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Advocacy is Our Business

CSI's Advocacy Department empowers students to make their voices heard within Conestoga College and at all levels of government.

 

As stakeholders, students contribute to meaningful change that prioritizes the pillars of Accountability, Affordability, Equity, and Sustainability in the student experience.

CSI's Advocacy Pillars

Accountability icon Accountability 

Providing the tools and resources for students to be informed and engaged in the efforts the organization is undertaking to improve the Conestoga student experience.

Equity icon Equity 

Creating a collaborative student experience to embrace the diversity of the student community in ways that ensure access, safety and inclusivity.

Affordability icon Affordability 

Ensuring the cost of the student experience represents the interests and needs of Conestoga students and is not a barrier to accessing their education.

Sustainability icon Sustainability

Advocating for solutions that meet the current and future needs of Conestoga students in the spirit of Accountability, Affordability, and Equity.

 

Where Do We Advocate?

  • College Advocacy

    Issues at the college level include tuition rates, student housing, academic fairness, truth and reconciliation, student rights, and more. CSI represents our members by ‘being at the table’ within the college’s several governing boards, including representation at Conestoga College’s Board of Governors, and various Internal and External Committees, including Academic Appeals and more.

  • Municipal Advocacy

    Issues at the municipal level that affect our students include access to affordable housing, transportation, community safety, and more. CSI brings advocacy and political initiatives to the municipalities where Conestoga College has campuses and student representation. We do this to ensure students’ voices are heard on municipal issues that affect them. CSI does this by: participating in municipal Town and Gown Committees, being active members of City and Regional Taskforces, developing partnerships with local Student Associations for collaboration and solidarity, creating and maintaining relationships with local officials and stakeholders, establishing advocacy campaigns to pressure local stakeholders to favour policies beneficial and important to our students.

  • Provincial Advocacy

    Issues at the provincial level that affect our students include tuition regulation, post-secondary education funding, international student equity, housing, healthcare, and many more! CSI and Ontario Student Voices (OSV) engage in advocacy at the provincial level by: working with stakeholders to uphold the rights, and advocate for the needs of college students, engaging and organizing collective voice organizations, including participating in working groups with other college student associations across Ontario, building and leveraging positive relationships with Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs), participating in provincial taskforces when they arise on issues that affect our student members, providing the student voice on issues of relevance through press releases, interviews, op-eds, etc, organizing and engaging in direct action campaigns to ensure students’ concerns are being heard and represented in legislation (Student Protests, Rallies, Strike Support etc.). For more information on CSI's efforts at the provincial level, please see the following link to our provincial advocacy group: https://www.ontariostudentvoices.ca/

  • Federal Advocacy

    Issues at the federal level that affect our students include financial aid, research funding, indigenous students, immigration and study permits, mental health, and many more! CSI and the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) engage in advocacy at the federal level by: working with stakeholders to uphold the rights, and advocate for the needs of college students, engaging and organizing collective voice organizations, including participating in working groups with other college student associations across Ontario, building and leveraging positive relationships with Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs), participating in provincial taskforces when they arise on issues that affect our student members, providing the student voice on issues of relevance through press releases, interviews, op-eds, organizing and engaging in direct action campaigns to ensure students’ concerns are being heard and represented in legislation (Student Protests, Rallies, Strike Support etc.) For more information on CSI's efforts at the federal level, please see the following link to our federal advocacy group:https://www.casa-acae.com/

CSI's Advocacy Efforts

CSI’s Advocacy Department is constantly working for you on issues you’ve told us are essential to your student experience.

 

Check out our ongoing or past initiatives below!

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Current Advocacy Efforts

 

 

International Tuition Equity

CSI is a member of the Ontario College Student Associations for International Tuition Equity Coalition, which is an action-oriented group of Ontario College Student Associations, who are motivated and inspired to advocate for international tuition equity.

Organized by a core group of 5 Student Associations, we recognized the need for a strong and unified voice to provide representation for over 50,000 international students we represent.

 

Student Housing

By reaching out to students to hear about their housing experiences, working with community partners to advocate for greater housing availability and affordability, and engaging relevant policymakers, this project’s purpose is to find the best way to ensure students are housed safely, at a price that does not complicate their educational experience.

This project aims to gain an understanding of the current housing challenges faced by Conestoga Students and explore best practices and develop solutions to address them, focusing on accountability, affordability, equity, and sustainability.

STATUS

Complete.
Preliminary research and student consultations have been completed. Please read the final report below.

DISCLAIMER: The recommendations contained within this report are for the consideration of CSI’s Executive Team and/or Board of Directors. These recommendations are not guaranteed to be adopted and/or implemented by CSI. An individual or collective action plan (such as CSI’s Strategic Plan) will be created and published in the future which may or may not include these suggested recommendations.

 

In addition to our Your Guide to Student Living, CSI has successfully supported the push for the development of a Brantford-specific tenant support website that will provide an additional outlet of information for students. Read more here.

CSI actively is engaging with the City of Kitchener to ensure students are represented in the next steps of the Lower Doon Land Use. Read more here.

 

 

Transportation

This project aims to gain an understanding of what transportation methods students use and how their transit experience can be improved, including parking, buses, biking, inter-city transit, and more.?With sustainability in mind, this project aims to ensure students have long-term, sustainable, and green-friendly transportation solutions at all existing and future Conestoga College campuses.

STATUS

Complete.
Please read the final report below.

DISCLAIMER: The recommendations contained within this report are for the consideration of CSI’s Executive Team and/or Board of Directors. These recommendations are not guaranteed to be adopted and/or implemented by CSI. An individual or collective action plan (such as CSI’s Strategic Plan) will be created and published in the future which may or may not include these suggested recommendations.

 

Link the Watershed Overview

CSI has joined the Link The Watershed Initiative and is advocating to improve public transit between Brantford, Guelph, and Waterloo Region. The initiative aims to link our communities with a network of four new conventional transit routes operated by our existing municipal urban transit providers (Brantford Transit, Grand River Transit, and Guelph Transit) as soon as possible; with additional service changes to the rural transit services Brant Transit, Wellington RideWell, Ride Norfolk, PC Connect, and GOST to create a highly integrated network of rural and urban transit services and linking the Watershed.

Learn more about the initiative: www.linkthewatershed.ca

Sign the petition to show your support for linking the watershed: www.change.org/linkthewatershed

 

Advocating for Free Transit on Election Days

CSI has been advocating to local municipalities and the Region of Waterloo to request that Grand River Transit offers free transit services on Election Days for federal, provincial, and municipal elections to reduce barriers to voting and improve accessibility to polling locations for students.

Help us continue to advocate to the Region of Waterloo by emailing your Regional Councillor and telling them why you support making transit free on election days.

Find out who your Regional Councillor is and their email here: www.regionofwaterloo.ca/en/regional-government/council

 

Truth & Reconciliation

This initiative aims to push Conestoga College to commence the work of Truth & Reconciliation by beginning consultations with the indigenous communities Conestoga College on whose land the college rests and whose nations the college is embedded within. We seek to foster the work of Truth & Reconciliation in our organization as well, in a way that meaningfully engages and empowers indigenous students and community members in partnership with Be-Dah-Bin Gamik.

STATUS

In progress. Updates to be provided.

Report: Read about First Steps Towards the Path of Truth and Reconciliation

DISCLAIMER: The recommendations contained within this report are for the consideration of CSI’s Executive Team and/or Board of Directors. These recommendations are not guaranteed to be adopted and/or implemented by CSI. An individual or collective action plan (such as CSI’s Strategic Plan) will be created and published in the future which may or may not include these suggested recommendations.

 

Academic Fairness

This project aims to understand how Conestoga students experience and interact with the academic appeals process and work to improve the academic appeals process by providing the necessary resources to support students in all matters related to academic fairness. Whether a student is going through the process of appealing a grade and needs guidance on how to navigate the process or would like more hands-on assistance in the latter stages of the appeals process, this project will research how to best aid students in the educational experience, and ensure their academic journey is seamless.

STATUS

Complete.
Research and student consultations have been completed. Please read the final report below.

DISCLAIMER: The recommendations contained within this report are for the consideration of CSI’s Executive Team and/or Board of Directors. These recommendations are not guaranteed to be adopted and/or implemented by CSI. An individual or collective action plan (such as CSI’s Strategic Plan) will be created and published in the future which may or may not include these suggested recommendations.

 

CSI Year-End Survey

The CSI Year-End Survey is issued annually to our student membership to understand their interests and needs better. The lived experience of the student population at Conestoga College is the primary concern of Conestoga Students Incorporated (CSI).

As an organization, our mission is to enhance student satisfaction and success by providing a variety of student services, taking measures to ensure our student members feel supported and secure in their educational experience. We take the insights gained from this survey to assist in the CSI Board of Director’s strategic planning process. This information is then used to develop CSI’s annual strategic plan and influence program planning and delivery.

See the result’s of our previous CSI Year-End Survey Reports below:

DISCLAIMER: The recommendations contained within this report are for the consideration of CSI’s Executive Team and/or Board of Directors. These recommendations are not guaranteed to be adopted and/or implemented by CSI. An individual or collective action plan (such as CSI’s Strategic Plan) will be created and published in the future which may or may not include these suggested recommendations.

 

CSI's 2024 Ontario Pre-Budget Submission

CSI has submitted 5 recommendations to the Government of Ontario for the 2024 Ontario Budget focused on making life easier for students! They include:

  • Increasing operating grant funding for instituitons
  • Increasing grants for low-income students through OSAP
  • Creating funding opportunities for affordable student housing
  • Improving food security by addressing financial insecurity
  • Improving interregional transportation between Brantford, Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph, and the GTA.

These recommendations were submitted based on the feedback received from our Student Advisory Committees, CSI Year-End Survey, and research. Learn more about our recommendations by reading our pre-budget submission!

Ministry of Finance 

CSI President Nelson Chukwuma met with the Minister of Finance on January 8, 2024 to highlight recommendations focused on transforming the student experience for those in Ontario for the 2024 Ontario Budget. CSI is committed to collaborating with the Government of Ontario to implement these measures to shape a brighter future for Conestoga’s students. 

 

Past Advocacy Efforts 

2021/22 CEC and CAAT-A Bargaining 

When bargaining negotiations broke down between the CEC and CAAT-A Faculty, CSI began to take proactive measures to ensure students were informed about the current state of the negotiations at all times and worked with other student associations across the province to call on both parties to continue negotiating and put students first. These efforts included the creation of a bargaining information page, frequent meetings with Conestoga College administration and Conestoga’s Local Union Representatives, letters to both bargaining teams and the province, and developing internal response plans to ensure additional supports would be available for students should a strike occur.

 

Contact Us 

CSI will share opportunities for students to get involved and advocate with us regarding ongoing initiatives on our social media, website, and other communication channels as they become available.

Submit your feedback on any ongoing initiatives to csiadvocacy@conestogac.on.ca

 

 

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