Board of directors address important student issues
The board of directors (BOD) met on Monday, Nov. 6 and discussed an array of issues that directly affect students.
VP student life, Connor Goodfellow, opened the meeting with a motion to include acknowledgement that the BOD meetings take place on traditional Treaty Seven lands shared by the Blackfoot, Stoney Nakoda and the T’suu T’ina nations, and respect the fact that SAIT sits on indigenous territories. Goodfellow said that the acknowledgement was needed because the board consists of Canadians that meet on traditional Indigenous land, and there is a duty to respect and acknowledge the cultures that are a part of Canada.
SAITSA President Alex Dimopoulos
Dimopoulos announced the final approval for the SAITSA headquarters, a stand-alone building for the student association, would come before the SAIT Board of Governors at the November meeting.
The SAITSA president is continuing to research how students feel about smoking on campus.
The new strategic vision was shared with the new chair and vice chair of the BOD to begin working on a timeline for its release.
Dimopoulos and VP Academic, Alysson Torres-Gillett, met with the Gallivan Group to discuss possible coverage for apprentices through the student health plan.
SAITSA VP External Rachel Moerschfelder
Moerschfelder was recently at an Alberta Students’ Executive Council (ASEC) meeting and described it as the best conference she’s attended so far. She said SAITSA presented bylaw changes for the lobby group, and the ASEC membership was open to these changes. If the bylaws are ratified, the ASEC board will be reduced to five members. Probationary memberships will be removed and the positions of chair and vice chair will be removed giving the five members of the ASEC board equal responsibility. If these changes are adopted, Moerschfelder will urge SAITSA to become full-time members again.
SAITSA VP Academic Alysson Torres-Gillett
Torres-Gillett said she has been making an effort to talk with students face-to-face to get to know the SAIT student body. She also made lists of things to help make student life better for students. Torres-Gillett cited student concerns including the need for a fall reading break, different events, and different hours for bowling.
SAITSA has launched a contest to interact with students more often by handing out Calgary Flames tickets. People have to tell SAITSA representatives one thing about the student association to get an entry into the draw. If they are unable to answer, cards will be available so they can educate people around them.
Torres-Gillett said an opt-in program does not best benefit students in terms of health care because it will cost more than Blue Cross if implemented, and is looking to talk to all SAIT students to see what they want from the health plan.
Torres-Gillett said the SAIT Academic Council is looking to work and focus on student concerns and engagement. She is sitting on multiple committees in an effort to better reach SAIT students.
The recently introduced SAITSA student grant program has handed out $4000 to students, and is still working to create an Ombudsman to better represent students. An Ombudsman is an individual officially appointed to investigate complaints made about an organization or public authorities.
SAITSA VP Student Life Connor Goodfellow
A campus activity board is being created, but there is a need to consult with the campus life committee to make sure that what is created accommodates students schedules and free time.
Goodfellow said that they are continuing to work on instituting new clubs rules.
The governance board is still working on creating chair and vice chair job descriptions for the BOD.
The BOD is continuing to work on professional development requests.
The BOD committee appointments were established and finalized. BOD members are required to sit on two committees, unless they requested only one. These committees meet separately outside the BOD. The committees are Finance, Governance, Campus Life, Strategic Planning, Advocacy, Environmental Sustainability and the Student Space Expansion. These committees are expected to meet at least once before the next BOD meeting so they can submit reports to the board. The entire board must approve changes proposed by the committees.
BOD member Daniel Caine wanted to reminded people that SAIT and SAITSA scholarships are coming up soon.