Conferences, Retreats, and Advocacy

The summer months have proven to be a continued busy time for the AUSU Executive Team with various provincial and federal advocacy initiatives, retreats, and conferences taking place during the end of July and early August.

President Stacey Hutchings and Vice President External (VPEX) Karen Fletcher were able to attend the annual Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) Policy and Strategy Conference, held virtually from July 26 to July 30, 2021.   For learners not familiar with the organization, CASA is “is a non-partisan, not-for-profit student organization composed of student associations from across Canada.” In particular, it represents undergraduate, graduate and polytechnic associations, including AUSU.  Uniting with other student unions through CASA is a major component of how AUSU advocates for students on a federal level on issues such as federal student loans, job programs for students, and mental health funding.

The entire Executive Team was also able to attend the Council of Alberta University Students (CAUS) Counterparts Conference held from July 22 to July 23, 2021. President Stacey Hutchings and Governance and Advocacy Coordinator Duncan Wojtaszek were able to attend the Lethbridge, Alberta-based event in person, while Vice President External (VPEX) Karen Fletcher, Vice President Finance and Administration (VPFA) Almigdad Eldoma, and Vice President Community and Wellness (VPCW) Natalia Iwanek attended virtually. For learners not familiar with CAUS, the organization “represent[s] undergraduate students from the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, the University of Lethbridge, Mount Royal University, MacEwan University, and Athabasca University to the public, government[,] and other post-secondary education stakeholders.”

CAUS Counterparts is an annual event that brings together student leaders from across Alberta (and in AUSU’s case, Alberta and Ontario), including those who do not typically attend CAUS events. Traditionally, AUSU is represented at CAUS by the offices of President and Vice President External (VPEX); in this particular case, both the Vice President Finance and Administration (VPFA) and Vice President Community and Wellness (VPCW) were invited to attend as well. The Executives were able to attend political update presentations, including those provided by the Alberta Ministry of Advanced Education and Alberta Counsel. In addition to attending discussions centering on CAUS policy, the Executives participated in working groups that focused on advocacy for and by Indigenous learners and student leaders. During the final day of the Conference, all student leaders were split into team-building groups with their respective “counterparts” from other student unions, including the Students’ Association of Mount Royal University (SAMRU), the University of Alberta Students’ Union (UASU), the University of Lethbridge Students’ Union (ULSU), and the Calgary Students’ Union (UCSU).

Finally, AUSU was able to hold its annual Council Retreat with a full Council following our recent By-Election. Executives, Staff, and Councillors met during the one day virtual event to discuss the 20202023 AUSU Strategic Plan, the upcoming 2021 Executive Workplans, the 2021 Finance Budget, as well as provincial and federal advocacy. The event finished with some fantastic team-building activities and conversation. Thank you to all who made this event a success!

Your AUSU Executive Team,

President Stacey Hutchings, Vice President External (VPEX) Karen Fletcher, Vice President Finance and Administration (VPFA) Almigdad Eldoma, and Vice President Community and Wellness (VPCW) Natalia Iwanek

PS: We would like to extend a warm welcome to AUSU’s news Social Media Coordinator Samantha Colvin. Great to have you on the team!