Taking Care and Taking Charge

“In this lively book, Ellen draws upon her relationships over time to unearth stories about residence life, and interweaves these stories into the historical fabric. You will find story upon story about residence life in the old, small brick residences and in the new high-rise towers of Lister Hall. Enjoy!”

Dima Utgoff, Director of Residence Services,
Lister Hall, 1997-2012

“In this book you will hear from student leaders about their time in office. What is unique about the UofA SU and GSA is that both are separate legal corporations from the university. Thus the title Taking Charge. It’s a page turner!”

David Jenkins, SU President, 1962-1963

“I consider Taking Charge to be one of the largest and lasting non-monetary contributions to the Uof A in its history. But for Ellen, so many of these important stories would have been lost forever.”

Ivan Ivankovich, former SU president at Canisius College,
a reader of my books, and UofA Professor Emeritus.

Taking Care: Alumni Stories about Life in the Original Residences and Lister Hall, 1911-2020


Taking Charge: A History of the SU and GSA, 19082021

I have always wanted to gather stories about residence life and the SU and GSA. “Taking care” was a phrase often used by the beloved Reg Lister, the first superintendent of residences. By the time I wrote this book, I knew a lot about the early residences and a little about life in Lister. I self-published these, my 4th and 5th books, in large part because I wanted to write abut the students’ lawsuits against the U.

Two things intrigued me about the residence life book. First, what was it like for students who lived in the three small brick residences when they moved into the Lister towers. Thanks to Alumni Director Sean Price, I met with alumni who were there at the time. We were all at a huge alumni dinner and Sean had the MC tell all the assembled that I was writing a book about residence life.

Second, what were the pranks like? Students told me all about it occasionally without publishing their names. What I also learned was that the residences produced many strong leaders.

As for Taking Charge, I worked with many SU and GSA presidents. I interviewed dozens for this book. Did you know that the Uof A is the only U in North America where the two student organizations are legal corporations separate from the university? Thus the University cannot directly interfere with either organization. Only the government can.

Akanksha Bhatnagar, SU President 2019-2020, leading a protest for #StudentsNotSilent

Books 4 and 5 are at Audrey’s Books.
Book 6?
I’m thinking about it!