Throughout the past several years, UMSU has been criticized for not listening to students.
When I ran to become UMSU president, I heard these concerns and wanted to do better,
but I knew finding a solution to years of students feeling unsupported would be a challenge.
However, I campaigned with the promise that I would work alongside the executive team,
staff and board of directors to create an UMSU for all.
Today, I am sending all Bisons an invitation. A request. A call out for collaboration. If you
want to chat, let me know! I, along with the rest of this year’s executives, are eager to help,
have discussions with students and meet with you. Please, help us do what we were elected
to do — serve and support the University of Manitoba student body.
I plan to address the disconnect between UMSU and students in three ways, the first of
which involves dropping by my office hours.
Each week, on Mondays from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., I hold office hours in a public university
space, whether at Degrees, IQ’s, VW’s, the Fireside Lounge in University Centre or even
Please, stop by and say hi, ask a question, tell me that you aren’t a fan of my haircut —
whatever you’d like! These office hours aren’t a performative gesture, they are meant to be a
time when students can connect directly with myself or other members of the executive
Another option would be to send me an email or DM. If you decide that you want to chat, I
am anything but hard to reach on any given day. If you have questions, concerns, comments
or even if you just want to ensure that you can reach me, please, I beg of you, let me know!
Some folks might be uncomfortable with in-person meetings. I totally get it! In that case,
just know that I will be checking my email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Instagram (@jaronrykiss),
waiting for questions or whatever you may like to roll in. I am constantly connected and
ready to support students in whatever way they want or need!
A third option is to attend an UMSU board of directors meeting. Every two weeks on
Thursday evenings, the union holds a board of directors meeting in the UMSU chambers,
located at 176 Helen Glass.
These meetings are open to all students, and are a great way to meet the entire executive
team and students from nearly every faculty. Not to mention the fact that they are always
catered by Degrees.
All UMSU members — which includes all undergraduate students at the U of M — have
automatic speaking rights at these meetings, and the ability to bring motions to the floor.
While there are always projects that the executive or UMSU committees are working on,
there will undoubtedly be things that students are interested in tackling that UMSU may not
have on its radar.
The bi-weekly board meetings are a great venue for folks to get engaged, have their voice
heard and maybe even start their journey into student politics.
Each year, an executive team is elected to serve all Bisons completing their
undergraduate degrees. We come into these roles with ideas on how to improve the union,
and often those ideas come from our own personal experiences with UMSU and the
The only way that we can gain additional perspectives, ideas and knowledge about
university affairs is if that information is brought to us. Of course, it is our responsibility to
keep our eyes and ears open and to listen to the student body, but we also rely in part on students telling us the specific problems that they, along with their peers, are having so that we can collaborate to remedy these issues.
I want every single one of you to know that we are here to help. Whether it is a faculty
association that needs support with event co-ordination, a club that needs resources for a
campaign or even a student-at-large who has a burning question about UMSU operations,
we are here to support you through whatever your challenge may be.
Together, we can strengthen the union. UMSU will continue to be here and listen to students, but
we need your help to truly make a change. Please, tell us what you need, and tell us how we can