SU fights housing shortage
The City of Calgary's affordable housing shortage had an impact everywhere, including the university.
This year's wait list to get into on-campus residence was still over 750 people by the beginning of the fall semester, making student housing one of the biggest issues of the year. To combat the issue, the University of Calgary Students' Union put together an affordable housing paper.
Before the paper was put together, student leaders found that each time they would bring up the lack of student housing with politicians, they would only be redirected to another level of government. To combat this, the paper outlined clear, specific initiatives that could be taken at each level.
The SU also hosted a forum at the university to raise awareness around the issue. Although the student turnout was fairly low, many politicians, both municipal and provincial, attended.
Shortly after the paper was released U of C administration announced that a 300-person residence would be built on campus by 2009.
ISEEE gets funding
The day premier Ed Stelmach was pied in the face, he gave the U of C's Institute of Energy, Environment and Economy $260 million dollars.
Unfortunately the funding fell short of the U of C's combined requested amount of $323 million dollars--the initial request of $283million and the added amount of $40 million for the Experiential Learning Centre.
Due to inflationary costs and lack of funds, the U of C is now going to curb their plans of having the ISEEE and the ELC in two buildings. However, spokesmen for the institute are adamant that the building will still house the original announcement of 1,000 student spaces and will replace some of the deteriorating biology and chemistry laboratories on campus
ISEEE is an inter-disciplinary institute and will focus on working across streams of study in order to sustainably develop Alberta's energy resources. As well, the institute has brought many influential researchers to campus including Dr. David Keith, a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Vet school to open fall '08
After a long wait, the U of C announced in Oct. the School of Veterinary Medicine would open in fall 2008--two years late. The vet school's two buildings--one near Spy Hill and one at the Foothills medical centre--are near completion and the school has received the needed accreditation from the American Veterinary Association.
It will initially offer spots for 30 students, all of which will be Albertan, and the number is expected to go up.
The school will provide a much needed filling for the void in the industry, according to dean Dr. Alastair Cribb.
"In Alberta, for the last ten years, we've been registering between 60 and 110 new veterinarians every year," said Cribb. "Only 20 students from Alberta currently go and get their education in Canada. That means we've been attracting veterinarians to Alberta from other locations and the demand for vets is increasing across the world. If we don't have more students in the program, we're going to be in a worse deficit than we are now. When you graduate, you're basically guaranteed employment."
Tuition consultation, increase
Like most years, tuition was increased. This time by 4.6 per cent per course, which works out to about $230 a year for a full time student.
This year, the U of C's SU presented the Board of Governors--a group of university admisrators and community members who help to govern the direction of the university--with a tuition consultation paper in Dec.
The paper asked for a raise in quality proportional to the raise in tuition, through initiatives like Quality Money. Though the policy was well-researched, it received criticism because it did not do enough to get the attention of students and did not address the entry barrier faced by incoming students. However, it had a warm reception from the board, including the U of C's president Harvey Weingarten. Look for an increase in quality to come in the following years.