The University of Winnipeg Students’ Association (UWSA) is being led by a completely new slate of individuals for this upcoming year.
Elected in March, the 2019-2020 executive team is comprised of Meagan Malcom (president), Mahlet Cuff (vice-president external affairs), Noelle Sagher (vice-president student affairs) and Natasha Okemow (vice-president internal affairs).
“We’re a super focused team,” Cuff says from her office on campus.
She notes that influential people in her life motivated her to run for the UWSA.
“As I was inspired by my immigrant parents, I hope to inspire other students to get involved in student groups.”
Cuff stresses the importance of student involvement on campus.
“You get to connect with the community, meet different people and have a sense of belonging,” she says.
“Being part of the university is more than just academics. It’s about being part of a community,” she says. “I would encourage new and returning students to get involved.”
Malcolm, the first Indigenous woman to hold her position, says her priority will be to make post-secondary education more accessible and inclusive for students. She says she was inspired by her peers to run for office.
“I never thought that this was something that I was capable of doing,” she adds.
The UWSA organizes events such as Roll Call, which occurs the first week of classes, but also does much more than that. They provide services such as the U-Pass, Info Booth, SafeWalk, a foodbank, academic advocacy and a health plan. They also promote and advocate for students’ rights.
With the upcoming provincial and federal elections, the UWSA’s main lobbying focus will be campaigning for affordable education. Malcolm says their advocacy around keeping tuition fees low for University of Winnipeg students is at the centre of the UWSA’s efforts.
“Last year, the University of Winnipeg increased the tuition by 6.6 per cent, and this year it was increased again by 3.7 per cent,” she says. “Less investment in post-secondary education from the provincial government and regular tuition increases by institutions is the beginning of a disturbing trend that needs to be addressed.”
The incoming executive team is excited for the year ahead and hopes to bring a fresh, new approach to the UWSA.
“We are bringing our experiences to the table,” Cuff says. “We also hope to prioritize diverse voices in the decision-making.”
For more information on UWSA services and events, visit theuwsa.ca.