MRU’s reading week
By Liam Rockliffe, Staff Writer
Mount Royal University (MRU) hosts its reading week over Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. MRU was the first Albertan institution to have a reading week, with SAMRU petitioning for it since 2009—which got us reading day—and eventually in 2017, our fully fledged reading week.
Although starting the trend of reading weeks in Alberta, MRU’s reading week differs from other institutions’ reading weeks by a considerable margin. One whole month from Thanksgiving, the University of Calgary’s (U of C) reading week will be happening this Remembrance Day until Nov. 18. This lines up with University of Alberta, University of Lethbridge , University of British Columbia, Thompson Rivers University, and University of Toronto. University of Regina in Saskatchewan however, lines their reading week up with MRU’s.
Reading week is often a fiery topic of conversation for MRU students, many arguing that it takes place too early. I talked to SAMRU’s REC VP Academic and current MRU student, Tala Abu Hayyaneh regarding the placement of MRU’s reading week. The VP Academic position is a student elected position. — despite being a part of the SAMRU REC and a Student Representative on the General Faculties council, Abu Hayyaneh is also a current MRU student.
An early decision
Reading week at its core is a time to set yourself up for success before the onslaught of midterms and to refer yourself to student support—before it’s too late. The academic schedule isn’t something that’s created overnight and everyone behind the scenes has put serious thought into the schedule. The October reading week fits better into the instructional days required by the university programs, as seen by the U of C. Having their reading week during November extends the final exam period into our precious winter holidays.
Being a student herself, Abu Hayyaneh understands both sides of the reading week debate. Having reading week early lets the students plan and manage time effectively; the alternative for her is a break right in the middle of the stress and chaos, where your whole break either goes to studying—or prioritising your mental health. If the fall reading week was placed in November, it would be aligned with the add/drop deadline. This could affect decision making, as well as group work—which is common in November.
Abu Hayyaneh states that comparing MRU to the U of C does MRU an injustice as they are not in the same position. As a small independent university, MRU has the ability to not follow the status quo.
The fall and winter reading week for MRU students line up on the same week comparatively, and MRU’S winter break falls on the same week as U of C.
An argument for the alignment of reading weeks between MRU and the U of C is that students with friends between the two universities could align their time to go on trips, study together, and most importantly, party. But with the reading week being during heavy exam times, could friends still hang out? Or would everyone be too burdened with exams and papers?
Perhaps the U of C should be the one to change their reading week to align with MRU’s schedule.
To provide your thoughts on MRU’s reading week schedule, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org