CALGARY -- Weeks after a similar display in Edmonton, students used snow penguins to protest provincial cuts to post-secondary education.

Braving frigid temperatures, members from the Council of Alberta University Students arranged 300 snow penguins across the steps of the provincial government McDougall Centre on Monday.  

Several of the snow penguins featured signs with messages from individual students, describing how post-secondary cuts are affecting their mindsets and finances.

“These provincial cuts are driving up tuition costs for students,” said Marley Gillies of the Council of University Students.  

“Over three years, students are expected to absorb a 22.5 percent increase to their tuitions, and this is on top of an already difficult time." 

The provincial post-secondary cuts come on the heels of a challenging summer for many students, who were unable to find employment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“Students rely on the summer time to work in order to afford their living and school expenses during the year; adding on this tuition increase makes it a very difficult time,” said Gillies.

Due to health concerns surrounding public gatherings, Gillies said the snow penguins were the best option to deliver a message to the provincial government.

“We thought it was a fun and creative way to protest and share the stories of students, and what we want is for the Minister of Advanced Education is to stop the cuts and support Alberta students," she said.

The Council of Alberta University Students said there are plans for future displays in other centres, such as Lethbridge.