An integral part of the work done by NISU is campaigning for student issues at the local and provincial level. NISU works closely with the BC Federation of Students (BCFS) and other member Locals around the province on a variety of issues that affect all students.
We are always looking for members who want to volunteer with NISU on local and provincial campaigns. For more information on how to volunteer or on any of our campaigns, members can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Current Local and Provincial Campaigns
Knock Out Interest On Student Loans!
Charging interest on student loans forces those who need student loans to pay more for their education than someone who could afford to pay tuition fees upfront. This is essentially a tax on low and middle-income students and families.
Plenty of other industries offer 0% interest loans, and people still pay back their loans. You can buy a laptop or car on a payment plan with no interest, why shouldn’t this be an option for your education?
Grants Not Loans
Campaign Victory! The BC government’s 2020 Budget has students and educators celebrating the introduction of an up-front, need-based student grant program. The BC Access Grant is the first of its kind in BC in nearly two decades and will help reduce student loan debt for thousands of British Columbians every year. The BC Access Grant will be $41 million annually, which is projected to assist 40,000 students each year; it will be funded through a combination of reinvestments of existing assistance measures and a new investment of $24 million over three years. Complementing the Canada Access Grant, the BC Access Grant will ensure eligible students receive as much as $4,000 in non-repayable financial aid in each year of their studies.
Fairness for International Students
International students are a valuable part of post-secondary education in BC, and the province relies heavily on international fees to fund post-secondary. However, international student fees are virtually unregulated, and institutions can raise fees by any amount, at any time, without any warning. International students deserve predictability and fairness, or they might choose to attend college or university in another province or country.
Reconciliation Through Education
Indigenous students face issues with educational attainment and participation in post-secondary education across Canada. In recent years, despite the increasing proportion of Indigenous people with university degrees, the attainment gap with non-Indigenous people has been widening, not shrinking. Many of the disadvantages facing Indigenous peoples such as unemployment and lower incomes can be traced back to that gap. Join our campaign to make reconciliation through education a top priority for the BC government.
Aunt Flow Pilot Project
You don’t have to pay for toilet paper, so why should you have to pay for tampons and pads? NISU is experimenting with providing free menstruation products to students of all genders in Tyee building on NIC’s Courtenay campus. We’re working with Aunt Flow to provide the best experience for our members by using products that are better for your body and better for the environment!
Open Textbooks Now!
The high cost of textbooks is creating obstacles for students to be successful in classes. Since 2002, the cost of textbooks has nearly doubled. An alternative solution is the implementation of Open Education Resources (OER). OERs come in many forms: full courses, lesson plans, videos, exams, and textbooks. These are available in digital formats for free or in print at a very low cost. In the past 5 years, open textbooks have saved students more than $6 million; more funding and instructor adoption will result in more materials and save students money one class at a time!
Let’s Get Consensual!
The Federation has joined the University of Victoria, the University of Victoria Students’ Society, and the Anti-Violence Project to fight against the prevalence of rape culture and sexualized violence through their Let’s Get Consensual campaign. The campaign focuses on building consent culture on campus and having conversations about what consent is, to build a better campus community.
Your students’ union supports equal rights and a safe learning environment for all students. Our Equity (Unlearn) campaign is about seeking to end sexism, racism, ableism, transphobia, and homophobia on campus. Sometimes we adopt beliefs without realizing it, so it’s important that we identify and Unlearn our negative and discriminatory beliefs and behaviors. We’re all learning, so let’s learn how to make our society and campuses better and more inclusive! Stop by the NISU office for pins and stickers and show your support for equity.
Local and Provincial Campaign Victories
Don’t Tax My Loans
BC Budget 2019 has eliminated interest charged on BC student loans! This change will not only help current and future students but also those who have completed their studies and are paying back their loans.
We did this together – people across the province have been asking for the elimination of interest on student loans for years! This government heard our calls and made it happen.
Vote YES: Leave the CFS
For years, BC students’ unions had tried to reform the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) from within. When a change was deemed impossible, BC locals sought to leave the CFS, an organization that consistently violated its own bylaws, discriminated against BC locals, and mismanaged services and membership dues. NISU members submitted a petition asking for a referendum to leave the CFS in 2016. When our referendum was denied in 2017, NISU held a plebiscite asking members if they still wanted to leave the CFS. With over 20% turnout, 99% of NISU members voted to leave the CFS. Nearly all other BC locals held similar successful petitions and plebiscites. On June 9, 2018, a motion was passed at the CFS national general meeting to expel all BC member locals, freeing us up to focus all our energy on campaigns, services, and advocacy.
Fight for $15
NISU joined the provincial campaign in the call for a $15 minimum wage by distributing information to its members and encouraging students and the community to sign petitions. NISU staff and elected representatives also gave several presentations to government committees. In February 2018, the BC provincial government announced that the minimum wage would see incremental increases over the following years, reaching $15 an hour by 2021.
K’ómoks Valley Campus Parking Fees
After NIC implemented parking fees on the K’ómoks Valley campus in the Fall of 2016, NISU worked hard with members to make sure student voices and concerns were heard by the college. Thanks to the continued lobbying of students, on September 28, 2017 the NIC Board of Governors voted to discontinue paid parking!
Don’t Close the Doors
In collaboration with BCFS member locals across the province, NISU actively campaigned for the reinstatement of funding for Adult Basic Education and English Language Learning. As a whole, BCFS member locals made over 30 presentations to governments, received 23 city council endorsements, and signed over 10,000 postcards and petitions. On August 8, 2017, the BC provincial government announced the reinstatement of funding for ABE and ELL.
Squash the Squeeze
Squash the Squeeze was a provincial campaign of the BC Federation of Students that focused directly on funding cuts by the provincial government affecting Post-Secondary education. On August 1, 2017, the BC provincial government cut the student loan interest rate 2.5% to prime and committed to completely eliminate interest on student loans in the future.
Students are Voting
After a successful campaign getting students out to the polls in the 2015 Federal election, BCFS member locals resolved to gather pledges from students to get out and vote and make sure that post-secondary education issues were important topics in the 2015 BC provincial election. Turnout for voters under the age of 45 rose from 45.1% in 2013 to 51.7% in 2017!
Health & Dental
In March 2015, the Students’ Union held a referendum for members to vote on implementation of a health and dental benefits plan similar to those at other colleges and universities in BC. The results of the referendum were overwhelmingly positive with 97% of students voting to create the benefits service for full-time students. The Students’ Union worked hard in the spring of 2015 to ensure that this service would be available to NIC students by September 2015. Not only was this goal achieved, but the Students’ Union was also successful in negotiating a plan that costs less per year than the amount authorized by the referendum by working with other student unions in the BCFS to combine benefits plans.
Water Bottle Filling Stations
In September 2011, members of the North Island Students’ Union began lobbying the college for a commitment to make a progressive and sustainable change. The result was a commitment to install public water bottle filling stations at NIC campuses and centers.