NEW: The first AUSU Exec Blog
Update from VPEX Kim Newsome

Exec Blog - August 2014

Hello everyone and welcome to the first AUSU Executive Blog!!!! The AUSU Executive plan to put up a new blog entry each month to keep you informed of what AUSU is working on.

I have foolishly volunteered to write the first entry. I am not an experienced blogger. In fact, I have never even kept a diary or written in a journal. So, this is a very new experience and hopefully a great learning opportunity for me.

Since this is the first entry, I guess I will just start with a little summary of our current council.

We had our bi-annual elections in March and officially started as a new council on April 1, 2014. Only two of us are returning from last term (myself and Jason Nixon). The remaining 6 are new to council and we still have one vacant seat that we plan to hold a bi-election for in the coming months. The new council has been very busy learning about AUSU and their new roles. We have completed a student leadership course as a group where we have been able to get to know each other better and become familiar with working via distance. We have also set our goals for the next fiscal year, which I will touch on a bit later. Overall we have been very busy and we are just getting the ball rolling on a lot of projects which we should be able to update each month in this blog.

Along with the election in March, the membership also passed a vote on a proposed Health Care Plan. This is something the membership had asked for and AUSU has worked hard to deliver. Since our membership is unique, our health care plan also had to be unique. We are proud to say that we will be able to offer a first of its kind opt in/opt out health care plan that will be available across Canada, to members of all ages. We are currently working closely with AU to get the final details in place. Watch for an announcement in the coming months for our official launch!

E-text and Student Success Centre are topics that we continue to discuss within AUSU, at Board of Governor meetings, at General Faculty Council meetings, and any other meetings that we have with stakeholders. Our past survey on AU's instructional model and our recent E-text Survey have provided us with more information on our members' wants and needs. We continue to communicate these with AU and will continue to voice member concerns.

The last thing that I'd like to talk about today is AUSU's goals for the upcoming fiscal year (which starts October 1). I hope that by the next time it is my turn to write this blog, that I will be able to talk about some of the progress on these goals in more detail. To start, here is an overview of some things we hope to accomplish:

Website: improvements such as online award applications, course evaluations, and possible information on career links.

Communication: completing work on an AUSU member orientation manual and having the new Member Engagement and Communications Committee focus on communication content and frequency.

Lobbying: updating our lobby documents and investigating new ways to lobby for AUSU members.

Services: implement the health care plan and investigate ideas for new services.

Thanks for reading! Since three of us are going to share this responsibility, I look forward to my next turn in November.

Kim Newsome
AUSU VP External

You may also read this, and an archive of past executive blogs, on the Exec Blog page free for AUSU Members!
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Election 2014
Election and Referendum Results

The 2014 AUSU election is complete and here are the results*.

Jason Nixon - 118
Megan Daigneault - 85
Christine Villeneuve - 81
Kim Newsome - 78
Evan Schmidt - 73
Alexander Poulton - 65
Shawna Wasylyshyn - 63
Corrina Green - 60
Bonita Arbeau - 56
Joe Gaetan - 55
Don Joseph Janzen - 54
Grace Wakatama - 49
Steven Heer - 40
Sakib Manjawala - 38
Laura Zhu - 36
Dezrine Tomlin Smith - 31
Shaunese Lawrence - 27
Shane Romualdi - 21

(*In the event of discrepancy between this posting and the CRO's report the latter shall prevail)

The top nine candidates shall form the new council. The councillors-elect will take office on April 1. The existing council will shortly hold an AGM to review last year's financials and their final progress report. Watch this space for the date and details.

The 2014 AUSU Health & Dental care referendum is now complete. AUSU is pleased to announce that our proposed health care plan has been approved by a large majority of voters.

The final vote was 274 vote for, vs 14 votes against for a better than 95% approval rate.

We will begin work with AU on the implementation of the plan, which will be in place by September when new tuition and fee rates take effect. As previously noted, no student will be required to enrol in the plan.

We thank you for taking the time to review the plan, ask us questions, and vote in the referendum.