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the Gauntlet

Students' Union executive mid-term review 2010: Hardave Birk

VP External

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Like the powerful Golem, Students' Union vice-president external Hardave Birk has been a heavy hitter in the SU pokedex this year.

Birk contended with a provincial government unlikely to be offering any new funding to post-secondary anytime soon while serving as chair of the Council of Alberta University Students. Many of CAUS's questions have gone unanswered by the government, largely due to the economic situation where provincial funds are said to be unavailable.

One of Birk's accomplishments with the group has been drafting a proposal to the province that would require any new mandatory non-academic fees proposed by schools be put to a student referendum.

Birk said students have traditionally supported fee increases when put to referendum and, if accepted, the policy will bring greater accountability to school administration over where and how these fees are used.

Birk said advanced education and technology minister Doug Horner presented the proposal to post-secondary presidents and will work with the student groups to refine the document.

Birk also oversaw the SU's municipal election campaign, which brought in candidates from Ward One for a public debate largely ignored by students. Birk followed it with a successful mayoral forum and advanced polling station which he said brought out 1,784 voters, seven per cent of the total advance vote.

Despite his best efforts Birk's other main project, expanding secondary suite housing around LRT stations, was turfed by city council. Birk said he plans on working with the new council to revive his original proposal.

Golems like to tumble down mountains during earthquakes. Next year will show if Birk has already reached the bottom or if he's still picking up speed.

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