Event to focus on lowering cost of tuition, accessible education

On Thursday, Feb. 1, the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) will host their province-wide Day of Action across postsecondary campuses in Ontario, to bring awareness to the difficulties and issues that students face while accessing higher education.  

This year’s Day of Action will focus on universal accessibility to postsecondary education for all students and eliminating systemic barriers that do not allow for people to access education, educational justice, and public education. It will also focus on the elimination of student tuition fees, the relief of student debt, and increasing funding for postsecondary education.

The CFS is the largest student organization in the country and comprises of more the 650,000 students nationwide,  advocating on a wide range of issues that affect students such as ending sexual violence on campuses, ending the privatization of campuses, and creating a more accessible campus for persons with disabilities.

James Casey, the University of Ottawa field organizer for the CFS, has been tabling on campus and talking to students in different classrooms for the past five months, to shed a light on what the group does and the student issues they are advocating for.

“One of the biggest issues that I face is hearing from students that I talk to tell me that they love the work that the CFS is doing and want to help volunteer, but they had no idea about the organization before I talked to them about it,” he says. “Not many students know who we are and that is part of the problem when trying to outreach to students.”

Casey, and the CFS at large, are hoping to see a shift in student engagement with the help of the Day of Action.

“I am expecting to see a lot of students being engaged and talked to by myself and other volunteers,” Casey said. “The (Student Federation of the University of Ottawa) has some exciting announcements and events orchestrated for the Day of Action, which I am expecting a lot of students to turnout to. We are hoping to see lots of students signing up with us, and on other campuses across the province, and engaging with as many students as possible to make sure that everyone knows about our awesome campaigns and work that we do.”

For Casey, one of the most important things he hopes to cultivate through his work with the CFS is awareness of student debt.

“I think that it is important for people to know that on average students graduate with over $28,000 of education-related debt after an undergraduate degree,” he says. “This is simply not acceptable. Students cannot continue to fight rising tuition fees and interest rates, as well as significant decreases in funding.”

For more information about how to get involved with the CFS, you can find them on Facebook.