Sometimes it’s hard to get out of bed after a nice long holiday and trudge through the rain and snow to class. But the VIUSU is there to make your return to campus more exciting. The VIUSU offers free events and services for students, including Frost events, a variety of clubs, an international discount card, a smartphone app, and advocacy.

Every January, the VIUSU welcomes students back to school with a series of (mostly) free events called VIUSU Frost. On January 13 Straight Outta Compton will be playing at the VIU gym at 7:30 p.m. On January 14, from 8 to 11 a.m., there will be a pancake breakfast at the Royal Bank Plaza. Frost continues into the next week with a visit from Vancouver TheatreSports, with tickets costing $5. Frost concludes the following week with two more events. On Tuesday, January 26, there will be free skating at Frank Crane Arena (including a shuttle bus there and back, admission, and skate rentals) from 6 to 8:30 p.m. On January 28, there will be free curling at the Nanaimo Curling Centre from 8 to 10 p.m. Due to space restrictions, you must sign up for the curling event in advance at the VIUSU office by 4 p.m. on January 26. For more events, keep tabs on the VIUSU Facebook page.

Looking for something to do after all the Frost events are done? There’s a multitude of clubs to join, including many that are program-related, as well as the Beekeepers’ Club, the Cosplay Club, the Game Developers’ Initiative, the World VIU Social Club, the VIU Run Club, and more. It only costs $2 to join a club. If none of the current clubs suit your fancy, you can also apply for late club ratification and create your own. Clubs are given funding from the VIUSU to use toward events, workshops, and more. Check out the VIU website or the VIUSU app for a complete list.

To help with your New Year’s budgeting goals, the VIUSU is able to give students an International Student Discount Card (ISIC) free of charge. The ISIC card gets you discounts locally, nationally, and internationally.  Some local places offering discounts include Fountain Tire, Rasta Troll, NYLA Fresh Thread, Domino’s Pizza, and the Students’ Union Pub. Grab a pamphlet from the Students’ Union or look on the ISIC website or VIUSU app for a full list of discounts.

The VIUSU app is a hub for student activity. Students can create their own profile and interact with other students. There’s a general student feed that you can post on, as well as specific categories such as lost and found, housing, and ride sharing. All clubs and groups on campus have an account where they post information about their meetings and events. You can find a list of campus services on the app, as well as a section dedicated to exams and mental health, and campus information. There’s also a calendar with important dates marked, and you can add your own events to it.

When students have questions about their rights or university policies and regulations, want to file a formal appeal, or just need someone to talk to, the student advocate is there. The student advocate can assist in gathering information about cases, discuss possible courses of action, participate in meetings between students and university officials as a witness, and refer students elsewhere for assistance or advice. The student advocate will not offer legal advice or answer legal questions, but the VIUSU does offer a voucher for students seeking legal advice.

The VIUSU also works on campaigns aimed to better student life. Current campaigns include Squash the Squeeze, Don’t Close the Doors on Adult Education, and Fight for $15. Squash the Squeeze works toward lowering tuition fees; Don’t Close the Doors on Adult Educations aims to banish the new fees for the Adult Basic Education Program; and Fight for $15 looks at raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. In the past, the VIUSU has been successful in many of their campaigns, including banning disposable water bottles and sweatshop products on campus.

There are many reasons to be excited to return to VIU this semester, and these are only a few. Check out our calendar for fun events, and continue to read the Navigator for more on making the most of your time at VIU.