ULSU urging survey response

Advocacy is one of the most important parts of a post-secondary institution's ability to improve itself. The University of Lethbridge Students' Union strives to keep in touch with its students' needs and wants so that it may lobby both the University and government agencies for improvements to the post-secondary system.

The ULSU is asking its student members to participate in the National Student Survey in an attempt to gather information about student experiences and opinions that affect their education.

"Students should know that their participation will have long-term benefits for students across Canada for years to come," says ULSU Vice-President Academic Alex Massé.

The goal of the project is to produce information that will assist national, provincial and student governments, policymakers and other stakeholders in their plight to improve post-secondary education.

"The ULSU is participating in the National Student Survey for two main reasons. One is so that we know what services students need most and the other is to have firm data to help with student advocacy," says Massé.

The survey was released in the form of an e-mail in early November and asks students a wide range of questions.

"A good deal of the survey focuses on students' financial situations and student employment, simply because those are such pressing topics at the moment," says Massé. "There's a lot more to it than that though. For example, one section asks students how they would prioritize university funding."

Undergraduate students from universities and colleges across the country are encouraged to participate in the confidential survey. Advocacy and lobby groups will use the information gathered as evidence for their lobby efforts, as well as provide student unions and associations with a better understanding of what is important to their constituents.

"It is going to give student advocacy groups a better understanding of what to ask for when we're approaching government or even the University, and the fact that we have firm data will help us to be taken more seriously," says Massé.

"We hope that those factors will aid us in being more effective lobbyists. We will also be able to use the data to reform services that we provide to students so that they can spend their time focusing on their education."