Summer Updates & Good Things to Come
Despite heading into summer, the AUSU Executive Team has remained extremely busy during the past month with increased municipal, provincial and federal advocacy, internal organizational matters, and community-building initiatives.
First, let us welcome six new Councillors to our team after an exciting By-Election where a total of eleven candidates put their names forward. Welcome Dur-E-Najaf, Cassandra, Eva, Leah, Jesse, and Meredith! We commend you for participating and encourage all candidates who ran to get involved in our committees and initiatives throughout the year as members-at-large.
In other news, we are proud to announce that President Stacey Hutchings has been elected to the Board of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) as Treasurer, where she will provide regular updates on CASA’s finances to members. Stacey has been hard at work representing AU students on the municipal, provincial, and federal level, attending a variety of conferences for CASA, Council of Alberta Students (CAUS), and the Calgary Student Alliance (CSA), as well as sitting on the AU Board of Governors and various Presidential and Dean search committees.
Vice President External Karen Fletcher has been working hard providing provincial and federal advocacy. She has been elected as a member of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) and Policy Committees for CASA, as well as the Chair of the Policy Committee for CAUS. She has been busy attending recent CASA and CAUS events with President Stacey Hutchings and recording a Podcast recounting the Ontario-student experience with VPCW Natalia Iwanek. Karen has also joined a variety of internal AU committees, such as the EDI Working Group.
Vice President of Finance and Administration Almigdad Eldoma has been preparing for AUSU’s upcoming term, including planning and refining the yearly budget, revising and perfecting AUSU policies, and chairing the Finance Committee. He has also been working on a variety of initiatives and will be engaging with various stakeholders for the coming months, including various Dean search committees and a partnership with the Open University Students Association located in the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), the Republic of Ireland, and continental Europe. His work on this partnership will engage other international distance-learning student representatives and invite them to join the network. Lastly, he will evaluate the members’ services provided on the AUSU website to help ensure members’ dollars are used effectively and efficiently.
Vice President Community and Wellness Natalia Iwanek and the AUSU Staff have completed the coordination of a successful AUSU Pride Week with our first ever Pride-themed contest which featured a variety of prizes including the novel Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead, current AU Writer-in-Residence. Activities included Pride-themed posts on social media and a Pride-themed Podcast with two current AU undergraduates, Mel Mirasol and Vevangapi Katjamana. Check out the winning submissions on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! As an organization, we have recently also approved two policies concerning Equitable Access and Inclusion for 2SLGBTQIA+ Students.
The Executive Committee has collectively advocated to AU for more work-integrated learning opportunities, for AU to offer co-curricular records to support students’ non-credit activities on our virtual campus, and to include undergraduates in AU research opportunities. Finally, the Executive Committee has advocated for further mental health and COVID supports that include Compassionate Grading, flexible course extensions, and alternative assessments. While these supports are currently needed, the Executive Committee is asking that they continue post-pandemic. In addition, the Executive Team continues to advocate to ensure that AU is an open and accessible university and that AU prioritizes supporting Accessibility Services to better serve AU students.
This month was also a reflection on the continued inequities faced by many individuals and communities around the world, including the lingering effects of colonialism, the residential school system, and continued systemic inequities facing Indigenous communities across Turtle Island, rampant Islamophobia, and struggles for equity, safety, and dignity in the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. We hope that some of our upcoming initiatives, including the Virtual Food Assistance Program, scholarships and bursaries (with many more forthcoming), community donations, and continued advocacy address some of the systemic barriers faced by AU students and our communities.
We are also excited to announce the approval of several new committees, including the thirteen-member Indigenous Circle at AUSU, as well as the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Committee. As an organization, we stand in solidarity with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, the Sioux Valley Dakota First Nation, Cowessess First Nation, the Muslim ummah, and the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, and all the variously intersecting communities who comprise the AU community of students, as well as beyond.
As always, we welcome any comments and suggestions on ways to improve!
Your AUSU Executive Team,
President Stacey Hutchings
Vice President External Karen Fletcher
Vice President Finance and Administration Almigdad Eldoma
& Vice President Community and Wellness Natalia Iwanek
PS: AUSU is currently hiring a Social Media Coordinator! Come join our team!