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As we put the first frantic couple of weeks back to school behind us, this might be a good time to start thinking about ways to get involved with student politics at Ryerson. Here is a brief glance at the work the RSU does to empower students.
First, the RSU Health and Dental Plan.
If you have chosen not to opt-out from RSU Members’ Health and Dental Plan, you will get your money back more than tenfold if you take full advantage of the plan. For instance, students can now seek help from an off-campus psychologist or social worker off campus for up to $1,000 per year. Is it time to renew your eyeglasses or contact lenses? Under the RSU health plan, these items are covered for up to $100, as well as $60 for eye exams. As for the dental plan, you can spend up to $750 for basic, comprehensive and major services, such as teeth cleaning, cavity fillings, or wisdom teeth removal.
Second, academic advocacy.
Did you miss an assignment or do you need help with academic-related issues? The RSU has your back. Students can attend workshops to find out about their options on academic standing issues or even learn how to write a strong appeal. You can also book an appointment online with José González, student issues and advocacy coordinator, who can provide you with guidance about the university’s policies and procedures. Keep in mind that there are five grounds under which a student can submit a grade or appeal — health, compassion, course management, prejudice or a procedural error. The appeal deadlines for undergraduate and graduate students differ, so check their website for more details.
Third, awards and bursaries.
There are five different awards and bursaries students can apply for that range from $500 to $2,000. For those who are in severe, immediate financial need, whether it be from losing a laptop, unexpected medical expenses, the loss of a metropass or other unforeseen circumstances, they can apply for an emergency bursary to receive $500.
Fourth, legal services.
Hiring a lawyer can be very costly. The hourly rate for a lawyer through the Law Society of Ontario can range from $90 for a law clerk/student to $350 for a senior counsel with more than 20 years of experience. But as a Ryerson student, you have access to a lawyer for any legal problem, at no cost. You can seek guidance on issues pertaining to family/criminal law, debt, landlord troubles, real estate, immigration, or problems with government agencies. The lawyer is only on-campus twice a week, however, so you will have to book a half-hour appointment online.
Fifth, six Equity Service Centres for students from different marginalized backgrounds.
There are support groups available for survivors of sexual assault, racialized students, students experiencing food insecurity, students with disabilities, and students who identify as queer. For instance, the Centre for Safer Sex and Sexual Violence Support provides students free and confidential peer-to-peer support on Mondays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and a support line that is open Monday-Friday from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. They also provide free safe-sex products such as condoms, lubrications, dental dams, pregnancy tests, pads and tampons, outside of the office in the Ryerson Student Centre (SCC313) on a resource table. Students can also be reimbursed for Plan B, Midol and Tylenol or Advil if they have a receipt.