Key findings of the student housing survey

Between September 2016 and January 2017, CUSA partnered with the Carleton Centre for Community Innovation (3ci) to conduct a survey of Carleton University students about the nature, availability and affordability of student housing in Ottawa. Nearly 600 students responded.

Among the key findings of the survey, housing cost, proximity to Carleton and housing satisfaction emerged as potential problem areas for students. Almost one-fifth of students reported that their current housing situation falls below their needs. Nearly a third of respondents reported that it takes them more than 30 minutes by public transit to get to Carleton for their studies. The most critical findings pertain to rent: over 70% of respondents indicated that they pay rent, with the average student paying individually $612.28 per month, which may or may not include utilities. For students who rent, over half receive family assistance to pay rent. Family assistance and student loans constituted the top two means by which students are primarily paying rent. In optional comments, students shared their struggles to afford the cost of housing: “I share a 1 bedroom apartment with my roommate. It’s expensive by myself;” “[It is] difficult to pay rent every month;” “Carleton residence fees are way too high.”

Survey administrators say the findings speak to the issue of affordable student housing in Ottawa. “While Carleton students are, on average, paying below-market rates for housing in Ottawa, the survey suggests there may be a greater need for affordable student housing in Ottawa than universities and developers currently appreciate,” says Brittany Stares, a Graduate Research Assistant with 3ci. For instance, the number of new private student residences, such as 1Eleven and Envie, is growing; however, the survey suggests there is a sizeable portion of the student population for whom these developments – the rents at which surpass and can even double the average paid by survey respondents – are prohibitively expensive. Even Carleton’s own student residence posed affordability challenges: nearly three-quarters (73.8%) of respondents bypassed Carleton student residence entirely in their search for housing for the current academic year, and among respondents that applied but chose to live elsewhere, the primary reason cited was “residence fees were too expensive.”

Also concerning to researchers is the fact that students are relying on unsustainable sources to pay rent, especially family assistance and student loans. “While students typically have some trade-off between income and their studies while at school, their dependence on family assistance, student loans and personal savings to pay rent could expose them to housing insecurity once these streams are exhausted, especially in today’s unstable job market,” says Brittany.

The full results of the survey will be posted on the 3ci website. For any questions on the survey, please contact Brittany Stares, 3ci Graduate Research Assistant, at brittany.stares@carleton.ca.

View full housing survey

 

Student Issues Update – February 2017

Your students’ association has been working hard this year to make real change on campus. Here are the latest updates on the campaigns we’ve been working on.

Help CUSA reform Carleton’s Sexual Violence Policy
CUSA, in partnership with the Human Rights Society, is continuing to pressure the university administration to complete a number of reforms to make the current Sexual Violence Policy more survivor-centric. In November 2016, the administration adopted a number of the reforms suggested by students, staff, and campus unions. However, CUSA and many other stakeholders still feel that there is more to be done. That’s why your students’ association is continuing to support Not Our Policy: A Campaign to Reform Carleton’s Sexual Violence Policy. The campaign currently involves the following projects:

  • A petition outlining the changes that students want to see made to the policy. CUSA encourages all undergraduate students to sign the petition in order to let the university know that changes to the Sexual Violence Policy are important. Click here to sign the petition.
  • An ongoing banner drop project to continue to draw attention to the campaign.

Want to get involved with the campaign? Email VP Student Issues Alexandra Noguera at vpsi@cusaonline.ca

 

Photo via Carleton University

New women’s only fitness programming now available
In response to CUSA’s campaign Where’s Our Women’s Only Gym Hour, the university Athletics department has implemented new women’s only fitness options three days a week in the Yoga Room. From February 6 – April 14, the space will be women’s only at the following times:
Monday 10:30am – 11:30am
Wednesday 3:30pm – 4:30pm
Friday 4:30pm – 5:30 pm
Equipment available in the space will include free weights, benches, bands, steppers, bosus, Swiss balls, medicine balls, foam rollers, mats for stretching, skipping ropes, and stretching bands.
Thank you to all of our campus partners for helping us take action on this great initiative. Let CUSA know what you think of the new women’s only programming! Email VP Student Services Ashley Courchene at vpss@cusaonline.ca or send your feedback to the CUSA Womyn’s Centre at womyns_centre@cusaonline.ca.

CUSA thanks students for record referendum turnout

The Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) would like to thank students for coming out in record-breaking numbers to voice their opinions in the student union building referendum. The students have spoken, and we embrace their decision to say no to a student union building.
 
This initiative provoked a lively and thoughtful discussion within the campus community, engaging an unheard-of proportion of the undergraduate student population. Carleton students have shown exceptional passion and dedication towards issues that are important to all of us and for that we can all be very proud. The high turnout in the referendum reflects a high level of student engagement and a strong interest in this subject matter.
 
CUSA would like to thank all the volunteers that worked on both the yes and no campaigns, ombudsman Jim Kennelly, and each and every student who took the time to learn more about the project and get involved.
 
Just because the campaign is finished does not mean that the work is over. Over the course of the campaign students have raised a variety of concerns regarding campus spaces, and given us invaluable feedback that we plan to use in the future. CUSA will continue to push for more 24-hour study areas, more diverse food options, and bookable spaces for clubs and societies. Most importantly, we will continue to advocate for student-centred spaces and services.
 
We encourage students to contact us with any further feedback and concerns. CUSA continues to be dedicated to developing real solutions to student issues, so we want to hear from you.
 
Direct media requests to:
 
Fahd Alhattab
President
613-520-2600 ext. 1603
pres@cusaonline.ca

CUSA holding public consultations for a new student union building

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The Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) is holding public consultations to obtain student feedback on the potential construction of a student union building at the university. The proposed building would be an 80,000 square foot expansion of the University Centre, with an estimated completion date in late 2020 or early 2021.

The public consultations are meant to gauge interest in the project and assess which features students would like to see in the building. The current proposal includes plans for a variety of study spaces, expanded student services, and new bookable event spaces for clubs and societies. However, these plans are only preliminary; they will be influenced by the results of current and future consultations.

CUSA president Fahd Alhattab—who started the ball rolling on this project during his first term in 2015—hopes the consultations will be well-attended and successfully engage students in the design process. The proposed building would be majority-owned by students and as such, CUSA feels that student feedback is paramount.

The building will be a student-oriented space that will meet the needs of the growing student population. The number of student-led clubs and societies at the university has more than doubled over the past five years,and the student union building will provide much needed space for meetings and events. Additionally, the building will ensure more space for student-run service centres—including the on-campus food bank, gender and sexuality resource centre, and foot patrol office—allowing the centres to expand their programming and improve services.

The building will also be environmentally sustainable and fully accessible, featuring elements in high demand on campus such as charging stations, microwaves, and 24-hour study space.

Visit the CUSA Facebook page for updates on consultation dates and locations.

For media requests:

Fahd Alhattab
President
613-520-2600 ext. 1603
pres@cusaonline.ca

David Andrews
Vice President Finance
613-520-2600 ext. 1604
vpf@cusaonline.ca
 

Carleton students rally for universal post-secondary education

 

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On November 2, the Carleton University Students Association (CUSA) is joining other student organizations and community organizations across the city in a Student Day of Action calling for universal post-secondary education in Canada. This is part of the Canadian Federation of Students’ National Day of Action, which involves students from 54 campuses in 32 cities across Canada.

Carleton students will rally in the University Centre atrium at 10am, then join the other community groups at 1pm on Parliament Hill. Speakers at the Parliament Hill rally will include Canadian Federation of Students National Chairperson Bilan Arte, Elder Annie Smith St. George and Canadian Labour Congress Executive Vice-President Donald Lafleur.

Students are rallying around three main issues:

  • Universal access to education
  • Education justice for marginalized students
  • Public education that is not-for-profit and not tailored toward corporate interests

CUSA invites all students and members of the community at large to join the movement and get involved in the Day of Action.

For more information about the National Day of Action, visit the official website.

For media requests:

Alexandra Noguera
Vice President Student Issues
613-520-2600 ext. 1617
vpsi@cusaonline.ca

Fahd Alhattab
President
613-520-2600 ext. 1603
pres@cusaonline.ca

Carleton students petition for women’s only gym hours

womens-gym-hourThe Carleton University Students’ Association Womyn’s Centre is partnering with the Carleton University Muslim Students’ Association, the Rideau River Residence Association, and the Graduate Students’ Association to campaign for women’s only gym hours at the Carleton University Fitness Centre. The campaign was officially launched November 1 at 4pm during the CUSA Womyn’s Centre’s Gym With Me event.

This initiative comes after the success of similar campaigns at University of Toronto and Ryerson University. Women’s only gym hours at these schools have resulted in an increase in women’s participation at athletics facilities during these periods.

In a survey at Ryerson University prior to the new program, 50% of female respondents reported that they did not feel comfortable accessing the gym facilities during regular hours. Women typically feel uncomfortable using co-ed workout spaces for a few main reasons:

-They have history of gender based violence. According to Statistics Canada, women in Canada are eleven times more likely than men to be a victim of sexual offences. Many victims of sexual violence prefer not to exercise in spaces with men because they feel vulnerable or uncomfortable.

-There’s a lack of cultural or religious accommodation. Many Muslim and Orthodox Jewish women adhere to dress codes that prevent them from exercising in co-ed spaces. A women’s only hour would allow them to uncover their heads and wear more comfortable exercise clothes that they would not be able to wear in a space with men present.

-They see the gym as a male dominated space.

After observing similar issues at Carleton University, the campus’ largest student groups decided to collaborate on a project they’re calling Where’s Our Women’s Only Gym Hours? The first phase of the project is a survey of female, femme, non-binary, and two spirit students. The survey is available here.

The results of the survey will be submitted to the Carleton Athletics board to demonstrate demand, along with a formal request for a women’s only gym hour program.

For more information, contact:

Sydney Schneider
Programming Coordinator
CUSA Womyn’s Centre
womyns_centre@cusaonline.ca
613-520-6688 x2712

Ashley Courchene
Vice President Student Services
Carleton University Students’ Association
vpss@cusaonline.ca
613-520-6688 x1610

Pop the Stigma returns for its third year

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The Carleton University Students’ Association is bringing back the Pop the Stigma mental health campaign for its third year. The campaign aims to highlight mental health resources for students and encourage discussion in order to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness.

An exciting addition to the program this year is art therapy, which will be held in the Carleton University quad on September 29. Hundreds of students are expected to attend this dynamic, interactive workshop led by Paint Therapy Ottawa.

Other highlights of the week include the return of Chris Niamey, who will speak about his lived experience with mental illness, and a presentation on eating disorders by Overeaters Anonymous. As in past years, guest speakers will focus on lived experiences as well as highlighting resources available for students experiencing mental health issues.

Students will also have the opportunity to interact with therapy animals from Therapeutic Paws of Canada, a program that’s consistently popular.

Full programming information is available on Facebook.

For more information contact:

Alexandra Noguera
Vice President Student Issues
613-520-2600 ext. 1617
vpsi@cusaonline.ca

Fahd Alhattab
President
613-520-2600 ext. 1603
presi@cusaonline.ca

More time for student success – CUSA and CASG spearhead 24 hour Library Pilot Program

From October 14th to 22nd Carleton’s MacOdrum Library will be open 24 hours a day to allow students more study, research, and work time during the fall semester midterm season. The nine day pilot project follows nearly a year of negotiations between the Carleton Academic Student Government (CASG) and the Carleton University Administration; as well as lobbying efforts by the Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA).

Students have long requested extended library hours on campus, particularly during exam seasons. In comparison to the University of Ottawa and other post-secondary institutions, Carleton’s MacOrdum Library had traditionally closed at midnight during exam seasons and as early as 10:00pm on weekdays throughout the academic year. The current CUSA executive campaigned during the February 2015 election on following through with the efforts of CASG and past CUSA executive in ensuring the extended library hours program moved forward this academic year.

The success of the nine day pilot will be based on library usage from the hours of midnight to 8:00am. If enough students attend or stay in the library during these hours, it could result in a permanent extension of hours during exams seasons moving forward.

Student are encouraged to take advantage of the extended library hour between October 14th and 22nd and provide feedback about their experience.

Feedback will be accepted via Airloop a text message engagement platform. Student can text CUSA at (613) 319-5675 with the tag #LibraryPilot and their message.

For more information:

Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA)

admin@www.cusaonline.ca

(613) 520-2600 ext. 1859

Vote Mob to kick off CUSA’s Register to Vote campaign

The Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) is working on a number of initiatives to encourage post-secondary students to vote in the upcoming federal election on October 19.

On Thursday, September 24th CUSA hosted a ‘Vote Mob”. Carleton students dressed up in red and white and filmed  a non-partisan parody music video of The Lonely Island single “I’m On a Boat”. (NOTE: This video has been removed. Please see statement here: https://www.cusaonline.ca/statement-votemob/)

CUSA has also partnered with YOUth Heroes on a “Register to Vote” Twitter and Facebook campaign that allows participants to add a ‘REGISTERED’ filter over their social media profile pictures and tag friends and family to encourage them to do the same. The goal of the campaign is encourage voter participation and promote the importance of voting through peer-to-peer interactions. Students can participate by visiting http://twibbon.com/support/register-to-vote-4.

In addition to getting involved online, Carleton students will have the unique opportunity to engage with the federal candidates of the Ottawa-Centre riding in person. CUSA, in collaboration with the Carleton University Graduate Student’s Association (GSA) and the Carleton University Academic Staff Association (CUASA), will be hosting the official Ottawa-Centre All-Candidates Debate at 6:30pm on Tuesday, September 28th in the University Centre atrium. The debate will focus on youth and education and will provide attendees a unique opportunity to hear from all the candidates in the Ottawa-Centre riding. More information about the debate can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/138745449801877/

Elections Canada will be at Carleton University October 5th to 9th to allow students to vote by special ballot. There’s is also Elections Canada material available at the CUSA Office; 401 University Centre, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, ON K1S 5B6.

For more information about CUSA’s Get Out the Vote campaign, contact Maddie Adams, Vice-President Student Issues at vpsi@www.cusaonline.ca, or 613-520-2600 ext. 1617