RPIRG News & Events


RPIRG AGM & “Education is a Right” Art Build/Banner Making Workshop

The Regina Public Interest Research Group (RPIRG), your social and environmental justice student centre, will hold its annual AGM on Thursday, September 19th at 11:30am in the URSU Multipurpose room. Please see the agenda here.

All members of RPIRG are encouraged to attend to:

  • be updated on what we’ve been up to in the past year
  • vote on some key decisions (financial statements, auditor, policy changes, and more)
  • learn more about what we do and how we serve students
  • learn how you can get involved
  • make recommendations on how we operate or what kind of programs or events you’d like to see

After the meeting stay for the FREE PIZZA and sweet Fabric-Banner Making Workshop!

Who is a member of RPIRG? Anyone who is currently a registered UofR student (unless you have opted-out), and community members who have purchased a community membership.

About the workshop:

This hands-on workshop is designed to teach you how to build a large high quality fabric banner for all your campaign and direct action needs. The workshop will also provide information on banner messaging, tactics, and campaign strategies. As a hands-on example, we will be working together to make a high quality banner that reads “Education is a Right!” for use by any and all RPIRG members working to fight the rising cost of post-secondary education!

The workshop will take approximately 3 hours, but we understand if you need to come and go for classes and other commitments!  

To access our meeting minutes, annual reports, and other information click here

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RPIRG is hiring a 2021 Summer Orchard Assistant!

RPIRG is now accepting applications from UofR students for a 10 week contract as our summer Orchard Assistant!

The Orchard Assistant will carry out annual summer maintenance as well as updating reports for our campus perennial orchard, adjacent to the RPIRG Green Patch.

Application deadline: 12pm on Tuesday, May 18

Contract start and weekly hours: 10 weeks starting approx. June 7, 2021, 30 hours per week

For the full job posting please view here.

Please note: This position is open only to UofR students, including those currently registered through Campion College, Luther College, and FNU. As well, this role is being funded through Canada Summer Jobs and as such is unfortunately not open to International students. More details about eligibility can be found in the posting above.

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RPIRG request for proposals for new website and logo design

Today RPIRG is launching a request for proposals (RFP) for an updated website and new logo design.

We are seeking:

  • a cleaner, more practical website and logo
  • a more accessible website
  • an updated template that better serves our current needs
  • to work with a person or organization that has experience with nonprofit clients of a similar size and mandate

RFP and project timeline:

  • Submissions open: April 26, 2021
  • Final day to submit questions: May 5, 2021
  • Deadline to apply: 12pm May 7, 2021
  • Evaluation of proposals: May 7-12, 2021
  • Final proposal selection: May 12, 2021
  • Notification of decision to all bidders: May 13, 2021
  • May 12, 2021: winning bidder selected
  • May 13-19, 2021: arranging and signing of contract with successful bidder
  • May 20-July 2, 2021: Design of new website and logo

Please see a pdf version of the full RFP here. Please send all inquiries or proposals to Krystal Lewis (she/her) at info@rpirg.org.

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WE ARE HIRING – 2021 GREEN PATCH COORDINATOR

Job Description: 2021 RPIRG Green Patch Coordinator

________________

**This position is ONLY being offered to current University of Regina students, including those registered through Campion College, Luther College, and the First Nations University of Canada**

The RPIRG Green Patch is a 5400 sq ft vegetable garden behind the Dr. John Archer Library at the University of Regina. It’s a source of sustainable, locally grown organic food – part of a campus movement for community engagement and sustainable development. The Green Patch also includes an adjacent perennial orchard that was planted in spring 2019.

The Green Patch is run by the Regina Public Interest Research Group (RPIRG), a student-run, student-funded non-profit organization dedicated to community-based research, education, and action. RPIRG exists to provide its members with the resources to be active and engaged campus and community members and has been in operation since 2007.

We are seeking a knowledgeable and self-motivated student to supervise and coordinate the 10th season of the RPIRG Green Patch.

For more Green Patch information, please visit our website www.rpirg.org/greenpatch or follow on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RPIRGGreenPatch

Responsibilities

  • Recruiting and managing volunteers for garden planting, maintenance, harvesting, and distribution of produce
  • Manage and work alongside other potential garden staff
  • Planning garden plot contents and leading spring planting
  • Ensuring the general maintenance and tidiness of the garden and maintaining detailed records
  • Participating in and reporting to regular staff meetings and creating activity reports
  • Engage in campus and community outreach to raise awareness of the garden – including giving tours, liaising on potential research projects, connecting with existing and potential community partners, and assisting with 10th anniversary special programming
  • Producing a post-harvest report with a summary of activities and future recommendations
  • For 2021: assisting with the planning and coordination of special 10th anniversary programming

 

Skills and abilities needed (in rough priority order)

  • Knowledge of planting seasons and ideal growing conditions for various plants and vegetables in the southern prairies
  • Knowledge of organic garden upkeep and maintenance, including watering, weeding, pest management
  • Experience planting and harvesting a variety of plants and vegetables
  • Volunteer management, recruitment, and retention
  • Interest in and willingness to work in a leadership/management role with student and community volunteers and garden staff
  • Self-motivated, ability to work with little supervision while taking directions from staff
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Outreach and training strategies an asset
  • Computer skills (word processing, spreadsheets, social media) an asset
  • Event and workshop planning an asset
  • This position requires a considerable amount of physical labour – not necessarily heavy lifting, but lots of bending, squatting, handling produce, and more. The Green Patch is not currently accessible to most wheelchair or other mobility devices.

RPIRG does not expect a successful candidate to have strong levels of experience in all of the above listed skills, and will provide any needed training and support.

Contract Period:  Approximately April 21 – October 6, 2021

Hours of Work: 30 hours per week. Hours are flexible, and space for doing administrative work can be arranged or can be done from home with some reimbursement for work from home expenses.

Location of work: University of Regina main campus – Regina, Saskatchewan

Remuneration: $20/hour plus vacation pay and paid sick days. Opportunities for professional development are also available.

Application Deadline: Monday, April 5, 2021 at 9am 

**RPIRG actively encourages and prioritizes applications from people who self-identify as being part of groups, communities, or having identities that experience barriers to equity.**

To apply, please prepare the following:

  • Resume and Cover Letter, all in one document – please include your name in the title of the document. Your cover letter should explain how your skills and experience will benefit you specifically in this role, and ideally speak to how you would approach coordinating this project
  • Contact information of two references

And send it to:

Krystal Lewis, Executive Director (pronouns: she/her)

Regina Public Interest Research Group (RPIRG)

info@rpirg.org

If you would prefer to apply in a different way or have questions about this position, please contact Krystal with the email address above to discuss.

**This position is ONLY being offered to current University of Regina students, including those registered through Campion College, Luther College, and the First Nations University of Canada**

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Candidates Announced for 2021 RPIRG Board Election

This gallery contains 6 photos.

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 application approval – … Continue reading

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RPIRG launches new dedicated BIPOC grants streams for racial justice and community safety and wellbeing

**updated May 2021**

RPIRG is pleased to announce the launch of new dedicated grant funding for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) students and community members.

The following new grant programs are open exclusively to self-identified racialized students and Regina residents. They are meant to specifically fund:

  • Racial justice organizing/advocacy/research being done individually or as part of groups, collectives, and organizations based in Regina (or led by UofR students in Saskatchewan more broadly)
  • General health, wellbeing, and safety of racialized students and Regina residents

Please note: we are running these new grants as a pilot project until February 28, 2022 – We will use feedback from the pilot to assess for any needed adjustments (amount of funding, scope, etc,) and continue this program moving forward.

Categories

Urgent need for personal health or legal costs

This is a grant to support personal or household urgent one-time healthcare or legal costs, such as seeking legal advice, cost of legal documents, accessing gender-affirming surgery, having to take unpaid time off work for bereavement or family care support, etc. This category is open to RPIRG BIPOC student members only, including those registered through the UofR, Campion, Luther, and FNU.

Deadline to apply: on a rolling basis until fund is empty

Amount: up to $100/individual and $200/household

Community Service Microgrants

This is a grant to support smaller scale racial justice or community safety and wellbeing initiatives, that can include personal or group training, attending conferences or gatherings, advocacy or research. This category is open to RPIRG BIPOC student members as well as BIPOC Regina residents.

Deadline to apply: on a rolling basis until fund is empty

Amount: up to $200

Community Service Large Grants

This is a grant to support larger scale racial justice and community safety and wellbeing initiatives, that can include personal or group training, attending conferences or gatherings, advocacy or graduate research. This category is open to RPIRG BIPOC student members as well as BIPOC Regina residents.

Deadlines to apply: Feb 1, Mar 1, July 1, Oct 1, Nov 1

Maximum amounts

  • training/conference/gatherings – up to $600/person or $2000 for group for 4 or more people
  • Grad research – up to $800
  • All other programming initiatives – no maximum amount*

*please note: like with other RPIRG grants, for applications seeking more than $1500 there is less of a chance that will be able to fully fund them, depending on how many applications we receive throughout the year. This is not mentioned to discourage anyone from applying, but rather to help applicants in planning their budgets.

Eligibility

Besides the fund being only open to BIPOC student and Regina residents, all of the eligibility criteria for the above listed grants are the same as for other RPIRG grants of the same category. To learn more about all of our funding grants and eligibility, and apply, please visit our funding page.

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RPIRG presentation to Jan 27, 2021 city council meeting re: Sponsorship Naming Rights & Advertising Policy

Below is the full presentation notes that RPIRG had prepared for today’s city council meeting. We wish we had the chance to read it in full, but talking about the outsized influence of the province and industry on our ability to even talk about divestment from sponsorship was deemed not germaine to the discussion.


We don’t fully agree with this condition. When considering how valuable it is or not to accept sponsorship from fossil fuel companies, we think that it’s important to point out that they have an outsized influence on how oil and gas are talked about.


We encourage you to reach out to your city councillors to show support for not only today’s amendment, but to say you look forward to them talking about this more in the future!

We feel it is a bit ironic that one of the key points we wanted to highlight was how people are often silenced in this province for talking about phasing out oil and gas because of the influence and power it has, but this was dismissed.


Good afternoon everyone, I’m Krystal Lewis and I’m the Executive Director of the Regina Public Interest Research Group (RPIRG), a resource centre at the university of regina with a membership of over 15000 students. We encourage and promote research and action towards social and environmental justice both on our campus and in Regina. RPIRG was a big supporter of all the efforts that went into adopting the renewable city motion a few years ago, and we also work predominantly with young people who will be the leaders, workers, and policy makers of the future.

I’m here today to talk about how encouraging it is to see that this council is talking about divestment and making good on the renewable city motion, and clear up some common industry misconceptions that get relentlessly repeated by everyone in this province. I also want to bring to your attention the hard work of the many young people in our city who have already been having these conversations and are already far ahead of us on planning for the future.

First of all, to even see this amendment introduced and talked about, already shows a very encouraging change in culture on council. I also want to add to the argument for you to continue having these conversations, and not let actions of the Premier discourage you. Having these tough conversations helps to expand our window of imagination on what our future can look like, which is good leadership.

TO THAT EFFECT, I’d like to quickly dismiss the 3 main industry misconceptions that are always pulled out whenever anyone tries to talk about divestment and phasing out oil and gas. I’m sure many of you are aware of these but I thought it would be good to challenge them on the record.

a) phasing out oil and gas is only anti-worker if you don’t care about or have never imagined supporting workers through a transition to other jobs. Starting to plan for this now means we can have a lot more time to figure out what those supports can look like.

b) the economy will not suddenly implode as we move away from oil and gas – yes it will require some tough decisions and changing hearts and minds which is hard work but in the long term it’s better to plan for a divestment and phase out now than to continue to scramble at the last minute during the next bust or when these companies move on to the next profit making industry.

c) and now the most absurd and patronizing misconception – the idea that we are hypocrites for driving a car or whatever if we demand alternatives to oil and gas. This one presupposes that all of the ideas and innovation humanity has ever devised appeared out of thin air, and not from people imagining better and working towards it.

The above misconceptions are not only misleading, they are also wilfully divisive, and I think you’d be hard pressed to find many examples of our government or industry publicly trying to correct them.

Look at the sea of delegates from industry lining up to deter you from this – they’ve directed all these energy and resources and lobbying at you, and all for a relatively minor amendment. And their influence extends to having the Premier leap to respond in just a few hours – a swiftness of response that I’m sure the city would love to have on other important issues.

A single industry SHOULD NOT have that kind of influence and power over our collective imaginations. All of us, including all of you on council, have the right to demand a safer, healthier world without intimidation. As a province and as a country we have to be stronger and break through the wall of silence and dismissal that exists when talking about moving away from non-renewable energy.

*In advance of the last federal election, climate change was identified through polling as the second most important issue for voters. This tells us that this conversation isn’t going away, people want to talk about it, and we need to take it more seriously. There are already many youth in this city who have been talking about and organizing events and teach-ins all about a more sustainable future, most visibly the Fridays for Future youth who have been regularly meeting and talking for the last couple of years. These young people want movement on this and are less afraid to talk about it.

In closing, I look forward to hearing more serious conversation about these kinds of issues from council, it encourages me and makes me want to be a lot more engaged at the municipal level. We need to be courageous in our thinking, not just for ourselves but also for the leaders of tomorrow who will be dealing with the consequences of our decisions today.

*https://www.ipsos.com/en-ca/news-polls/Health-Care-Continues-to-Be-Top-Issue-for-Canadians  

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New *online* board election nomination form

Due to the university being closed, RPIRG has moved to having a fully online board nomination form starting this winter 2021 semester.

Any RPIRG student (students at the UofR, Luther, Campion, or FNU) who has not opted-out of membership is eligible to run as a candidate.

To learn more about the role of the RPIRG board of directors, our election process, and how to submit a nomination form, please visit our election page.

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2020 Regina municipal election survey results!

RPIRG was keen to hear from Regina municipal election candidates about their platform and values. We wanted to learn how, if elected, their work will impact post-secondary students living and attending university in Regina – to help students and community members decide who they might want to vote for or support in other ways (volunteer on campaign, donate, etc.). To do this, we drafted a short survey about a broad range of topics and sent them to all municipal candidates running for mayor or city council positions.

Instead of employing a grading system or endorsing candidates, we have highlighted what RPIRG feels are the stronger parts (highlighted in green) of each candidate’s response, based on our organizational values. In some cases, we have elaborated with notes below a response when needed (highlighted in red). We highly encourage you to do more research on candidates before voting for them or getting involved in their campaigns.

Below are the answers we received, copied and pasted verbatim from the candidates who filled out the survey. We have grouped responses by mayoral candidates and each ward. Please note that not all candidates responded to us – if you would like to see the full list of candidates running for mayor or in your ward and their platforms, please visit regina.ca/elections.

Finally, thank you to all candidates who took the time to complete this survey! We appreciate you providing feedback on these important issues.

CLICK HERE TO SEE CANDIDATE RESPONSES

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Outreach and Events Coordinator job posting

Job Posting: Outreach & Events Coordinator

The Regina Public Interest Research Group (RPIRG) is a student-run, student-funded non-profit organization dedicated to community-based research, education, action and awareness on social and environmental justice issues. RPIRG exists to provide its members with the resources to be active citizens on the University of Regina campus and in the greater community. RPIRG has been in operation since 2007. For more information, visit www.rpirg.org.

The Outreach and Events Coordinator is responsible for coordinating RPIRG’s student and community outreach and events, as well as managing overall communications.

**This position is only open to students at the University of Regina, including federated colleges (FNUniv, Campion, and Luther)**

Responsibilities (in order of workplan priority)

  • Reporting: maintain appropriate planning documents for all activities, engage in consistent check-ins with Executive Director and other staff or volunteers
  • Manage and build campus and community network: establish and maintain contacts with students, campus groups, faculty, and community groups for outreach and support purposes
  • Communications and marketing: promotion of RPIRG student opportunities and events, creating and ordering PR materials 
  • Event coordination: coordinate logistics for RPIRG’s events, including Disorientation Week, Annual General Meetings, board elections, Winter Power Up conference, and other campaigns. This includes some minor budget management and ensuring board and staff attendance as needed
  • Working with board members: lead monthly communications committee meetings and provide relevant information to the board. Follow up with board and staff to ensure timely completion of tasks
  • Managing RPIRG’s online presence including updating the website and managing social media accounts
  • Co-manage RPIRG resources: with Executive Director, co-manage lending of RPIRG library materials, sound system and megaphone, and button maker
  • Volunteer coordination: recruitment, retention and communication with RPIRG volunteers

Qualifications

Note: we acknowledge that applicants might not have every qualification listed here, and are willing to train and support the right candidate to develop the necessary skills in a reasonable amount of time.

Minimum qualifications:

  • Demonstrated project management skills including leadership, coordination, strong time management, budgeting, and excellent oral and written communication
  • Demonstrated ability to work without a lot of supervision
  • Strong interpersonal communication skills
  • Marketing and promotion experience
  • Computer skills (internet, word processing, spreadsheets, basic graphic design, website editing, newsletters, social media)
  • Understanding of power and privilege, principles of anti-oppression

Additional qualifications:

  • Volunteer management, recruitment and retention
  • Knowledge of non-profit governance structures, consensus-based decision making processes, working with a volunteer board
  • Knowledge of social and environmental justice issues relevant to students and/or wider Regina community

Work environment

  • Currently the RPIRG office is closed due to COVID-19 and permanent staff are working from home. When we reopen, all permanent staff are expected to be working in the office at minimum during open office hours. Outside of open office hours some flexibility can be negotiated for working from home. Some attendance and coordination at RPIRG events outside of office hours are required for this position.
  • The RPIRG office is small with only two permanent staff (this position and the Executive Director), as well as occasional contract staff. The permanent positions work closely together and occasionally negotiate sharing/swapping of tasks depending on workload and time of year
  • This position has a lot of room to try new and creative strategies for communications and outreach, and is highly encouraged!

Work location: Regina, Saskatchewan

Contract Period: This is a permanent part-time position as long as the successful applicant remains a registered University of Regina student. This position is also subject to a 3 month probationary period.

Hours of Work: 25 hours per week, with some flexibility available depending on the semester. 

Remuneration: Starting wage for this position is $20/hr, but may be higher based on experience level. It includes 15 paid vacation days per year, 20 paid sick/personal days per year, as well as annual health, transportation, and professional development allowances.

Starting date: late November 2020

Application Deadline: Monday November 2, 2020 at 7am

To apply, please prepare the following:

  • Resume and Cover Letter, in one document (include your name in title of document). Cover letters should explain how your skills and experience are relevant to this role specifically
  • Contact information of two references

And send it to:

Krystal Lewis (pronouns: she/her)

Executive Director, Regina Public Interest Research Group (RPIRG)

info@rpirg.org

If you would prefer to apply in a different format, please contact Krystal at the email above to discuss

We actively encourage applicants to self-identify if they are part of groups, communities, or identities that often experience barriers to equity

**This position is only open to students at the University of Regina, including federated colleges (FNUniv, Campion, and Luther)**

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Proctortrack software at the UofR: list of student actions so far and other background information

Here is a list of actions that have been taken by students so far in response to the use of Proctortrack software. We will also include a couple of ways that students can take their own action and help put more pressure on the university to stop using it. Please email info@rpirg.org if we are missing any other actions being taken, or if you have suggestions for other resources about this software we can add to our resource section.

Proctortrack Updates as of 4th December

Here are updates on Proctortrack from the Town Hall meeting with Dr. Chase, interim president of the University of Regina, hosted on December 4, 2020. 
RPIRG asked the U of R administration a series of questions on behalf of students based on the concerns and questions associated with Proctortrack.

Highlights: 

⇨ U of R is using Proctortrack as per faculty requests. 
⇨ Proctortrack has been assessed to be the best solution to preserve academic integrity. 
⇨ It is the instructor’s autonomous decision to use Proctortrack. 
⇨ Only 27 final exams are being e-proctored out of 1162 at the U of R. 
⇨ There is no promise for stopping Proctortrack or finding alternatives

Media coverage about University of Regina context:

Proctortrack suspends services after security breach (Western Gazette article by Rebekah Rodrigues, Oct 15, 2020)

E-proctoring lives up to worst expectations as university continues to push spyware (Carillon article by Isaac Tamlin, Oct 1, 2020)

University of Regina students worried anti-cheating software will invade privacy (CBC article Sept 22, 2020)

E-proctoring Part 2: Electric Booglaoo (Carillon article by Isaac Tamlin, September 17, 2020)

Online proctoring software is invasive, intrusive, untested (Carillon article by Isaac Tamlin, September 11, 2020)

‘It’s invasive’: U of R student raising privacy concerns about new exam monitoring software (CTV coverage by Cally Stephanow, Friday Sept 11, 2020)


Actions by Elias Maze, UofR student:

  • Initial response
  • Initial letter to administration signed by over 100 students and RPIRG

Letters sent to university admin from Avery Cameron and Noah Rowbotham, software systems engineering students:

  • Email 1: summarizing list of concerns
  • Email 2: detailed response to UofR ProctorTrack FAQ page
  • Email 3: concerns about how much students were informed before introducing ProctorTrack

Comments by RPIRG Outreach and Events Coordinator Julian Wotherspoon, about red flags about consent to use of software:

“UofR STUDENTS: The university is asking your profs to make sure you receive more information about ProctorTrack before the drop deadline so that they can argue that you consented by staying registered. I’ve just sent an email to my faculty letting them know that my continued registration in my fall classes IS NOT to be taken as consent to the use of surveillance software and I have asked for an exemption. All the rest of you should do this too… Of all the hills I thought I would die on at the University of Regina… I always thought it would be a tuition strike, not a ‘please don’t allow a 3rd party software to collect administrative and biometric data about me for profit”


Petitions:

Started by Carl Sandin: Call on the University of Regina to Remove ProctorTrack (Update from Carl Sept 23, 2020)

Started by Alex Clarke: Cancel the use of proctortrack at University of Regina


Other ways that students can get involved or put pressure on the university:

  • we can connect you with other students who are taking action on this. Just email info@rpirg.org to let us know and we can pass on your contact information
  • send your own letter to your professors, department head, faculty and university of Regina president Tom Chase, explaining your concerns. Having this in writing is helpful for tracking how many people are speaking up. If you’re nervous about sending something on your own, talk to your peers about a group letter ask your student club or association(s) to consider sending one!
  • tweet at the UofR (@uofregina) to publicly voice your concerns. Include URSU (@urstudentsunion) and the faculty association URFA (@UofRFA) so they can also keep track to help with advocacy, and use the hashtag #UofRegina so they are more visible
  • The Carillon is looking for feedback (that can be anonymous) from faculty and students so they can run a story the week of Sept 21-25 about what people think of the software. You can submit feedback here

Other resources:

A Survey conducted by University of Regina Students’ Union

University of Regina frequently asked questions (FAQ) about Proctortrack

Are Schools Forcing Students To Install Spyware That Invades Their Privacy As A Result Of The Coronavirus Lockdown? (Forbes)

Software that monitors students during tests perpetuates inequality and violates their privacy (MIT Technology Review)

Watching through the webcam: Ontario and ProctorTrack’s attempt at academic integrity (The Pigeon)

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