We are in the final weeks of the term and I know you are all focused on those last assignments and preparing for final exams.

One of the great benefits of a university education is the opportunity to develop project management, time management, and leadership skills through coursework, extracurricular activities and student council. We also learn how to stay focused on the current priorities (finishing off the academic term) while planning for the next academic year. The University balances the same tasks: we are supporting students as they finish this term while planning ahead for Sp/Su and Fall/Winter terms. Registration opens March 31 for fall/winter courses.

Today’s message provides you with several opportunities that will look great on your resume and help you develop work-ready skills. I also include a message from Dr. Gerry Turcotte, the university President, about fall plans.

As you finish off this term with committed studying and assignment completion, consider running for a position on Student Legislative Council (SLC) for next year and/or entering the “My Census Story” contest.

And definitely get some exercise, enjoy the first day of spring, and keep safe. Keep vigilant as you wear masks and sanitize hands. Respect the 2 m distancing guidelines. Let’s keep well as we approach the finish line of the winter term.

My Census Story contest – Statistical Society of Canada

With the next census fast approaching in May 2021, we are excited to collaborate with the Statistical Society of Canada on a new initiative—the “My census story” contest. This contest aims to increase awareness of the upcoming census among secondary and postsecondary students across Canada while allowing them to express themselves creatively.

For over a century, Canadians have relied on census data to tell them about how their country is changing and what matters to them. We all depend on key socioeconomic trends and census analysis to make important decisions that have a direct impact on our families, neighbourhoods and businesses. The “My census story” contest encourages secondary and postsecondary students to reflect on the relevance of statistical and census data in their lives. Further, students are invited to be a part of the census challenge by sharing innovative ways to encourage Canadians to complete their census questionnaire in May. As a reward for their creativity, the top three submissions will be awarded monetary prizes. We hope this contest helps raise awareness of the importance of participating in the census and how that translates to making sure all Canadians have access to complete and accurate data for decision-making.

The “My census story” contest is accepting submissions from March 22 to April 4, 2021. For more information, please visit the [www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/contest-concours/index-eng.cfm]official contest page.

Spring/Summer Courses

Most Spring/Summer courses are full, but there are still some spaces left. Don’t get left behind!

St. Mary's University FNMI Logo

INST301: Indigenous Studies Field Course

Student Council Elections – Nomination Deadline March 23

The Student Legislative Council is excited to announce nominations are open for the 2021-22 academic year. Any student interested in running for the following positions SLC President, VP External, VP Internal, VP Events and VP Finance please send an email to nathan.ruff@stmu.ca to obtain the nomination information. All nominations are due March 23rd 2021 by 11:59pm. All elected Student Legislative Council executives will receive scholarship money for their position in the Student Legislative Council.

Campaigning for positions can run between March 24th to March 28th. Election dates will be March 29th to April 1st and for the first time in school history will be administered online. St. Mary’s University is looking forward to working with you.

Message from Dr. Gerry Turcotte, President St. Mary’s University

Dear Students,

As we approach the end of the semester and an entire year of alternative schooling arrangements and virtual classes, we look forward to what the future may hold. We want to assure you that whether you are new student to St. Mary’s University or returning – attending in-person or virtual classes – we are committed to providing you with an exceptional liberal arts and sciences post-secondary experience.

The experiences have been different over the past year, but what has remained the same has been the dedication, compassion, strength, commitment, and spirit that defines St. Mary’s University. Our campus has remained united whether in-person or in a virtual setting, coming together to learn and work together.

The main question for most of us — at St. Mary’s and in the wider post-secondary system — is whether or not we will be having in-person classes in the Fall 2021 semester. While the answer remains fluid because of all the unknowns around new variants, vaccine accessibility and transmission rates, our preference for the Fall term would be to return to in-person classes if this is possible. This will of course be contingent on recommendations by Alberta Health Services and direction from the Government of Alberta.

Our Emergency Response Team and our Executive Leadership team are working on the assumption of the return of in-person classes. Our teams are hard at work to ensure that our re-opening is safe and secure for our community, so that we provide the best possible education and support for our students, and the best and safest environment for our staff and faculty. Again, though, we will be mindful of the recommendations and public health advisories, and we will monitor the situation closely to ensure the health and safety of our students, staff and faculty.

Fall 2021 Semester

St. Mary’s University intends to offer as many courses and services as possible in person and within all public health guidelines outlined by Alberta Health Services. Students will see details about planned in-person delivery when they register. Final decisions on course delivery will depend on pandemic recovery and will be communicated to all students.

This is a fluid situation, and we will be closely monitoring any changes or recommendations put forth by AHS. The health and safety of our students, staff and faculty is our number one priority, but we realize that part of what makes St. Mary’s unique is our personal approach to post-secondary education.

We know look forward to being together on campus again once it’s safe to do so. More details about the specific areas of our campus planning appear below.

Convocation

A decision has not been made in regards to how Convocation 2020 will look at this time. The Convocation Committee is meeting later in March to create a robust plan to ensure that our graduates are celebrated in style. An email will be sent out at a later date with full details once a plan has been finalized.

Spring/Summer 2021 Courses

The Spring/Summer 2021 Semesters will primarily be delivered using alternative delivery methods with limited exceptions as outlined in the Spring-Summer 2021 Timetable. This information is also available to students through your MyStMU portal.

Summer Camp Offerings

Summer is an exciting time for kids to discover, explore and play. At St. Mary’s University’s Science Explorers and French Immersion Summer Camps, campers can expand their minds – exploring science, language and culture through educational hands-on activities. Campers will learn while having fun with new friends and experienced instructors and make memories to last a lifetime.

These two camps have been created in adherence to all AHS protocols and recommendations. For more information visit our website.

Library Services

In keeping with all health and safety protocols established by Alberta Health Services, the St. Mary’s University Library will remain closed for now. Curbside pick-up will remain open for all students who require resources and online resources will continue to be available for students during this time.

Bookstore

In keeping with Alberta Health Services guidelines and recommendations, the St. Mary’s University Bookstore is open to in-person shoppers with a limited capacity of 25% (up from 15%) of fire code occupancy (not including staff) or a minimum of 5 customers.

Fitness Centre

The fitness center is working closely with facilities and Alberta Health Services to follow all health and safety guidelines. Presently personal 1 on 1 training is available to anyone interested and they can contact rhonda.thiessen@stmu.ca for more details. The fitness center is working on plans to create more available training times and spaces that follow health and safety protocols. More information and will be distributed via email once those times have been made available.

As a student returning to campus, here is what you need to know:

The University has comprehensive protocols in place to minimize and guard against the risk of contracting and transmitting COVID-19. If you have a concern in the workplace, please contact your VP, Director, Manager, Dean or Chair, Human Resources or a St. Mary’s University Health and Safety representative. Through the process of consultation, the University may conduct a risk assessment to determine the provision of a temporary accommodation to enable the University to respond appropriately.

  • Every day, before you come to campus, check to make sure you do not have COVID-19 symptoms. Before leaving your home to come to campus, do a self-assessment to ensure that you are feeling well!
    • If you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms this must be reported to your Leader via the St. Mary’s Safe App
  • When you are on-campus:
    • Disinfect your hands with sanitizer when entering campus buildings.
    • Wear masks at all times when others are present (in private and public spaces. If upon asking, an individual refuses to don a mask they will be asked to leave St. Mary’s University property and may be subject to disciplinary action.
    • Wear a mask or face covering outdoors if you can’t maintain a 2 metre distance from others.
    • Physically distance from others when eating. This typically means only one person should sit at a table unless the individuals are from the same family.
    • Practise proper hand hygiene and wash your hands frequently.
    • Be sure to comply with all occupancy and directional signage.
    • Practise physical distancing and leave campus once your course is over, unless you need to do a remote class from a study space.

What to do if you feel sick

If you develop COVID-19 signs and symptoms notify your Leader and go home immediately. Ensure you have arrangements to get home safely; do not use public transportation, ride-sharing services or taxis. Isolation spaces on campus will be made available if you cannot drive yourself home and must wait to be picked up.

What to expect on campus

  • Access to most campus buildings is restricted and room occupancy is limited.
  • We are cleaning more often and signs will be in place to remind you to physically distance, and practise healthy hand hygiene.
  • Depending on the size of the washroom, occupancy will be limited at any given time.
  • Elevators are limited to one person at a time. An aide may help anyone needing assistance.
  • Seating is limited and spread out in common areas.
  • Bottle-refill stations are available, but all water fountains will be out of service.
  • Food service from the Bistro at St. Mary’s will remain closed at this time.

Resources:

While things may look a bit different on campus in the Fall, we are excited to start welcoming you back to campus in a safe and responsible manner. We commend you for your dedication, commitment, and resilience as we look to resume in-person instruction in the Fall.

Stay safe, stay healthy,

Dr. Gerry Turcotte
President & Vice-Chancellor