By John Ployer
VPAX Sweta Daboo discusses the UPEI policy priorities book with the Cadre (photo credits: John Ployer)
Vice-President Academic and External (VPAX) Sweta Daboo has unveiled the four policies the Student Union will be advocating to the Government of PEI this year.
The published priorities booklet, called “Evolve,” was called such because three out of four policy priorities are brand new to the Student Union.
“It’s all about evolving to keep up with our changing student body, and their changing needs,” Daboo told the Cadre.
Daboo told the Cadre that the concept of evolving is present in all four policies brought forward by the student union.
This years’ policy priorities include:
- Including Post-Secondary Student in the PEI Rent Supplement Program
- Investment in a Post-Secondary Research and Innovation Fun
- Exempting Parental Income as an Asset for Student Loan Assessments
- Supporting the International Student Experience
“The policy priorities are the student priorities,” Daboo said.
“They are the priorities students care the most about at the university, they’re shortcomings that they identify, they are things students want us [UPEISU] to act on.”
What issues to base the policy priorities off of were found through consultations in the spring semester of this year.
An online survey, in-person consultations and activities like a wall in the student centre where students places dots on topics they cared about, helped the VPAX determine what issues to tackle.
The VPAX also has quite a bit of discretion in choosing which direction to take priorities it.
“There’s a lot of strategy involved,” she said.
For example, the Student Union won’t ask for things which aren’t realistic.
Daboo says that the policy priorities are key to her success in advocacy on behalf of students.
“They exist to give us direction, to give the VPAX a mandate to act on throughout the year, to find ways to ensure that future generations of students are not facing the same issues that we’re facing right now.”
The ultimate goal of the policies priorities is to encourage important stakeholders to support pro-student policy, with hopes of seeing the provincial government fund the measures someday.
“We bring this booklet to different parties, different stakeholders. It’s just ensuring that everyone knows where we stand on key issues, with hopes that some of it gets reflected in the budget next spring.”