February Executive Blog

Ten months into my first term as an AUSU councillor and executive member, I recently had the opportunity to reflect back on all that we’ve accomplished. I am proud to say that the AUSU executives have had strong support from council, and as a result, we have accomplished many things.

The topic of student engagement was a huge priority for me this past term. While this will certainly be an ongoing endeavour, we’ve taken some huge steps towards increasing our membership’s interactions with our organization. In particular, I would highlight the launch of an Instagram account (be sure to follow us!) and the passing of our podcast proposal.

Also, thank you to everyone that participated in our annual member survey. The results show that already, in a very short period of time, our Instagram platform is utilized by our members more than LinkedIn, Twitter and the Voice Magazine.

This seems like a huge win in the arena of engagement, and we will continue to broaden our postings to reflect the diversity of our membership.

This term, I was able to capitalize on my proximity to the Athabasca campus and hosted some very successful Facebook Live events, one in which I was able to provide students with a virtual tour of the Athabasca campus and another one where I interviewed the AU President, Dr. Neil Fassina and Provost/VP Academic, Dr. Matt Prineas. I intend to host many more of these interactive events moving forward, and would love to hear if there is anything or anyone in particular that you’d like to see featured in one of these events.

There was also an appetite from council to update the look and feel of our current website. We are currently working towards a more interactive and engaging website and a new logo for our organization. A lot of work and effort has gone into this project which will make it incredibly rewarding to see it come to fruition hopefully as early as April 2019, so stay tuned!

Shifting gears slightly to the other side of the VP External and Student Affairs portfolio, which is advocacy, both internal and external, there are several more updates.

I have worked hard this year to lay the foundation for our organization to do more provincial advocacy. This work started, with our President Brandon Simmons’ help, researching existing provincial advocacy groups, what they could offer to our student voice, what costs would be associated, and if the appropriate outcomes and objectives would be met. We are exploring different partnerships that may allow us to achieve meetings with various MPs and other members of government. By fostering these relationships, we have the opportunity to voice our concerns, and ensure that those shaping policies that directly affect our members will hear us.

On a federal level, I continue to work hard on the Federal Policy Committee through AUSU’s membership with CASA (Canadian Alliance of Student Associations). Work experience during study and increased employment opportunities after graduation are important issues for AU students, so I am currently working on developing CASA’s policy for 100% WIL (Work Integrated Learning).

This past year, we have accomplished a lot; the launch of the Instagram account, a new podcast, rebranding with a new website and logo, new provincial advocacy opportunities and so much more. There is still more to be done but I am confident that with council’s current momentum, 2019 is going to be another great year.

Melinda Goertz
VP External And Student Affairs