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Federal student advocacy group holds conference in Abbotsford

The Student Union Society (SUS) is finishing off the academic year by hosting the Canadian Alliance of Students Associations’ (CASA) annual general meeting (AGM).

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By Vanessa Broadbent (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: March 18, 2015

The Student Union Society (SUS) is finishing off the academic year by hosting the Canadian Alliance of Students Associations’ (CASA) annual general meeting (AGM). The annual event is held by a different university each year, and this year that happens to be UFV.

UFV was one of two potential hosts, and was picked over Red River College in Winnipeg, Manitoba during a vote at a CASA conference last July.

CASA is an alliance of student unions across the country, holding four conferences per year to discuss issues that affect students and how to properly represent their universities at a federal level.

“A lot of post-secondary education is managed at the provincial level, but there’s a lot of policy being written at a federal level that we can still directly impact,” SUS president Ryan Petersen says.

Some common topics are tuition costs, student engagement, and academic support. CASA is made up of 22 student unions from across Canada, representing roughly 300,000 students.

Thomas Davies, VP internal and secretary of the CASA board of directors, explains that the CASA AGM is to finalize any changes to policies that were proposed earlier in the year. “The AGM is when the membership reviews any governing changes. It’ll review policy statements that have been reviewed throughout the year,” he says.

To distribute the workload, CASA is split up into different committees, which focus on different areas of interest. SUS president Ryan Petersen is the chair of the graduate council committee, and is hoping to adopt a new policy regarding parental leave for graduate students.

“If it gets passed, it’ll become an official policy of CASA,” he explains.

“That means that it’s a document that, when we meet with the federal government, we can bring forward and say, this is an issue, how can we approach fixing it?”

Davies says hosting the conference in Abbotsford will work to promote the university.

“It’s always exciting to host schools from around the country, here at UFV,” Davies says. “It’s a great opportunity to show off UFV, and show off the campus.”

Petersen also sees this as a great opportunity for UFV to build its reputation as a quality university.

“We’re proud of the university, we’re proud of the space that we have built up,” he says. “It’s also the people that are here and [their] hard work.”

The AGM will take place from March 24 to 27 at the Phoenix Lounge in Abbotsford.

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