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SU Elections 2023 Q&A: Alberta Public Interest Research Group Referendum

The Students’ Union 2023 election will allow students to decide on renewing the Alberta Public Interest Research Group (APIRG) Fee.

The Students’ Union 2023 election is giving students the opportunity to decide on renewing the Alberta Public Interest Research Group (APIRG) fee.

APIRG’s dedicated fee unit (DFU) goes toward providing students with resources for projects, advocacy, and research, amongst other things. This referendum is proposing a DFU of $3.50 per semester for full-time students, and $1.75 for part-time students.

Representing APIRG in this Q&A is Sarah Alemu, a University of Alberta alumna, and the current outreach coordinator for APIRG.

The following interviews have been edited for brevity and clarity.

What is this referendum trying to accomplish?

Sarah Alemu: This referendum is to continue APIRG’s optional student fee, which allows APIRG to then provide students with funding for student-led projects, events, and initiatives that make a difference on the campus community, as well as our programming throughout the year; everything from educational workshops, skill-building activities, and our alternative resource library.

For students who don’t know, what is the Alberta Public Interest Research Group (APIRG)?

Alemu: APIRG is a student-run, student-funded, non-profit organization that has been at the U of A since 2001. We focus on providing students with services, funding, and support to be active citizens, including everything from low-barrier grants, to our alternative resource library, and events throughout the year.

If this referendum passes, how much will students be paying and how was that cost determined?

Alemu: If this referendum passes, full-time students will be paying $3.50 per semester, and part-time students will be paying $1.75 per semester. This fee has recently been reduced, and if successful, will continue to be an optional fee. Students have the choice to opt-out of paying the fee at the start of every semester.

Will all students be paying this fee?

Alemu: Full-time and part-time students here at the U of A will be paying this fee — that’s at North Campus and Campus Saint-Jean, but that does not include Augustana campus.

Why do you think students should care about the work being done by APIRG?

Alemu: Students should care about the work being done at APIRG because it makes a meaningful, and long-lasting difference to the campus community and beyond. Everything from a space and opportunity for students to turn their ideas for projects to life, and concerns into action, to everyday services like low to no-cost printing and low-cost button making.

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Lily Polenchuk

Lily Polenchuk is the 2023-24 Managing Editor at The Gateway. She previously served as the 2023-24 and 2022-23 News Editor, and 2022-23 Staff Reporter. She is in her second year, studying English and political science. She enjoys skiing, walks in the river valley, and traveling.

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