What are some ways to cultivate community?
We are looking for a feature work of art on that theme for the RPIRG Green Patch garden. Our Student Public Art Competition is now open. The winner will receive a $1500 fee and the art work will be unveiled at our Harvest Celebration in September! More details here.
On the anniversary of Victoria and Ihuoma’s entry into sanctuary, there is a call out to write public letters of support for these students. More information about their case can be found here.
Letter of Public Support for Victoria Ordu and Ihuoma Amadi
From the Regina Public Interest Research Group
We are the board members and staff of the Regina Public Interest Group, a student funded resource centre at the University of Regina committed to social and environmental justice. We are writing to express our support for Victoria Ordu and Ihuoma Amadi, the two Nigerian students from the University of Regina who are facing deportation for unknowingly violating the terms of their student visas.
We support the call for their penalty of deportation to be reconsidered. We believe the sanction, for working two weeks at WalMart without a proper permit, is far too severe, and ask that other common penalties, such as fines or fees, be applied instead.
We join with many other organizations and members of the public in asking for leniency. The University of Regina continues to support these students, as do the sponsors of the students’ scholarship. Politicians from across parties and jurisdictions have spoken publicly in support of the students, including MP Ralph Goodale (Liberal), MLA Bill Boyd (Sask Party), and MLA Cam Broten (NDP). As a non-profit focused on social justice, we support the public in their belief that the students deserve a second chance and the ability to finish their university degrees – which are already more than half completed – because of the positive impact these degrees will have on their future in Nigeria.
We support a just and fair treatment of these two women, commensurate with their transgression.
On behalf of the Regina Public Interest Research Group
The Regina Public Interest Research Group was disappointed to learn on Monday that posters advertising Israeli Apartheid Week on the public bulletin boards on the U of R campus had been removed by an unauthorized person or persons.
Items posted on the URSU boards are under the supervision of the University of Regina Students’ Union and formal complaints about posters can be made to the appropriate representatives. Circumventing this process and removing posters to stifle debate is not only a strike against free speech. It also degrades the university’s stated values of a “commitment to academic freedom in our work and interaction” and its role to “illuminate socially relevant problems.”
There is much debate over the opinions expressed through Israeli Apartheid Week. RPIRG believes that this debate is vital to a functioning democracy, and decries the silencing of voices on the issue. IAW activities this week are open to all, and include a teach-in, films, and panel discussions, all of which are receptive of diverse opinions. In a university setting, where critical analysis is considered paramount, inquiring minds should be able to engage with divergent ideas and be allowed to form their own opinions. When posters are taken down, this robs students, staff and faculty of the ability to work with these perspectives; this ultimately means opinions may remain poorly-formed or founded, and our local and global community suffers due to less understanding.
The issue is timely given Minister Kenney’s statement yesterday that asserts IAW activities on campuses often “censor other points of view, and limit academic discourse.” RPIRG believes that no one should be silenced from expressing a respectful opinion, and encourages the public to attend IAW activities and respectfully engage with the issues.
RPIRG is having its Annual General Election!
We are now accepting nominations for four Board of Director positions! The RPIRG Board of Directors is composed of 8 Student Members of RPIRG. It is the decision-making body of RPIRG, which makes all major decisions regarding finances, long-term goals, long-term viability of the organization, staffing, and funding applications.
For more information about RPIRG, and our Board of Directors, please visit our About Us pages.
Nominations Open – February 25 @ 9:00 a.m.
Nominations Close – March 11 @ 3:00 p.m.
Campaigning – March 11 – March 18
Online Voting – March 20 & 21
To run for our Board of Directors, please download and complete the election nomination form.
A READING WITH AUTHOR MARCELLO DICINTO
Tuesday, 26 February 2013
7:00 pm-9:00 pm
Artful Dodger Cafe & Music Emporium
1631 11th Avenue, Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 0H5
*Finalist for the 2012 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing*
=> This is a free event. Books will be available for purchase.
Walls: Travels Along the Barricades tells the stories of those who live on the world’s hardened edges, in the shadows of walls in the Western Sahara, Israel/Palestine, Belfast, on the U.S.-Mexico border, or in the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. Join award-winning writer Marcello DiCinto on February 26 for a reading book launch.
About the book:
“In this ambitious blend of travel and reportage, Marcello Di Cintio travels to the world’s most disputed edges to meet the people who live alongside the razor wire and answer the question: What does it mean to live against the walls?
Di Cintio shares tea with Saharan refugees on the wrong side of Morocco’s desert wall. He meets with Punjabi migrants who have circumvented the fencing around the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. He visits fenced-in villages in northeast India, walks Arizona’s migrant trails, and travels to Palestinian villages to witness the protests against Israel’s security barrier.
From Native American reservations on the US-Mexico border and the “Great Wall of Montreal” to Cyprus’s divided capital and the Peace Lines of Belfast, Di Cintio seeks to understand what these structures say about those who build them and how they influence the cultures that they surround. Some walls define “us” from “them” with medieval clarity. Some walls encourage fear or feed hate. Others kill. And every wall inspires its own subversion, whether by the infiltrators who dare to go over, under or around them, or by the artists who transform them.”
=> Sponsored by Briarpatch Magazine, the Regina Public Interest Research Group, and the Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation
Making Ripples: An Active Citizen Workshop
Thursday, Feb. 21
Core Ritchie Neighbourhood Centre
– 445 14th Avenue
Making Ripples gives you the opportunity to talk to active community members about their passion. Fifteen active citizens will discuss their work, how they got started, what inspires and sustains them, and how people can find their own roles in the community.
You’ll hear from people who work on a wide range of topics: poverty in Regina, women’s and gender equality, food security, HIV and AIDS, child welfare, engagement of ‘at-risk’ youth, Palestine solidarity, and the labour movement – to name a few!
The format of the workshop will be small group discussions: you will self-select a table with a community member for discussion, and have the opportunity to move to a different table with a different speaker after thirty minutes. The format is repeated for another 30 minutes. At 2:00, the main facilitator will call everyone’s attention back and facilitate a large room discussion that gives people (including facilitators) a chance to share what they’ve heard/learned/shared at their tables.
Please pre-register by emailing Arts.Cares@uregina.ca.
Lunch is provided to registrants.
RPIRG, in conjunction with Students Against Austerity – Regina, presents the following forum. As well, scroll down to see related activities leading up to the forum.
Academic Program Review: Open Forum for Student Concerns
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Multipurpose Room, Riddell Centre
By now, many students know that the University of Regina is currently undergoing an Academic Program Review. This is a years-long process where the University is responding to a tightening budget by looking at cutting and/or consolidating many programs that are now offered. This means that in coming years, options for class selections, majors and minors, or even entire degree programs may no longer be available.
Many students are concerned about this. On Thursday the 24th, join us to relay your concerns to Tom Chase, VP Academic and Provost for the APR process. This will be a chance for you to explain your concerns and raise your questions directly to the APR team.
We believe that student input should be a valuable and critical aspect of any decisions made about the future of our University. Make sure your voice is heard.
For background info on what the APR process has done so far, check out the U of R website at http://www.uregina.ca/president/executive-team/provost-vp-academic/academic-program-review/updates.html
Facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/events/542180365801400/
Small Group Discussions to learn and share ideas about the APR and university’s future
Wednesday, January 23 in CK 185 at 10:30 and in the URSU boardroom at 1:30 and 3:30.
Fruit for Thought is one of RPIRG’s best-known working groups. Their mission is to create awareness of environmentally sustainable behaviours and reduce food waste while contributing to the community.
This past season, Fruit for Thought harvested over 30 trees in Regina, and somewhere between 2250-3000 lbs of fruit. They donated apples and processed goods to Transition House, Souls Harbour, Chili for Children, Salvation Army, YWCA, Five Directions and the Food Bank.
Fruit for Thought was recognized by the Regional Centre of Expertise on Sustainable Development on June 7, 2012. They received acknowledgement for having a project that contributes to creating and raising awareness of sustainable food practices in Saskatchewan.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, or check out their website.
Our annual social justice conference, Apathy into Action, will take place January 17th-19th 2013. The 17th and 18th will feature sessions on various social and environmental issues facing our community, and the 19th will feature full-day training sessions to help prepare you to take on these issues.
All details are now confirmed and online! Take a look at the event page for more information!
Our Resources section has now been updated with materials from past events and current campaigns! If you’re looking for audio or visual materials, background info about an issue, and more, check out our Resources page here.
More updates will be happening periodically, so make sure to check back in the future too!