I hope you were all able to enjoy the nicer weather the month of May had to offer, and that you are all staying safe during the third wave of COVID-19 in our province.
I am pleased to advise students that the pandemic has not stopped the new University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU) executive team from hitting the ground running. Since our official first day in office on May 3, we have already started large projects that strive to make our union the strongest it has ever been. As your president, I’m writing this letter to detail all our efforts throughout May.
COVID-19 vaccine campaign
When vaccine eligibility expanded to everyone 18 and over on May 12, we wanted to inform all University of Manitoba students that they are able to receive their first vaccine dose. From May 31 to June 4, students would’ve seen posts on the UMSU’s official Instagram page with instructions about how to book a vaccination appointment and where vaccines were being administered. Trivia questions and infographics were shared, and a vaccination sticker photo contest was held to boost student engagement. We hope all students are being proactive in getting vaccinated — the faster we are all vaccinated, the faster we can resume our normal lives.
This past April, UMSU members voted in a referendum on whether UMSU should formally join the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) at no additional cost per student. 86 per cent of students voted in favour of joining CASA and UMSU’s board of directors ratified the results on April 29. At its annual opening conference, CASA members voted on May 25 to unanimously accept UMSU as their newest member. We look forward to contributing to their advocacy efforts and hope to have a long and prosperous relationship.
The April referendum also contained another question involving an external advocacy group, with students voting 88 per cent in favour of joining the Manitoba Alliance of Post-Secondary Students (MAPSS). These results have also been ratified and UMSU has made its membership in MAPSS official. Its first action afterward was to issue comments to media about the government of Manitoba’s new public survey seeking input on Manitoba student aid.
Our team is already looking forward to working with both advocacy groups throughout the year.
I am pleased to announce that the executive team’s transition in the first week of May went smoothly. We have reviewed our campaign promises and have already started many projects to improve student life and the learning environment at U of M. Negotiations with the Manitoban on a new contract that began in January were finalized this month, with a new eight-year agreement now in place. As the primary newspaper on campus, the Manitoban is essential to keeping students informed and engaged. Signing off on this new agreement ensures the paper is able to operate to the best of its abilities in the basement of Helen Glass.
To receive weekly updates on what is happening on your campus and within your student union, be sure to check out UMSU’s podcast UMSU 1020, featuring the vice-president community engagement Tino Dogo and myself. Every week we highlight news about UMSU and discuss items that directly affect students, while also making sure to keep it light and fun along the way. You can find the UMSU 1020 podcast on both iTunes and Spotify.
That’s it for now. I’ll be sure to keep UMSU members updated on the union’s summer activities. In the meantime, enjoy your summer, get vaccinated and stay safe.
University of Manitoba Students’ Union