AUSU SPEAKS: January 19th Session – Provided By AUSU

News from the January 19, 2003 council meeting

AUSU Council met on the evening of January 19th for a regularly scheduled council meeting. The main item of business for the evening was AUSU finance, and the annual audit for the 2002 financial year was reviewed and discussed.

Following this, tentative plans were set for the next Annual General Meeting of AUSU, which will take place in the spring of 2003. The date of this meeting will be announced once plans have been finalized.

Also on the agenda this week was the Strategic Planning Sub-Committee of AUSU. We didn’t have one, but now we do! The new committee will focus on AUSU’s future, and will establish long term goals for projects, finances, and student programs. AUSU Secretary-Treasurer Gurpreet Dulai will chair.

In order to help introduce new users to the chat function on the AUSU website, times will be scheduled when councillors will be present. We will try to schedule morning, afternoon, and evening times each week, and the scheduled times will be posted on the AUSU home page and on the AUSU calendar [on the right-hand information bar of the home page]. Drop in and say hello, or ask a question or two!

If you want to get even more involved with AUSU, consider volunteering. We have a really big project in the works that we hope will dramatically improve student-student relations, and we will need a lot of help getting it going. Write Sandra Moore [smoore@ausu.org] if you are interested in becoming an AUSU volunteer.

You can also contact Sandra if you are interested in starting up an AUSU club. The time has never been better. This year the Athabasca University Psychology Students’ Society [AUPSS] has grown enormously, and two new clubs are in the works. If you have a special interest or simple want to form a students club for people who live in your area, let Sandra know.

We realize that some students might be reluctant to start up clubs in their local area for fear that they are they only student in their locale. If this is the case, let us know. You may be very surprised at how many other AU students live in your small town.

AUSU council had a great year, during which we saw many of our planned projects come to fruition. The most exciting so far have been the launch of the new websites for The Voice, and AUSU. Council members Debbie Jabbour, Gurpreet Dulai, Shirley Barg, Sandra Moore, Tamra Ross Low, Nicholas Palamarchuk, Mac McInnes and Karie-Anne Getta have plans for a number of new student services, and are looking forward to an even better 2003. Darren Kereluk is no longer a councillor with AUSU.

We wish all AU students, faculty and staff a happy and healthy new year.

AUSU

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Winter Edition

News from the November 28, 2002 council meeting

AUSU met on November 28th, 2002, for a regularly scheduled council meeting. Items on the table for discussion included the post-secondary coalition to fight tuition increases and government under-funding (headed by CAUS), the CAUS media campaign to raise awareness about tuition increases, the development of an AUSU External Committee, and the status of the AUSU Handbook/Planner.

On November 17th, the Council of Alberta University Students [CAUS], through the initiative of University of Alberta SU, organized a provincial education coalition meeting. In attendance were leaders of provincial organizations that are stakeholders in the cause of fair tuition and adequate funding of post-secondary education in Alberta. Attendees were urged to support CAUS in their fight to maintain affordable university tuition for Alberta students.

A motion was introduced at the AUSU council meeting, to the effect that AUSU should “participate in the provincial education coalition to further our cause of not permitting distance education to be exempt from the tuition cap, and to aid in persuading the government to adequately fund all public post-secondary institutions in the province.”

The motion was passed, and we look forward to supporting CAUS in this important action.

A second motion asked that AUSU assist CAUS by contributing funds toward the CAUS media campaign to raise public awareness of the cost of post-secondary education and the critical under-funding of post-secondary education in Alberta. The media campaign has consisted of newspaper advertisements in the Edmonton Journal, the Edmonton Sun, the Lethbridge Herald, and various rural newspapers.

Some of the CAUS ads can be viewed at: http://tc.su.ualberta.ca/education/explanation.htm

To aid in raising public awareness, CAUS members hosted public forums at the University of Alberta and the University of Lethbridge. AUSU participated in both forums. The University of Calgary Students’ Union will host the third CAUS public tuition forum in March.

In support of the public awareness campaign, AUSU voted to contribute $1,000 toward the media costs. Additionally, to address the need for more AUSU involvement in external activities, such as the CAUS initiatives and programs to gain student discounts in various programs and activities, AUSU has developed the new External Committee.

Students are invited to volunteer for this important new committee, and anyone interested should contact committee chair, AUSU VP Shirley Barg, at sbarg@ausu.org. The purpose of the Committee is to plan and implement activities that relate to AUSUs external relationships for the betterment of Athabasca University students.

Finally, AUSU has decided not to produce a student handbook/planner this year. We apologize to those students who have asked for a planner already, but after long deliberation, we have determined that the current format of the planner is not effective, and that we can increase the usefulness of this item by redesigning it in a smaller format. The old handbook/planner, which has been produced for many years, was only moderately popular, and we feel that we may be able to provide students with other items that may be more useful. Current plans are to redesign the planner and offer it in an improved, compact format next year. Until then, an alternative student gift package is in the works. When items are available, it will be posted on the AUSU website and in the Voice.

In other news, membership on the AUSU forums continues to grow, students are beginning to fill out the new course surveys on the AUSU website, there has been increased interesting in forming AUSU student groups and clubs, and submissions to the Voice continue to rise. Overall we are experiencing greater interest and involvement from AU students, and hope to see this trend continue next year.

AUSU would like to wish a very Merry Christmas, all of our members, and we look forward to serving you in 2003!

FALL EDITION

AUSU met on the evening of September 16th for the last regular council meeting of the 2001/2002 fiscal year. Finances and our preliminary budget for the upcoming fiscal year were the main topics of discussion, and we laid the groundwork for some exciting new scholarships and student awards. Also under discussion was the possibility of selling AUSU promotional items in the future.

The most important topic of the evening was our upcoming AGM. For those who do not already know, the 2002 AGM will take place on September 28, 2002 at 1:00 PM MST, and all students are welcome. You may attend in person at the Edmonton AUSU offices, located at #306, 10030-107th Street, Edmonton, AB, or you may attend via teleconference from any location, worldwide. Call our office at 1-800-788-9041, extension 3413, or email ausu@ausu.org for more information. Please reserve your spot as soon as possible, so that we know how many attendees to plan for. We’d love to see you there.

Also on the table this week was a proposal for new scholarships and student awards, which was approved by all councillors. Information about these awards will be available on our website as soon as we hammer out the last of the fine details. The details will be posted on the AUSU Services page.

The fate of the AUSU Handbook/Planner is still up in the air. We want to be able to give students items that will be useful to them in their studies, but we need to be certain that the handbook is the best choice before we commit to having more printed. Student input so far has indicated that a smaller planner might be more useful, while other suggestions have included wall calendars, desk calendars, and other items. So far, however, we have had only a few responses to our survey, and we require more.

Please check out the AUSU discussion forums on our website and select the Handbook/Planner Survey topic to download the survey file or to comment in the open forum. We’d like to know what might be useful to you, what items you have received from other students’ unions that you have used and enjoyed, and if you have any opinions on the old format of the AUSU Handbook.

Speaking of student input, we are pleased to say that since the first issue of the AUSU newsletter started arriving in students’ mailboxes, we have had many entries for the contest, and a significant increase in Voice readers and users of the AUSU forums. For all of you who just checked out AUSU for the first time this month – welcome!

Finally, back to business matters, AUSU council has approved the proposed preliminary budget for the upcoming fiscal year, and we are very pleased to announce that our expenditures for the 2001/2002 fiscal year will remain within budget for that period.

Many new projects have been initiated since the new council took over in March, and we’re very excited about the coming year. Expect a summary of our work so far to appear in the Voice or on the AUSU website very soon.

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