campaign highlighting the importance of post-secondary education, and why the public should support it.
"We’ll be running television and radio advertising during the election campaign period," says CAUS Chair Alex Abboud. "There will also be a poster campaign on [most of Alberta’s post-secondary campuses], and brochures, among other means of spreading information."
The SU will also encourage students to vote.
"We need to get students recognized as a voter base," explains Bosch, adding the SU will have voting information for all students. "We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for people to vote."
On the federal front, both CAUS and its national counterpart, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, are fighting for a pan-Canadian accord on post secondary education by which transfer payments for education will go to universities instead of through Canadian Health and Social Transfer. CAUS has also discussed this issue with Alberta Learning Minister Lyle Oberg, who has shown support for the proposal.
What can students who would like to get involved do to help?
"Vote," said Bosch.