Nearly 70 per cent of University of Guelph-Humber students want a fall reading break, according to results of a vote conducted at the campus.
Last month, IGNITE held a debate on the matter, later conducting a survey with almost one third of the student body participating, and then a vote. The results are that 69 per cent of Guelph-Humber students are in favour of the interval, offered at many post-secondary institutions in Canada.
“The vote from the survey will only help us to show the Guelph Senate what the collective student opinion is regarding the fall reading break,” said Maja Jocson, Vice President of Student Affairs at Guelph-Humber.
The survey also revealed that 71 percent of students believe a fall reading break would benefit their mental health, with 65 per cent of students believing the recess should be five days long.
Jocson reminds students that the vote doesn’t necessarily mean that the fall reading break will happen.
“Guelph-Humber is under the University of Guelph’s Senate, therefore any academic calendar changes that occur at Guelph-Humber have to go through the Guelph Senate.
“What we can do on our end is to make recommendations for them and ensure we are doing our best to advocate on behalf of students,” she continued. “We will be using the results and research we did for this campaign to strengthen our case when we do present it to the Senate.”
If the Senate does grant the break, “it would take two to three years for this to be implemented because of the process of changing academic calendars.”
Nineteen-year-old Priya Rajkumar, a student in Media Studies at Guelph-Humber, isn’t surprised by student support for a fall reading week.
“I expected the outcome of the election results. Almost all schools in Ontario have one and November can be a stressful time of the year for students.”
Rajkumar added, however, “I personally did not want a fall reading week. I did not want to run the risk of ending the fall semester later since that is the time where I usually go on vacation.”
John Mendoza, also a 19-year-old student in Guelph-Humber’s Media Studies program, agreed: “By not having a fall reading break, I’m able to have a longer winter break and take a longer leave for a vacation or other time.”
While believing a break is always good, Jocson is unsure “adding this break will ultimately answer the underlying problem of mental health.
“What I know is that we need to show students that we will support them, we hear them, and we care about them.”
Maintaining communication, she says, was the goal of the multi-pronged Ignite effort on the matter.
“Before jumping into big decisions, the most important thing that we can do is to ensure that we cover all of our grounds and communicate with everyone who will be affected.”