Executives fight for Fall reading week
SAMRU’s executives join the national movement for a week-long break in Fall semester
Students’ Association of Mount Royal University is joining in on MRU’s Mental Health task force by working step by step to propose a Reading Week for Fall Semester.
Although the plan is in its first stages, students can get involved and support the initiative by signing support forms found at the reception desk of the SAMRU office.
But MRU is not the only campus fighting for the fall break. There are nine institutions in Ontario that already have it while U of A, U of C and U of S are working towards one as well.
“So this is truly a national movement actually. It is happening across the country that a lot of campuses are realizing the relevance and importance of having a reading week in the fall,” said Missy Chareka, VP External.
Check out what Tristan Smyth and Missy Chareka had to say about the initiative.
The Reflector: Can you explain your plan, student council’s plan, for a fall reading break?
Tristan Smyth: It is not really a student council plan, it is something that this executive team, primarily me, has been working on and we have been talking about it practically since September. Just with administration and how they feel about it there are still a lot of different details that have to be ironed out especially in terms of the amount of instructional days.
Missy Chareka: And just to give you some context, I’m sure you know we have a fall reading day, and that was implemented by Erin Delamont — who was also the VP Academic at the time. Initiatives like these are not student council’s necessarily but rather executive members.
TR: Why do you think MRU needs this?
TS: It ties into these ideas of mental health, and sort of giving student not a break but just time to think and work. Recently the national college health assessment came out and that interviewed a lot of MRU students and across Canada and we ranked ourselves and we ranked not all that well on mental health. So there needs to be some changes made at Mount Royal and so that’s really one of the reasons that we want to do this; to give students some time during the middle of the semester to catch up or work ahead if they are already caught up.
TR: Can you give students a run-down of what this process looks like?
TS: Moving forward, I will be meeting with the Provost Advisory Council in early Febuary, and then probably individually work with the deans to make sure that with each individual program that the dates can actually work like especially nursing has some odd start dates. So in working from there, a proposal will be taken forward to the General Faculties Council where it will be voted on and then that will be the final step in the process.
TR: Have you brought this up with students at MRU yet?
TS: Yes. We have our form of support. There are several different copies circulating. We have this so that we can propose this idea and the changes in policy and we can also say ‘this is a sampling of our students but this is how many signatures we have’. So we are hopeful that lots of students will sign this form of support. But it is not a petition just a way of showing support for the idea.
TR: I am wondering about your interview with QR 770. They seemed like they objected to the idea. Have you had any other objections as well? Has it been a struggle?
TS: The negative feedback had just more been students asking how it is going to affect their schedules and making sure that this one idea doesn’t ripple out negatively and all of the sudden we are having to start the semester way, way early. We don’t want any of that. We want to make sure that everything that happens is for the best of all students. But most feedback from students and faculty has been overwhelmingly positive.
MC: If you listen to the entire interview there is a lot of mention about how ‘well we went to school and we did just fine’ so why should we be getting a break. I think that is a very invalid point because the lives that our students are living are very different. When you are commuting to school, you’re working two jobs, some of our students have children so it’s a very different lifestyle. So to make that ‘you just have to toughen up and make it through school’ argument can be quite invalid.
TS: And we do know that statistically across Canada students are working more not just school work per se but outside of school work so there is a giant workload for them.