Who they are and how to get involved
Working from inside the Student Union Building, there are four advocacy groups — Students of Colour Collective, Feminist Collective/Third Space, UVic Pride, and Society for Students with a Disability — and the Native Students Union at UVic, representing different intersections of students and working to create safe spaces for those students to socialize, relax, and contribute to the community.
Curious about what they’ve got planned this year? The Martlet checked in to see what these groups have been up to lately.
The Native Students Union
The Native Students Union (NSU) is not one of the UVSS advocacy groups, but they do advocacy work and are located in the SUB. According to their website, the NSU is a collective run by students to support the Indigenous student community at UVic.
The NSU so far has accomplished a lot this school year, according to their office coordinator, Peter Underwood. They hosted an open house, held a bake sale to support the UVic Tiny House Warriors, and had their Annual General Meeting on Oct. 2 to elect their new board.
The NSU has many Indigenous resurgence events planned for the start of the lunar new year.
“We are planning the events this fall and will have a full schedule posted well before the lunar new year,” says Underwood.
The NSU is “not just [for] those who are Aboriginal to Canada,” he says. All students who identify as Indigenous are welcome to become members.
This year, the goal of the NSU is “to connect more to Indigenous students and grow our membership,” says Underwood.
Members are encouraged to get involved in any way they can. The NSU meets on Mondays at 4 p.m. in their room in the SUB (room B023). They also have an office in the First People’s House at UVic (room 126).
The NSU posts on their Facebook page when they are looking for volunteers for events, says Underwood.
Students of Colour Collective (SOCC)
According to the UVSS Advocacy Groups website page, SOCC is a group of self-identified students of colour working to “defy the mainstream and act from the margins placing issues of race, gender, and colonization into an anti-racist framework.”
SOCC’s Facebook page typically announces that they have weekly meetings on Mondays at 5 p.m. in their office in the SUB (room B020). All students who identify as Indigenous and/or people of colour are welcome to attend.
Feminist Collective/Third Space
Feminist Collective or Third Space is a drop-in space that provides resources for students, including items like menstrual products, emergency contraceptives, and pregnancy tests. They welcome everyone who identifies as femme, non-binary, and gender fluid people. Feminist Collective or Third Space promotes intersectional feminism.
According to the UVSS Advocacy Groups website page, Feminist Collective or Third Space has “ongoing, member-driven initiatives throughout the year.”
Currently, the group does not have any 2018-2019 events officially planned yet, due to the absence of an event coordinator. This should change once the position has been filled in the coming weeks.
Stop by their office in the SUB (room B107) for resources or just to hang out.
UVic Pride is an advocacy group acting out of the UVSS that seeks to provide a safe space for students from the LGBT2IA+ community. Members also have access to gender-affirming resources, safe-sex supplies, and support.
According to their website, UVic Pride plans on running a referendum to ask undergraduate students for a “74 cent increase if they are full-time, and a 34 cent increase if they are part-time.” The group distributes gender-affirming resources and says that they need a bigger budget to continue doing so.
The UVic Pride website also states that their goal is to “become a safer and more inclusive space for vulnerable members of the queer community.” They encourage intersectionality and seek to include those with identities that are often excluded from the Pride community.
UVic Pride’s website indicates that they host a weekly Transfeminine Caucus on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. for those who identify as transfeminine or non-binary transfeminine in their office in the SUB (room B010).
Society for Students with a Disability (SSD)
SSD represents UVic students that identify as having one or more disabilities.
According to their website, the goal of the SSD is to ensure that all students can access all spaces and are included in the community.
“When spaces and communities are not accessible and inclusive, we believe they are broken,” states their website.
SSD encourages self-advocacy and helps students know their rights. Self-advocacy is defined on the SSD website as “something that you can do to achieve a specific goal or outcome for yourself.”
SSD offers support to students in the self-advocacy process. They can also advocate on a student’s behalf.
SSD’s website indicates that they host weekly activities to support their students during the regular school semester. In the summer, these activities are monthly. SSD also holds community lunches which take place on Wednesdays at 12 p.m., as well as a monthly peer-support group with rotating themes such as ‘Authors with Autism’ and ‘ADHD & Learning Disability.’
Their office in the SUB (room B111) is a safe space for students to relax and meet new people.
There are many ways to get involved with each of these groups. If any sound right for you, join them for a meeting or just stop in to say hello.