RRCSA educates small group of students on joining the association and their benefits

By Nicole Brownlee

The RRCSA’s next orientation about SA representatives is on September 22. (From left to right Avery Halldorson, Jagjot Singh, Yash Chopra, Melissa Ghidnoi) /RRCSA

Six students attended Red River College Students’ Association’s (SA) first Zoom orientation this week, intended to inform students about the role of the SA and to explain what health and dental benefits are offered.

“We were hoping more students would attend,” said current SA president Yash Chopra. “When our SA representative meetings are on campus, we usually see more student engagement.”

The SA was joined by Christa Gobin, a student services coordinator. She explained the health and dental plans for both the international and domestic students and how to access more information about student benefits. Students were able to ask questions during the hour-long meeting through chat. 

“We usually only get about 15 to 20 minutes to talk to classes,” said Melissa Ghidoni, vice president of external affairs. “With an hour we can go more in depth about the services we provide and the advocacy that we do.” 

Ghidoni said all four executives began planning the orientation in early August after seeing how student unions at other post-secondary institutions were conducting theirs.

“I really hope students know the capacity that [the RRCSA] is here for them – especially during the pandemic,” said Ghidoni, 24. 

The business administration graduate said during her first year at RRC, she was unaware of what the SA was but became involved in her second year.

Students were invited via Student News emails, and the event was promoted through social media posts on the RRC Facebook and Instagram.

The RRCSA posted on the organization’s Instagram page one day before the orientation on Sept. 7, to remind RRC students to attend./RRCSA

Chopra said around 120 students attended the virtual international student orientation on August 27, where several students voiced their interest in joining the SA and filling the current 10 vacant positions. 

“There are also a lot of RRC students who aren’t in Canada right now,” said Chopra. “There was a big time difference when we held the orientation.”

Chopra, an international student himself, said while the orientation was hosted at 12 p.m. for Winnipeg students, it would have been live at 11 p.m. in India. 

 The 21-year-old continuing education student said he would be working with RRC’s international student department to ensure all students can access the orientation. 

The RRCSA will hold an additional orientation explaining the roles of SA representatives on Sept. 22. Students and staff will receive more information about the event through their academic email.