A tale of two Fridays

Today was an incredible day. It started really early, around 7:30 a.m. At the Students’ Union breakfast, groggy execs served me sausages. Something else truly impressed me today as well. I can’t get over how fascinated I was with the turnout at the Board of Governors meeting; students showed up in droves to attend–and I think that this was the apex of a lot of hard work by the SU, other students, and the university community in general.

The result? Tuition didn’t go up more than inflation. Students have a lot to be happy about this year. It really worked, and I think I know why.

I heard about this inevitable meeting in September. Those SU guys kept telling us early about the tuition situation–I almost got sick of it. However, I got the message: As a participant in my education, in my Students’ Union and in my society, I need to be concerned with what tuition increases meant.

I also heard about this consultation process they were going through with the university–something about negotiating this year’s increase. Because of the SU, I knew exactly how to help the effort.

I almost tripped over that sign in the Arts Parkade put up by those PIRG people– I think that stands for Public Interest Research Group. At least those guys know how to do it grassroots style. Funny how they don’t have a communications department, but I still saw their stuff.

I also stopped by those townhall meetings, and even heard Dr. Keith Winter–he’s the university Vice-President Finances–say he was happy the burdens of university financing would not be downloaded to students this year for a change.

Something else happened this year that I think contributed to the success of the BoG meeting. I started hearing and seeing stories that changed what people outside the university thought of education. People even asked me how I was doing with my part-time job and school at the same time–they knew I was working my ass off to go to school. I scrape by, but I’ll probably need a line of credit next year. I barely have enough time to get involved as it is.

I even heard the Minister of Learning, Dr. Lyle Oberg, on the radio saying that education funding was an investment in the future of Alberta. That for every dollar the government put in to education, it got it back in so many ways. Man, who got him to say that?

I’ve got to admit, I was pretty impressed with the whole thing. People did their jobs, and they did something about what students said instead of just saying "we hear your concerns."

We spoke confidently. I hope this trend keeps on going next year.

Today was just another day. I don’t like my Friday classes, but luckily for me I can get here for my 11 ‘o clock class and still park in Lot 11. I’m glad I’ll be done by 1 p.m., campus is boring and there’s nothing to do anyway. I wonder if I should get a frappu-cino today. Nah, I’ll get it when I leave.

Little did I know that my fellow students and I will shoulder another $3.1 million tuition increase this year, because none of the above things ever came close to happening. My day went as it usually does, and as it always will.

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