BY HIEN NGUYEN
Each semester, each Augustana student pays a $65 Students’ Association Fee for grants, awards, and social activities. Since the ASA utilizes our fees, we must care about how they improve student engagement and solve any existing issues. Considering the annual ASA presidential election will arrive in less than a month, let’s see what current president, Taylor Johnson, has to say about the election.
When will the election be?
Nominations for council will be open Feb. 4 – 28. Any time during then, students can come down to the office and just take up a nomination form. They need to hand the paper back before 5 p.m. on Feb 28.
What positions can people run for?
All the positions are open, and anyone can run for any of those positions. Usually, the Spring election will have quite a few students running. There is the President’s position and four Vice President (VP) positions which are: VP Academic, VP Student Life, VP Finance, and VP Communication. Those are the executive positions, and then we have all the council positions open as well. We have two second-year representatives (rep), one third-year rep, one fourth-year rep, an international student rep, Indigenous student rep, and two off-campus reps.
Do you have any information on the candidates?
At this moment, we don’t have the candidates’ information yet. It’s quite soon so we must wait until the end of February.
What are some of the on-going issues?
I think the big thing will be more talking about 3-11 courses for sure. That was the big thing last year and it will continue to be the big thing for years to come until people are happier with what is going on. Sexual assault and diversity inclusion are always concerned topics as well. There will be some discussion about that for candidates. Mental health resources are going to be one as it comes up every year.
How can students vote?
We do online voting. It’s on March 13 and 14. When you receive the email on your Ualberta account, there is a link where you put in your CCID and student ID number, then it will go through all the eligible positions that you can vote for. All students can vote for the presidents and the executives. Depending on what year are you studying in, you’re going to vote for that prospective year rep. If you live off campus you will vote for the off-campus rep, and if you’re international or Indigenous you will also vote for those reps as well.
What should candidates prepare?
All candidates must submit a candidate’s form. Essentially, every candidate must have a small speech about who they are and something that they want to do if they are elected. Then we go to a questions period so that every student can ask any of these candidates questions and the candidates will have a chance to answer. This section will be on March 4.
Your advice for candidates as the current president of ASA?
This is my third year being on the council, so I have run in several of these elections. If it’s something that you’re passionate about, just go for it. It was probably the best thing that I’ve done in my university career. There are a lot of resources and all of us on the council are happy to talk about them.
I would advise candidates to think out of the box because we really can change things that many students don’t fully understand.