Last Blog from outgoing President Brandon Simmons!

It is hard for me to imagine that this will be my final executive blog.  I was first elected to the AUSU council back in 2015.  This was a very different time for the organization, and since then, I have had the privilege to work alongside many amazing student leaders who have helped to transform AUSU into the organization that it is today.  The past few years have been an amazing experience, and I am so grateful that I have had the opportunity to represent you, not only at the university level but also to the provincial and federal government. 

While it is difficult to leave an organization that you have invested so much time into, I am able to do so with the utmost confidence.  AUSU has an amazing, dedicated, and caring staff that comes to work every day to help provide services and support for students like you.  Additionally, I have had the opportunity to work with the newly elected council and executives, and I am very confident in what they will be able to accomplish over the next couple of years. 

I know that this is a trying time for so many students. We are in unprecedented times, and we are all dealing with various challenges in the wake of this pandemic.  In this challenging time, I want you to know that AUSU is here to help.  Since the start of the pandemic, AUSU has been working hard to advocate on behalf of students.  We are in constant contact with the university, raising the concerns that we are hearing from students and pushing them to bring into effect new solutions to support students.  We are also working hard to advocate to the provincial and federal governments to ensure that the unique needs of AU students are being considered. 

While we continue to fight for you, I want to also encourage students to take time to reflect on their current situation.  I am not a great example of this as I often try and just push through the challenges that come my way; however, I can speak to the adverse effects that this has.  It times of uncertainty and high stress, just pushing through can take a toll on both your physical and mental health.  I think back to 2013 when I went through the Southern Alberta Floods.  This was a very uncertain time for my family and me early on in my AU degree.  A lot was going on, and I felt pressure to push through and finish my class so that I could continue my schooling as normal.

The truth was, things were not normal, and as much as I wanted them to be normal, I could not change the circumstances I found myself in.  I wish that at that time in my life, I would have taken the time to slow down and take better care of myself and my family.  I ended up putting myself through a lot more pressure and stress than I needed to, and at the end of the day, I still ended up failing the class.  At that time, I wasn’t in the right mental space to be trying to rush through an economics course.

I know that it can be hard to slow down, and in some situations, it is not possible to, but I would encourage you to reflect on your situation and utilize the resources being offered to you. 

For more information on what support Athabasca University is offering for students, please visit their website here.

It is difficult to leave the organization during such a challenging time for students. Still, I know that your new executive team is very dedicated and will continue to work hard on your behalf. 

Brandon Simmons
AUSU President

Here’s a few highlights from Brandon’s many years on AUSU student council!

AUSU would like to thank Brandon for all of his fantastic work for the AU Students’ Union, his unwavering student and council support, and his ongoing advocacy efforts on behalf of AU students. Brandon was elected to AUSU student council in 2015. During his time on council, he served as  President (2018-2020), as well as VP Finance and Administration, VP External and Student Affairs, many committee appointments both within AUSU and AU, and served on the AU Board of Governors and AU General Faculties Council. We are happy to see he will be continuing to support students as a Faculty Representative to Council for the AU Graduate Students’ Association (AUGSA).

We wish you all the best in the future, Brandon!