SAITSA election season getting under way

Election season is upon us.

The first nomination period for candidates for seats on the SAITSA executive and legislative councils opened on Feb. 2 and wrapped up Feb. 13, just prior to Reading Break.

The second nomination period began after the break, leading up to an all-candidate forum Feb. 27, formal campaigning, and the actual election March 5-6.

The candidates in the second wave will be “at a slight disadvantage since they only have three days of campaigning, compared to the two and a half weeks of the other folks,” SAITSA president Jared Stock said in an interview prior to the break.

“There are only four people elected to the executive council, and six to the legislative (council),” SAITSA Vice-President External Josh Bettle said explained.

“Candidates are only voted in for one-year terms.”

After the vote, with the winners being announced at The Gateway at 5 p.m. March 6.

“As of right now, we don’t know how many people will be campaigning, and we won’t know until all of the candidate meetings are over,” Stock said.

“Last year the executive council had four people run for president, three for student life vice-president, one for academic vice-president, and two for external vice-president.

“For the legislative council there were 10 people that ran, and six always get in. Then in September the voting for that re-opens and usually eight or so end up getting voted in again.”

In order to be elected onto either council, a candidate has to be a full-time student, but if elected to the executive council, that student can only be part-time.

“You are only allowed to take two or three courses per semester, but in reality you only have enough time to take one and do a good job,” Stock said.

“I graduated from Petroleum Engineering and then I took Business Law, because you have to still be a student and pay SAIT fees.”

So far, it isn’t clear what the issues in the campaign will be.

“I have way too many ideas, but I don’t want to give away my secrets,” said Stock.

“Besides, I’m not re-running.

“However, when I went to SAIT, there were two easy questions: What do students come to SAIT for? Jobs and networking opportunities.

“It really depends on what you think students need. That’s the platform you should run on.”

The problem with SAIT, is that it’s very hard to get the attention of students since most of them are only in two-year programs. – Jared Stock

Last year, only 10.55 per cent of 11,807 eligible student voters cast a ballot in the election. This year, SAITSA is hoping for a larger turnout.

“The problem with SAIT, is that it’s very hard to get the attention of students since most of them are only in two-year programs,” Stock said.

“They don’t realize what’s going on until they are on their way out.

“When I was in petroleum engineering, I was involved in the petroleum clubn. Because that ran through SAITSA, that’s how I got involved.

“If I had never been involved in that, I would have never known that the student association existed.

“If we touch more on issues that directly affect students, such as helping increase people’s employable skills, and networking opportunities, we’d have more tangible meaning to students as a whole.”

For more information, visit the SAITSA site for details.

About David Wiechnik 5 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, David Wiechnik is working as a reporter for The Press during the 2014-2015 academic year.