Volume 95, Issue 58

Wednesday, January 16, 2002
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Three's company...

Gazette Investigation: A council in disarray

Library fines are like nose bleeds

Golden hippies still camping in principal's office

Repeat sexual offender kills himself

CASA kids launch "new" national campaign

News Briefs

CASA kids launch "new" national campaign

By Chris Lackner
Gazette Staff

The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations launched its 2002 national campaign last week, hoping to raise awareness for the lobby group's on-going educational policy initiatives.

CASA's national director Liam Arbuckle said the new campaign will feature the slogan "Education Builds a Nation" and will emphasize the importance students play in Canada's future.

University Students' Council VP-education Erin McCloskey said the USC, who is a member of CASA, is tying the national campaign launch into USC Awareness week, which runs next Monday to Friday in the University Community Centre atrium.

Displays will be setup in the atrium to inform students of CASA lobbying tactics, policy initiatives, as well as their successes and failures in influencing government policy, she said.

"[The week is] about showing students what CASA's doing for them, so we know whether we're addressing the issues students want," she said. "[Students] don't have to be interested in student politics, but they should know some of the issues."

Topics included in the new campaign include reforming the Canadian student loan system, student debt relief and the indirect costs of research and how they affect a university's operating budget, she explained.

"The campaign will serve as a momentum builder to CASA's lobbying conference in Ottawa from Mar. 18 to 20," Arbuckle said. "We want to demonstrate to average Canadians that education is important."

CASA had a membership of five universities and colleges when they established themselves as a separate student lobbying entity in 1995 and their membership has now risen to 23.

"Obviously people are buying into how we do things," Arbuckle said. "People who used to ignore us are paying attention. We've been pragmatic, [and built] a strong relationship with the government."

Rick Telfer, the Ontario chair of the Canadian Federation of Students, said the CFS does not feel threatened by CASA's growing membership base. "We're pretty secure in our own base," he said. "We're not here for empire building."

CFS – which combines the tactics of direct mobilization as well as governmental lobbying – is the national student group CASA separated from in 1995,

The continued split between the two factions within Canada's national student movement causes some concern, Telfer explained.

"The only concern we have when a student union joins CASA is how long it will take them to realize they made the wrong choice," he added.

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