Fall reading week still not on the horizon

By Tendayi Moyo

A fall reading week is still a long way off at the University of Calgary.

The idea of extending the November break to a full week has been tossed around by both Students’ Union executives and candidates for several years.

“We need to find three days,” said SU president Raphael Jacob. “We have reading days as it is. Three more days and we get nine days off in total — weekend to weekend.”

The problem is that taking these extra days off would cut into instructional time that would need to be made up somehow.

“We need to be willing to give something up if we’re going to get this fall reading week,” Jacob said. “As an example, we currently have 10 days to write final exams in. Maybe it’s only eight days, which means that schedules are going to be trickier.”

The SU plans to ask students in their general survey this March whether they are willing to make any sacrifices in exchange for a fall reading week. Jacob said if an overwhelming majority of students do not support the idea, it will be put to rest.

He said that although making the change is still a long way off, it could be beneficial for students.

“We think there would be huge mental health benefits,” Jacob said. “Especially if you’re from out of town and you’re here for the first time, those first few months can be stressful. While four days isn’t much, nine days could justify a trip home.”

The University of Alberta is in the final stages of implementing a fall reading week set to begin in 2015.

U of A Students’ Union president Petros Kusmu said they faced similar obstacles when trying to make the idea a reality.

“It has been a long four-year process,” Kusmu said. “It began as a conversation surrounding mental health for students. Students needed an opportunity to get their heads above water before they are being submitted to the hectic-ness of the fall semester.”

Kusmu added that he thought scheduling a fall reading week would be a good move for the U of C.

“It’s really nice to see that the U of C SU is also working on this initiative,” Kusmu said. “We’re really glad that this is a conversation that they are having.”