University of Calgary

Students’ Union president gives 2013 Report to the Community

UToday HomeApril 17, 2013

A message from Hardave Birk, 70th Students’ Union president

The 2012 Students’ Union executive, from left: Raphael Jacob, Kenya-Jade Pinto, Hardave Birk, Hayley Wade, and Scott Weir.The 2012 Students’ Union executive, from left: Raphael Jacob, Kenya-Jade Pinto, Hardave Birk, Hayley Wade, and Scott Weir.As the 70th Students’ Union (SU) president, I am very proud to be able to provide this report to our community on behalf of the SU executive and members of the Student Legislative Council (SLC).

In this report, you’ll find an overview of who we are, what we do, and why we do it. We’ll talk about what the SU has accomplished and achieved in 2012-2013.

It is because of the dedicated work of student leaders, management and staff of the SU that we have been able to do so much on behalf of the undergraduate community at the University of Calgary. Thanks to them, it was an exceptional year for our SU and we had a blast doing it! We’ve accomplished a lot for students and set up a strong foundation for next year’s SLC.

Like every year, 2012-2013 was an extremely busy year for the SU Executive and SLC members. The year kicked off with an incredibly successful Orientation Week which, without a doubt, gave us the momentum we needed to come out strong. We focused on connecting with first year students to welcome them to our university, and kept them engaged throughout the year with events and our MacHall consultation.

Watch Birk’s Video Message for April 2013.

It was also a year to reaffirm our commitment to the quality of education, the quality of student life and the affordability and accessibility of post-secondary education. The SU delivered a range of student programs, products, services, awards and events and actively advocated on behalf of students on important issues like tuition costs, the delayed increase to mandatory noninstructional fees, and updating Alberta’s election law to make it easier for students to vote.

But I am most proud of the work we did to engage and consult students on the proposed redevelopment of MacEwan Student Centre. We know that parts of the building are more than 40 years old and work needs to be done to update deteriorating systems. In responding to these issues, the university created a long-term vision for the student centre which calls for a major redevelopment of the building, with a proposed project cost topping $150 million. Our primary objective was to raise awareness among the campus community, especially the undergraduate students, about the proposed redevelopment and costs and to consult at least 25 percent of undergraduate students to get their feedback and opinions on the redevelopment plans. We began in October of 2012 with a series of town halls, focus groups, and the launch of an interactive display (called the Redevelopment Compass). Other consultation methods included an 80-question online survey as well as brief interviews with students in MacHall. We received 6,350 responses, exceeding our goal.

Above all, it was a year of working hard to ensure that undergraduate students at the U of C had pride in their institution and had support from their SU in achieving their goals.

Thanks to my executive colleagues — Kenya-Jade Pinto, VP (academic); Raphael Jacob, VP (external); Hayley Wade, VP (student life); and Scott Weir, VP (operations and finance) — our SU continues to be a positive role model for other student unions in the country – a testament to the innovation and skills of these exceptional student leaders. Supported by a professional and talented staff, countless volunteers and faculty representatives dedicated to the well-being of students in their faculties, I am endlessly proud to say I was a member of the 70th SLC.

Finally, to the undergraduates of U of C: thank you! It has been the greatest honour to serve as your SU president. I know you’re in good hands with the 71st Students’ Union president and executive.

Hardave Birk
70th Students’ Union president


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