SAIT Board of Directors breakdown
Changes are afoot for SAITSA. At the last Board of Director (BOD) meeting on Monday, Feb. 5 the student union group ushered in major changes including becoming full-time members of the provincial lobby group Alberta Students Executive Council (ASEC), starting the search for the next SAIT Board of Governors student representative, launching new sub-committees, a Calgary city hall field trip and the pursuit of Quality Money, money provided by the SAIT Board of Governors to invest in projects that enhance the student experience.
President Alex Dimopoulos
Dimopoulos reported on the recent visit of Alberta Premier Rachel Notley to SAIT on Thursday, Jan. 18. He described the event as going well. The president met with SAIT communications and in order to gain feedback on what is needed by SAITSA to better promote events. The student union is trying to get events on the TV monitors around campus and is exploring what can be done to make events more useful for SAIT students. SAITSA will soon be hosting an ASEC conference that will be taking place from March 2 to 5. The president is still pursuing SAITSA merchandise on campus and how distribution will take place.
VP Academic Alysson Torres-Gillett
Her recent Gateway House Party was one of the best attended SAITSA event yet. However, the event had less guests than Alex’s Toga Party in the fall. SAITSA gave away $600 in furniture during the event. She reported that she has had five meetings with students and attended 12 classroom talks advertising the SAITSA awards. She also addressed ethics and academic misconduct at some of the talks.
VP Student Life Connor Goodfellow
Goodfellow is reviewing and working with the student experience department, looking to finalize areas. Goodfellow announced that he was preparing to attend the National Association of Campus Activities (NACA) conference in a few weeks.
VP External Rachel Moerschfelder
Moerschfelder recently hosted a field trip for BOD members to Calgary City Hall. She said the group “learned a lot” and got to meet Ward 7 councillor Druh Farrell. Moerschfelder said that SAITSA now has the opportunity to go back to City Hall and voice an opinion on secondary suites. She has been working on an advocacy plan for the past month, describing it as a “very long process.” Moerschfelder is hoping to present the results to the BOD next month or in April. The VP External has developed a SAITSA lobby document, “Building something incredible,” to present when meeting with MLAs. The document presents student issues and advocates for SAITSA headquarters. Moerschfelder said she is hoping to get the funding moving forward on the student headquarters.
SAITSA is currently working to address the United Progressive Conservative (UPC) party policy proposals and the concern about the potential changes to the Post-Secondary Education Policy Proposal. The potential changes include making memberships in student associations voluntary. SAITSA is currently drafting a proposal in the hopes that there is time to influence the UPC decision and they are still taking proposals from members and another survey that will be addressed at the Annual General Meeting. The BOD was encouraged to read up on the proposed UPC changes. There is no full contingency plan right now if the changes are implemented by the UPC, if they win the next provincial election. The overall direction SAITSA is working towards is finding and developing plans if the UPC are elected and how SAITSA will continue forward if this happens.
The Finance committee met with Shona Sutherland to discuss if a budget increase was possible. The committee endorsed the ASEC membership fee associated with becoming full time members of the student lobby group. It was put forth that by remaining members of ASEC, SAITSA would have a stronger voice when lobbying to the government.
Governance is currently working on an overhaul of the BOD bylaws. Recommendations for review were due to Rachel Paris by Feb. 16.
The Advocacy committee visited City Hall as a field trip. The group hopes to do so on a regular basis. They will be returning to City Hall on March 12.
Student Expansion has reviewed the steps of the SAITSA headquarters. The student building is currently waiting for provincial government approval and funding. The committee members will be speaking with stakeholder groups to find out what spaces are needed in the building, including areas such as study spaces and clubs.
Board of Governors Student Representative Tanya Pittis
She has been meeting with Dr. Ross to discuss goal setting with the SAIT Board of Govenors. She is also working on establishing a Quality Money fund at SAIT. The University of Calgary (U of C) has a $1.5 million Quality Money fund. Through the fund students get to create initiatives that focus on student concerns. Pittis is exploring getting funding from the SAIT Board of Directors in the range of $1.3-$1.4 million. The Quality Money fund would be centred on student projects with students in charge. If approved, SAITSA would have to form a Quality Money committee and the money would be made available by SAIT.
In their last meeting they discussed operating as a sub-committee for a new committee at SAIT. The SAIT sub-committee will be bringing together members from across campus into one committee in an effort to improve communication. The group wants student members to sit on the committee. The student would act as chair of the sub-committee. They are looking to propose it should be VP Student Life. Dimopoulos said this was led by SAITSA influencing SAIT to make a committee. A working group is coming together, but the sub-committee is fairly new and not fully developed. SAITSA is part of the planning. The committee will advise the Office of Sustainability.
The BOD voted to become full members of the student lobby group ASEC. Other members of ASEC include the NAIT Student’s Association, Ambrose University student council, the ACAD Student’s Association and more. Moerschfelder said that ASEC is critical in maintaining the ear of the provincial government because it is the most direct government in regards to post-secondary education. ASEC represents more than 100,000 students, mostly from colleges and polytechnics. Currently SAITSA is paying $15,000 in probationary dues. ASEC is working on changes bylaws focusing on ensuring the group student led and staff driven. Problems with the bylaws was one of the reasons SAITSA moved to become probationary members in 2017. Moerschfelder said that SAITSA needs a voice for the upcoming provincial election and needs to advocate in the most impactful way to the provincial government. She said this would work better with ASEC. The cost of becoming full members of ASEC again will be spread over all departments in SAITSA to cover cost. Moerschfelder said this will not affect students or reduce services.
Minor changes were made to the SAITSA club policies. The last time changes were made were in 2013 on two separate policies, many of the current policies are from 2000 and 2002. Redundancies were found in the review, including procedures that didn’t need to be there, said Goodfellow. Changes to the policies have been tabled as action items for the next BOD meeting. Committee members will research and develop information before re-writing the policies.
The BOD has begun their search for the next student representative on the SAIT Board of Governors. A committee was struck who will look to find the next representative with the goal of narrowing the race down to between one and three applicants. The committee will begin as soon as possible to get the search underway.