Get With the Plan(ner)

Part of the fun of distance education is those parcels that come in the mail. Finding a box or bulky envelope in my mailbox is like receiving a present.

A special mail treat recently was the arrival of the AUSU 2015 Student Planner. My desk is tiny but I always have an AUSU planner nearby. Not only does the planner help me keep on track, but it’s full of useful information that I don’t get from any other source.

A quick look through the 2015 planner revealed a number of new features this year:

AUSU executive bios (pages 8-9): covers the three executive positions on council: President (Jason Nixon,) VP External & Student Affairs (Kim Newsome,) and VP Finance & Administration (Corrina Green.) It gives short self-introductions with photos. A good way to get to know the execs on AUSU council and understand what each position does.

AUSU & council fun stats (pages 10-11): mixes serious and fun statistics, including AUSU newsletter numbers, the varied credentials of council and staff, the number and kind of pets AUSU councillors and staff collectively have (including horses, fish, and a ferret,) and the distribution of astrological signs (no Leos, Libras, or Scorpios on council or staff.)

Live chat info (page 13): details another way to contact AUSU staff. Quick questions are promptly answered when AUSU staff are available.

Service standards help (page 16): outlines the help AUSU can provide if you’re waiting too long for tutor help or marks.

Health and dental (page 22): summarizes the new (in 2014) AUSU health and dental plan. Includes details on plan fees and a link to further information.

Peer support (page 25): lists a few ways to interact with other students, including the AUSU Forums and a couple Facebook pages.

Convocation services (page 37): outlines what AUSU does to assist students attending convocation. (page 40): highlights a service offered by AUGSA. Use the login info provided on this page to access a wealth of Employee Assistance Plan (EAP)-type information and services. Topics include health, life changes, finances, relationships, and parenting.

AUSU member services booklet (tucked into program planner divider before page 41): a quick pull-out reference guide on what AUSU is and does.

Worth repeating, these planner features appeared in 2014, too:

AU departments quick reference guide (pages 15-17): provides a quick summary plus contact info for AU’s Advising Services, Counselling Services, Learning Services Tutorial, Ombuds Office, Examination Services and more.

Great AU finds online (pages 18-19): outlines online resources for AU students. (pages 26-27): describes how to take advantage of over a thousand video courses. AUSU members are eligible for one year’s free access.

AUSU meetings (page 36): provides details on how to attend?by telephone?AUSU meetings.

About this planner (page 37): describes how to recycle every bit of last year’s planner. (Tip: before you recycle, save any blank note pages for use as quick scribble notepaper.)

2015 handbook/planner survey (page 39): allows students to influence next year’s planner. The survey is now online, leaving no excuse for not completing it. Respondents could win an AUSU prize package.

Calendar pages (pages 44-231): the meat of the planner. Sprinkled with weekly facts, quotes, and trivia.

Citations and references (pages 232-241): links to resources on various citation styles, and quick tips on MLA, APA, and Chicago styles.

If you haven’t ordered your 2015 AUSU Student Planner yet, it’s not too late. Just log into your AUSU account at and follow the ordering instructions. Contact AUSU staff if you need help; you can find contact info on the website.

Barbara Lehtiniemi is a writer, photographer, and AU student. She lives on a windswept rural road in Eastern Ontario