Education Undergraduate Society celebrates its 30th year

What started as a primarily social club, the Education Undergraduate Society (EUS) is now one of the most socially responsible clubs on campus.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the EUS has evolved into a community leader for educational initiatives, reaching out to southern Alberta on a variety of platforms that connect the University to the broader community in multiple ways.

"In the last year or so, that's something we've really been working on, going further with our community involvement," says EUS president Alisha Janiga, a fifth-year education student from Crowsnest Pass.

EUS Society
Members of the Education Undergraduate Society, including Chelsey Merkel, Alisha Janiga and Ashley LePage display backpacks from their Bust the Backpack initiative.

While the EUS has been active with its Anti-Bullying and Cyberbullying Awareness Week and Bust the Backpack campaigns for the last four years, it has now involved itself with the first Word on the Street festival and local Boys and Girls Club.

"We had a presence at Word on the Street talking about our tutoring program, and we just started working with the Boys and Girls Club as a resource for them, doing some tutoring and working with the kids there," says Janiga. "We're really proud to have been around as a society for 30 years. We've been looking back at resource binders from previous executives and all the work they've done in the past and it's really inspired us to keep going and to try and expand the scope of the EUS."

Ashley Lepage is the EUS vice-president external, and was thrilled to find one of her most influential high school teachers have a history with the EUS.

"Looking back at some of the photos of past executives, I found one of my favourite teachers was a part of EUS," she says of a high school English teacher from her hometown of Airdrie. "She was one of the main reasons I wanted to become a teacher and I never knew she was in EUS when she attended here."

The current Bust the Backpack campaign is on a mission to fill 50 backpacks with basic school supplies for those children who cannot afford the educational necessities. It was born out of need, something that EUS members recognized when they were in schools for practicum experience.

"We distribute the backpacks in January, and that's a time when a lot of students are running out of supplies and in need of help," says EUS vice-president internal, Chelsey Merkel, a Drumheller native.

"We've had a lot of positive feedback from the schools telling us how much their students appreciate it and how it helps them become better learners, so that kind of keeps us going."

Janiga says that the 30th anniversary of EUS has given the executive an excuse to look back and it's exciting to see how much the society has grown.

"It seemed to start as a social support for education students, an outlet to have some fun outside of class and over the years it's grown to become more academic, relating more with faculty and the community," she says.

In fact, it's that faculty support that has been a big part of the EUS moving forward.

"They are our foundation," says Janiga. "If we have any questions they are always there. Both Dr. Rick Mrazek and Dr. Lorraine Beaudin sit on our executive and they help us with so much. If there is anything we need, the faculty has always been beside us with support."

If anyone has information from the early years of the EUS, they are urged to contact

This story first appeared in the December 2011 issue of the Legend. If you'd like to see the full issue in a flipbook format, follow this link.