The Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) held a successful “fight the fees” protest on Nov. 2, where students gathered to support the free tuition movement. While this event saw a lot of student participation and attracted some media attention, how can the SFUO use this recent success to campaign for lower tuition in the future?
Our student federation has already been involved in national campaigns, but wouldn’t it be peachy if the SFUO could help keep this momentum going past Nov. 2?
The SFUO can easily help move students forward by fostering engagement, helping students unchain each other from watching Netflix to go to a town hall or other politically charged events.
First off, an information session would be great. More often than not, most students don’t understand what’s going on, so by organizing such an official sit-down session on campus they could answer important questions like: why is free tuition important? How can students help out?
After all, the SFUO is mostly populated by individuals who care about students and work doggedly for dreams far into the future, so it’s always disappointing to see their hard work go to waste with events like the General Assembly.
The SFUO could also show students some positive examples by giving them access to passionate speakers, films, and other media that focus on the issue of lowering tuition and the variety of ways students can get involved.
The SFUO is not solely focused on free education. However, they can continue to advocate for it past arbitrary dates and encourage lower tuition in their own way. If they can give out free food too, that would be great.
In the lead-up to the “fight the fees protest,” the SFUO was very effective in promoting the event on social media. They posted constantly to give students information, and had lots of video content. So why stop now that the protest is over?
At a recent Board of Administration meeting, SFUO president Romeo Ahimakin said that the Nov. 2 protest was successful, but that he wanted to keep pushing forward with the issue, and more social media posts is one way to help do that.
Posting more information about different aspects of the tuition issue, for example its effects on local students versus international students, can inform a wider audience and inspire them to take action.
The SFUO campaigns department also tends to work with a variety of volunteers who are passionate about student issues, and social media could also be a great platform to get multiple perspectives out there when it comes to big issues like tuition.
The student executive should also continue to send out emails to the student body en masse, which is a great way to make sure students who don’t have social media or don’t follow the SFUO don’t slip through the cracks.