50 Student signatures is all it takes

SAITSA is looking to encourage students to run for the SAITSA Board of Directors (BOD) in an effort to ensure SAIT students have full political representation. 

“We want students to know that being part of the board is an extremely amazing opportunity to develop leadership skills, make new friends and be the voice of SAITSA,” said Jessica Powell, SAITSA policy development staff member. 

Last year the BOD faced a low candidate turn out, and struggled to fill the fifteen-member requirement for the board. 

Students will be able to vote in BOD elections from Wednesday, Oct. 4 to Thursday, Oct. 5 online or at one of the three polling stations on campus. 

A SAITSA Promo Team has been out and about in an effort to promote the BOD elections, building off a foundation of student engagement established last year, said Powell. 

The current BOD has been encouraged to actively recruit and tell students to run for the board. 

The election kicked off on Tuesday, Sept. 5 and candidates are able to enter the race until Wednesday, Sept. 27, over the course of two separate nomination periods. 

“What we really want this year is to have more people run. We also really want to see quality people run who really are passionate about creating change,” said Powell. 

Of the 15 positions needed to fill the BOD, only nine members were elected last year. 

For the 2016-2017 BOD, 12 students ran to sit on the board and eight were elected leaving seven seats vacant. 

Of the SAIT students eligible to vote in the election, 7.84 per cent participated in the BOD election. 

The board was able to get up and running, but this year, SAITSA is looking to rectify the low turn out by actively working to increase student engagement. 

“The number one thing we would say is that we had a very engaged board this year, we had a lot of members come out to events,” said Powell. 

The BOD serves as the highest decision making body of SAITSA and last year accomplished tasks that included attending SAITSA sponsored events, completing a Watson Governance Review, hiring a new neutral facilitator for board meetings, approving a student grant program, making bylaw changes and working towards creating a more transparent board. 

“The organization needs students so that they can translate what SAITSA wants to achieve at the end of the day. It can only be done by students,” said Mitch Holt, SAITSA BOD chairman. 

Members who are elected to the board are expected to volunteer 10 to 15 hours of their time per month for SAITSA. 

The BOD offers a number of different avenues to get involved with SAIT student life. “I’ve definitely gotten leadership skills and developed good relationships with people. I’ve learned a lot governance wise. It really is just getting involved, going to events and knowing people,” said Holt. 

To enter the leadership race students are required to obtain 50 student signatures in support of their candidacy, attend a candidate’s information session, tear down campaign posters and attend the Candidate Night on Tuesday, Oct. 3. 

Students can claim expenses of up to $200 for their candidacy run promotional materials from SAITSA. 

Candidates are not allowed to campaign in any SAITSA run centres, doing so can lead to a disqualification. 

Running for the BOD offers a number of benefits to students, said Holt. 

“[The BOD] develops those skills and getting involved in your community and making a difference, said Holt.” 

For those interested in running in the BOD elections, candidate forms can be downloaded from the SAITSA website or printed off at the main SAITSA office. SAITSA has begun to relieve nomination packages. 

See stats on page 8. 

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