Thursday, August 31, 2017

You're Invited: Fall 2017 Welcome Week

It's that time of year again!

You're Invited to KSA Fall 2017 Welcome Week! 

Tuesday September 5th @ KPU Surrey Campus
Wednesday September 6th @ KPU Tech Campus 
Thursday September 7th @ KPU Langley Campus
Tuesday September 12th @ KPU Richmond Campus


Welcome Week FAQ's 

Is this event free? 
This event is 100% free and all KPU students are invited to attend. 

Why should I go? 
Super helpful information. Games. Music. Free Food.

Are you giving away any cool stuff? 
YES. KSA departments are giving away different types of swag, from drawstring backpacks to shower timers to pens to fidget spinners. 

What if I can't make it? 
If you can't make it to any of the days, don't sweat. Check out our online events calendar and catch us at the next event! 


See you there! 

- Kendell 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Disability Accommodation

You may not think student rights topics are the sexiest thing to talk about, but they are critical to you and your experience as a post-secondary student. Inclusivity, advocacy, equality, these are cool things to talk about, these are important topics to discuss, these are things that affect you as a person. Every month our Advocacy Coordinator will address different topics, situations and scenarios related to student rights, this month it's all about Disability Accommodation.


Disability accommodation is a complex and evolving area, but also one of huge importance to the students involved, and which goes to the heart of KPU’s educational mandate. KPU’s Vision 2018 strategic plan identifies inclusion and access as values. The Student Rights Centre also participates in the Presidential Diversity and Equity Committee, which has discussed disability access at length during the years it has existed.


KPU is obliged to accommodate students with disabilities up “to the point of undue hardship”. In the classroom, this means that you can access learning technologies and other assistance by presenting medical information to KPU’s Services for Students with Disabilities department. You are only obliged to provide medical attestation of the limits of your ability and to work with SSD to find accommodations that will work for you. You do not need to divulge the nature or cause of your disability, or any symptoms that do not impact on your time at KPU. Since every disability is unique, every request for accommodation should be considered individually. Students coming to KPU from high school may not be able to access exactly the same accommodations and may need to update some documentation, but KPU should not make unreasonable demands or deny you accommodations arbitrarily. Common accommodations include writing exams on a computer in the KPU testing centre, extended time for exams, ASL translators, or the use of classroom assistive technology like laptops. Once you have completed the accommodation process, SSD will probably hand you a letter to take to your instructors, describing your accommodations.

Students who need help acquiring assistive technology should inquire with Assistive Technology BC.

It’s rare, but sometimes at the Student Rights Centre we hear of instructors responding negatively to an SSD accommodation letter, either resisting providing approved accommodations or making unwelcome comments about your medical situation. It can also be a challenge for students to keep their medical situation confidential if their accommodations are evident to other students in the classroom. Like I said above, no one is entitled to know more than they need to know in order to provide accommodations, but faculty and especially other students can sometimes let their curiosity override their respect for others. SRC staff will not ask for medical information unless it becomes necessary in order to assist you, and will not disclose it without your express consent.

Technical issues with exam accommodations can also pose sticky problems. If the testing centre staff have technical issues or the instructor doesn’t provide the exam in the necessary format, it is often difficult to impossible to resolve those issues without losing out on exam time.

Photo from KPU PDEC Twitter Account
Fixing any of these problems can be difficult, and KPU’s internal procedures, such as the complaints process, can place a significant extra burden on disabled students. SSD may not allow you to bring a family member or SRC advocate to meetings to discuss concerns, but we can help you to understand your options and make informed decisions. Disabled students can also seek support from fellow students at the Peer Support program or from KPIRG’s Disability Action Movement Now action group, and can participate in PDEC meetings. If you think that someone at KPU has done something seriously wrong, you can also look at KPU’s protected disclosure system, KPU Listens; the BC Human Rights Tribunal; or the Runner. The National Educational Association of Disabled Students can provide access to numerous other off-campus organizations and resources.

Only a few of KPU’s campus spaces are accessible for students with mobility challenges. Some spaces, such as washrooms on the Richmond campus, have been specifically audited for mobility access, but many other spaces, especially in older buildings, are known to be seriously deficient. KPU has stated that future construction will meet high standards of accessibility, and we’re keeping an eye on the new construction at Civic Plaza in Whalley and the Wilson School of Design in Richmond to make sure that high standard is met.

Overall, disability access has been a growing focus at KPU in recent times. Students, faculty and staff are engaged in the issues and are critically re-examining KPU’s past practices.

-- John (KSA Advocacy Coordinator) 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

KSA Spotlight: Tia Schellenberg


There are some pretty amazing people on our staff and because we do a lot of the 'behind the scenes' work, students don't always get to know who we actually are. Every month we'll feature a staff member (and occasionally Council member) so you can actually put a face to the name / event / project. This month, I invite you to meet Tia! 

How did you come to work for the KSA?
I am a student at Kwantlen. I started working at the GrassRoots, and when the opportunity came up, I applied for the job I currently have. 

Position and summary of your job:
I am the Sustainability Specialist. I work on events and programming on campus that is relevant to sustainability, as well as operating the on-campus garden at KPU Surrey. 

Favourite thing about working here?
The people. Most of my friends are from work and I feel that I'm surrounded by people who would support me in any situation. It's great to come into work knowing that I'll be around people who care about me and are positive influences on my life. 

What is something that makes you unique? / Tell us about yourself.
Taylor Swift follows me on Tumblr. Is that unique enough? (Answer: Yes). I've traveled to England, France, Australia, New York, and LA. I am a literary editor at Pulp Magazine. I love astronomy, true crime, makeup, and animals. 

Best activity to do on the weekend?
Read a book and drink Rosé on the porch. 

Favourite Food?
Indian food 

Favourite KSA Memory: 
I have too many to count, but one of my favourites is going to Baltimore and Washington, DC with my coworkers. It's such a privilege to be able to experience a new place with people I like being around. 

Want to do more with the KSA? Volunteer with our START Program, Peer Support or the KSA Street Team. Looking to do more as a student? Consider attending a committee meeting or running in our By-Election this Fall. Want to work for us? Check out our job postings here

Thursday, August 17, 2017

2017 BC Election: The Worst Tinder Date You’ve Ever Been On

So this summer BC had the longest and most confusing election in recent memory. Tomorrow, August 18th, will mark 100 days since what one newspaper described as “the most unusual election in B.C. history”.

Photo from

On May 9th we all voted, but the results were too close to call so this didn’t actually result in us getting a government. The Liberals got 43 seats, the Greens 3, and the NDP 41, with one seat being won by only 9 votes. Usually one party gets way more seats, and usually people win seats by thousands of votes, so 9 people making the difference between a Liberal majority or an entirely different administration forming government is basically unheard of. Political nerds everywhere lost their minds.


Because it was so close, ballots were recounted from May 22 - 24, which solidified the 43-3-41 distribution of seats from May 9th. Unfortunately that didn’t actually make anything more clear. You know in high school when you have to learn trigonometry and they tell you that you’ll use it in real life but you obviously never do? Understanding this election is like the political equivalent of having to use trigonometry to calculate a tip.

Here is a super quick summary: Basically, we elect 87 people but we actually don’t actually elect government. The 87 elected Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) then get together and elect the government themselves. A party gets to form government if they win a vote on the Throne Speech. Because there are 87 MLAs who vote on this, you need 44 people to vote in favour of a Throne Speech to win and form government. Usually one party has a majority of the seats, and so it’s pretty clear that they will form government. Since no one had a majority this time, Christy Clark, the leader of the BC Liberals got the first shot at making a speech because she was in charge last time (yes that is actually how we make decisions).


But then on May 31, before Clark could present her Throne Speech, the NDP and the Green Party signed an agreement saying that the Green Party would support the NDP by voting for them if they made a Throne Speech. The 41 NDP votes plus the 3 Green votes would add up to the 44 votes that are required to win and form government. At this point, Christy Clark could have either resigned as Premier, or presented her Throne speech anyways. She went for the speech.

christy clark bc election.jpg

The Throne Speech was read on June 22, and the house (very predictably) voted against it 44-43 one week later on June 29. This meant that Clark did not have the confidence of the house, and so the Liberal Party could not form government. At this point, Clark could either resign and ask the Lieutenant Governor (LG) to let John Horgan, the leader of the NDP, try to pass a Throne Speech, or she could ask the LG to call another election. Everything was very very dramatic.

Clark asked the LG to call an election, but the LG said no and offered John Horgan a chance to form government. This was probably the obvious choice because having another election immediately would have been, well ... terrible. That being said, it was weird. The LG represents the Queen of England, and is not elected. We also never actually wrote down rules about what she has to do, so moments like this are somewhat in a grey area. You have to look at different conventions and precedent (this is the ‘political trigonometry’ part) to figure out what should be happening here. For example, the LG going against the advice of the Premier almost never happens, although it did this one time in Newfoundland in 1908, so it’s allowed, just sometimes frowned upon. Maybe.


This brings us to where we are now, with the NDP preparing to make a Throne Speech and then form government. Mathematically they will win that vote (44-43) and when that happens we will finally have a government in place.

Maybe it's time to delete this app (for a few years).

Thanks for reading!
- Nicki

Thursday, August 10, 2017

GrassRoots Café Secret Menu Items & Tricks!

Maybe you’ve heard of the KSA GrassRoots Café. Maybe you haven’t. Either way this blog post is sure to give you the inside scoop on secret menu items and ordering tips.
Haven’t heard of the KSA GrassRoots Café? It’s the KSA student café located on the KPU Surrey campus. The person serving you coffee, they’re a student. The individual who dished out your mac n’cheese, they are too – all the staff behind the counter are students. The café serves up meat and veggie dining options throughout the week along with a license to serve alcohol. If this isn’t your first semester on the Surrey Campus, I’m willing to bet you’ve stopped by before / after / between classes. If that’s the case you may have a regular order and have tried a brownie (or two). This post is goes past the ‘regular’. We’ve received feedback from KSA staff and regular customers to highlight a few unknown menu items & ordering tips at GrassRoots Café. Call it a not-so-secret secret menu if you like …
GrassRoots BBQ
Patio BBQs
If you stick around campus for the Summer semester, you may be lucky enough to witness a GrassRoots Patio BBQ. Every Thursday, starting in June, the Café pulls out a BBQ and grills up burgers (meat and veggie) on the outdoor patio. The BBQ is only open during the lunch hours, but it’s the perfect way to enjoy a little bit of Summer between class. The burger will set you back $6.50 but who doesn’t love a little #patioseason lunch.  

Beer & Nachos

Pub Food
GrassRoots Café recently added finger food appetizers & beer on tap to the menu. Let me repeat that … BEER ON TAP (and KPU Beer at that). This means that during a hockey game, political debate or open mic night, you can enjoy wings, nachos, mozzarella sticks & spring rolls with some local KPU Beer.

Vegan Brownie from GrassRoots Café
Vegans Welcome Here
Another insider tip: You can make almost everything vegan. Tofu & Daiya cheese are always on hand at the Café and soy-based chicken is usually available as well. The café has some items that are vegan by nature (Spring rolls, Brownies, Granola Bars, Samosa Wrap, Mediterranean Wrap, Rice Stir Fry) but the majority of remaining menu items can be made vegan too – you just have to ask! Order a Mexicali Wrap vegan (no sour cream, sub for daiya cheese, sub for soy-based chicken). Feeling a quesadilla (they’ll make those vegan too!). Nachos, another crowd favorite, can be made vegan as well. Coming for a coffee? The café has both soy and almond milk. The GrassRoots Café staff are amazing at accommodating vegan, gluten free and other dietary needs or preferences, all you have to do is ask.
Save Your Money
If you’re looking to save money, we have some good news for you. As a KPU student you get 5% off your order at the KSA GrassRoots Café. More than that, if you bring a re-usable cup or mug for your coffee, you get another $0.25 off!
Taco Tuesday
Every Tuesday the GrassRoots Café offers a Taco Tuesday special. You can get burritos or opt out of the wrap and go for a burrito bowl. Tacos not your favourite thing? You can ask for the bean chilli they use for burritos to be put on a hot dog (meat or veggie) – next thing you know, you’ve got yourself a chilli dog!
Special Request: Tater Tot Nachos! 
Staff Pick: Tater Tots!
Looking for the all time staff favourite order at GrassRoots Café? Our staff have spoken and it’s TATER TOTS. Yes the café does tater tots, all day and in different ways. You can have tater tots with your breakfast sandwich in the morning, by themselves as a snack, or loaded like nachos! Don’t forget to take advantage of the different sauces GrassRoots has on hand. There’s the classic Ketchup, but another solid option is dipping them into Sweet Chilli sauce. Don’t knock it ‘til you try it.
Do you have a favourite order or trick at GrassRoots? Let us know by tagging @KSAGrassRoots on social media!  

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Summer Hiking 101

August is the perfect time to go hiking in BC, the days aren’t as hot as July, the bug season has slowed down, snow will be clear on most of the day hiking routes, and the trails are the least muddy they’ll be all year. Plus, with the long summer days you have so many options for where you can go hiking because daylight is on your side. 

Whether you want to climb high peaks, chase waterfalls, or find the perfect quiet spot, the Lower Mainland has a trail for every type of hiker. But before you grab your camera and head out the door for your hiking adventure, there are a few things you might want to make sure you have before you go ...

Jug Island - Active KSA Hike

Before you go, take some time and plan your hiking route because missed turns or trail heads happens. Look at a map and get an idea of how the trail is going to look. Either take a physical copy of the map or save it to your phone (or GPS). Lots of trails are in areas where there is no service so you won’t be able to rely on Google Maps to help you out all the time. Also make sure you tell someone (who is not coming with you) where you’re going and when you should be back.

Always make sure to bring enough water for the warm summer months.  It can be even warmer in the mountains, and being without water can lead to dehydration. Snacks such as high protein granola bars and trail mix are light to carry but help out a lot when you get hungry. Also, if the worst happens and you get lost, you don’t want to spend a night with no food or water.

Rice Lake - Active KSA Hike

In the summer, it’s best to dress in layers of lighter clothing so that you can adjust to the temperature of the day. The biggest thing people forget is that in the evening it can still cool down a fair bit, especially in the mountains. 

Sunscreen is important to help avoid sun burns. There is a lot of talk about which SPF is the best to use, however in my personal experience, using SPF 30 and reapplying regularly is the best practice. Don’t forget your sunglasses, and bring a hat to help avoid possible sun or heat stroke. 

Lighthouse Park & Crystal Falls - Active KSA Hikes

5. GEAR 
There are a few essential gear items that you should always have with you when you go hiking: flashlight or headlamp, first aid kit, fire starting tools (waterproof matches or lighter), a repair kit and tools, and an emergency shelter.

There is a lot of wildlife on the Lower Mainland hiking trails, and you may come across some of the bigger animals such as bears and cougars. Make sure you read up about what to do when you encounter larger wildlife. Also, packing a whistle and/or bear bangers is a good idea for any encounters.

Buntzen Lake - Active KSA Hike

Having Search and Rescue’s number is like having car insurance, you have it for the worst-case situation, but you hope you never need it. If you get lost, or if someone is injured, calling Search and Rescue is the best way to get help. It is FREE to call Search and Rescue for help in BC!

The hiking areas in the Lower Mainland have some stunning views that people come from around the world to see. Make sure you bring your camera to snap that amazing shot that will be perfect for your next Instagram post.

Killarney Lake & Lynn Canyon - Active KSA Hikes

And most importantly, have a great time, enjoy nature, and leave no trace behind so that the beauty we get to enjoy is preserved for years.

If you aren’t quite ready to get hiking on your own yet, come join me with Active KSA. We have two hikes coming up this August. Check them out at

I hope you have as much fun hiking as I do. Hope to see you on the trails!

- Tonya

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Who Are We?

Before we dive into all the ‘real’ posts, it might be helpful to give you more information on who we are. As contributors to the blog and as an organization.


Just in case you ended up here all the sudden, without warning, and are a little confused on who we are ... The KSA (Kwantlen Student Association) is a student run and student funded organization that exists to support Kwantlen students. Say student one more time, right? But that’s why we’re here. We’ve created programs and services that help make your life as a KPU student easier, we advocate for the issues that affect you most and we host events so you can have a good time when you're not in class. Essentially, we find out where there are gaps in your student experience and attempt to fill them in.

The KSA is made up of a student council (which you vote for), 4 student executives and staff that support the programs and initiatives. You’ll see us at campus events, read our posters on the bulletin boards and probably eat some of the free food we hand out. Overall, we’re here to support you and build #KPUcampuslife.

Want more information? Interested in our financial documents? Want to see an extensive list of the departments and services we provide? Our website is the best place to find all that information. Copy and paste, bookmark or write it down:

The (Regular) Writers
We have a lot to say. Really, we do. There are a bunch of us here at the KSA that have tips/tricks/advice/experiences/information we want to share with you. Let us be your spirit guides (ok, that was weird, you’re right). Anyways, we have some cool stuff to say and we’d love for you to give our little blog a read.

But who are we? Meet the KSA Staff that will be contributing to the blog regularly. Drumroll please…

Kendell Kitt - Clubs & Outreach Coordinator
As the KSA's Clubs & Outreach Coordinator, Kendell leads the KSA Street Team, supports Kwantlen Clubs and posts content across all @KSAcouncil social media accounts (follow us). Outside of work, you’ll find her eating yummy vegan food, planning her next trip, or binge watching Greys Anatomy.

Tonya Myhedyn - Active KSA Coordinator
Tonya is our Active KSA Coordinator. She works on providing healthy and active living events and programming. Most of the time Tonya can be found on the Richmond campus planning weekly adventures and resources for students. When she's not at work, Tonya is likely at a dance studio, riding her bike, or reading a book. A serious wine enthusiast, Tonya also has a love for birds (especially cockatoos)! 

Mairi Lester - Sustainability Coordinator
As the KSA's Sustainability Coordinator, eco-friendly initiatives like food waste, Kwantlen St. Market and the Westerman campus garden are Mairi's (rasberry) jam. Known for her witty vegetable puns and great book recommendations, Mairi's often diving into a new knitting project or volunteering with Girl Guides of Canada. 

John O'Brian - Advocacy Coordinator
(Student Rights)
John is the KSA's Advocacy Coordinator. He's the one that you can go to if you ever find yourself in a sticky situation with the university and need advice, help or support. A social justice warrior, when he's not working in the Student Rights Centre he's likely to be making obscure references or building fully automated luxury space communism.

Nicki Simpson - Policy & Political Affairs Coordinator
Nicki is the Policy and Political Affairs Coordinator at the KSA. She works with elected students and other staff to help run campaigns, research and write policies, and lobby different levels of government for initiatives that support students. When Nicki isn't at the office, she's watching way too much Netflix or adventuring in the forest.

Josephine Wong - Marketing & Communications Coordinator (Blog Design & Tech Support)
A design wiz, Josephine is our behind the scenes support. In addition to designing KSA posters, ordering marketing materials and coding our website, she's the go-to person whenever you have a question. Bacon lover, night owl and gamer, Josephine is rarely seen without an energy drink in hand.

Thanks for reading!