BUSU President, James Maxwell-Barillas and Vice President, External Affairs, Alyssa Hall, attended the CASA Policy and Strategy Conference this past week to discuss student struggles regarding financial aid, housing and access to mental health support and services on campus.
The following article, by Alyssa Hall, VPEA, is written to Brock University students, outlining the goals and accomplishments your BUSU Executives aim to achieve on behalf of Brock Student’s while attending such conferences.
BUSU Executives attend CASA Policy and Strategy Conference at the University of New Brunswick.
In a week that was chalked full of consultations, trainings, networking, and working group collaboration, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations’ (CASA) Policy and Strategy Conference has officially come to a close.
Hosted on both St. Thomas University and the University of New Brunswick’s campuses, the main goals of this conference included setting the organizations federal advocacy priorities for the coming school year and finalizing the Board of Director’s Action Plan; both of which are needed in order to give CASA a measurable advocacy direction as the school year progresses.
As representatives of BUSU’s external advocacy team, James and I were fortunate to be given the opportunity to attend CASA’s Policy and Strategy conference to ensure that the voices, needs, and concerns of Brock students are being heard within Canada’s federal advocacy spaces. During our time at CASA, James and I were able to participate within a series of consultations designed to help CASA Home Office and Board better understand the current struggles students throughout the country are facing. Many of these conversations revolved around student financial aid, affordable housing, and student access (or lack thereof) to mental health supports. Through our participation within these consultation sessions, it became clear that although post-secondary education falls under the jurisdiction of the provincial government, the struggles of the average student studying anywhere in the country, are universal.
After completing a series of thorough consultations with conference attendees over the course of the week, it was time to bring the proposed federal advocacy priorities forward to be voted on by membership. Based on the overarching challenges and struggles, identified by CASA Home Office and Board, it is no surprise that the organizations federal advocacy priorities for this year will focus on increased student financial assistance, mental health support, and addressing challenges students are facing related to housing and food insecurity.
Now you may be asking yourselves… what’s next? What is CASA, and by extension your BUSU executive team, going to do with these advocacy priorities moving forward? The next steps for these priorities is a two part process.
Step One: CASA Home Office and Board will be working hard to create lobbying recommendations and policy briefs that will be distributed to government representatives and stakeholders during federal lobbying activities.
Step Two: the advocacy priorities and initiatives will come to life during Federal Lobby Week being hosted in Ottawa, on Parliament Hill, from November 20 to November 24.
During Federal Lobby Week, James and I will be working with student leaders from across the country to lobby the Federal Government and to advocate on behalf of students studying in Canada. Through our participation at Federal Lobby Week, James and I will ensure that the voices, needs, and concerns of Brock students are being heard within these government spaces.
Although CASA’s Policy and Strategy Conference has ended, our work this year, regarding BUSU’s federal advocacy initiatives are just beginning. In order to help ensure that external advocacy efforts are best represented students can reach out via email to VPEA@BrockBUSU.ca or stop by for Coffee and Conversations with your Student Representatives, hosted every Wednesday beginning Sept. 13, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in, Isaac’s Lounge, located on the 3rd Floor, Student-Alumni Centre, to discuss any questions or comments that you may have regarding advocacy.
-Alyssa Hall, VPEA
Follow @BrockBUSU on Instagram for updates on your BUSU executives and their efforts throughout the year. Learn more about your Student Executives on our website.