Volume 96, Issue 58
Tuesday, January 14, 2003

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Student groups embark on new year of lobbying
New Year's resolutions include more schmoozing and rhetoric

By Kelly Marcella
Gazette Staff

Student lobby groups were quite busy last year, with 2003 set to bring continued action on behalf of their students constituents.

According to Liam Arbuckle, national director for the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, CASA will be continuing with the same action plan as the past year.

"It's more of a mid-year for us. We are maintaining the same course of action," he said, adding student loan reform and federal transfer funding to provincial governments are the biggest items on the group's agenda.

"Consistency is what you have to do to be successful at lobbying," Arbuckle added.

Arbuckle said CASA will also be electing a new national director in early March. "It's good to have new blood," he explained.

"We've been very aggressive with the current government," said Rick Telfer, Ontario national executive representative for the Canadian Federation of Students, adding the CFS is focused on securing a tuition freeze and subsequently lobbying for lower tuition fees.

The CFS will be turning their attention to the upcoming provincial election, putting energy into trying to influence the Liberal Party platform in favour of post-secondary education, he explained.

Telfer said the CFS displayed extreme membership growth in the past year and hopes to continue the trend. "We've had a highly successful year," he added.

Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance President Josh Morgan said his organization recently went under a change in leadership. "We hired a new executive director, Leslie Church. She is the former president of the University of Alberta's students' council," Morgan said, adding Church has recently completed her studies at the London School of Economics in England.

During this hiring process, OUSA continued to meet with their senior executive members. "Some of the most significant people we have met with include the minister [of colleges, training and universities], deputy minister, assistant deputy minister, the director of the university's branch of government and critics from both of the opposition parties," Morgan said.

"We also were working on campuses [in order] to promote ourselves to students," Morgan said. "We're going to continue to work towards better informing students."

–with files from Rachel Sandieson

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