On Sept. 25th, hundreds of students gathered in the Irene Lewis Atrium on SAIT’s campus for the SAITSA Club Expo, an afternoon spent showcasing the student-run clubs of SAIT.
SAITSA has over 60 student run clubs, with a variety of different topics including a Baking and Pastry Arts Club, a Beekeeping Club, an Anime & Gaming Club, a Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race Club (GNCTR), a Dungeons and Dragons club, an East-Asian Language Club, a Pride Club, and a unique variety of others available to the students.
“There is an area of interest for basically anything. That’s what we want to have here, something for everyone, whether it be academic or social,” said Hussan Zaman, SAITSA club co-ordinator, in an interview.
There is a two-member minimum required to become a SAITSA club.
SAIT instructors and alumni are also able to get involved, as long as 75 per cent of club members are current students. Each club must also host one event each academic year.
The SAIT Mechanical Society, one of SAITSA’s biggest student run clubs, focuses on providing a social setting for peers to exchange thoughts, ideas, and experiences while establishing industry connections, said club president Thomas Courte in an interview.
That’s what we want to have here, something for everyone, whether it be academic or social. – Hussan Zaman
Courte said the mechanical society is open to all students, not just those in mechanical programs at SAIT.
The mechanical society has 250 members from more than 15 different programs at SAIT.
“You can be in any program at SAIT, and we provide you a connection with industry members. Basically everyone is interconnected in industry,” said Courte.
Zaman credits the success of the Mechanical Society to the many different industry connections it provides for students in different programs.
Although clubs that focus on academics are popular among SAIT students, Hussan says clubs that provide a social setting also have a great deal of success.
“Clubs are an easy way to make friends. The structure of SAIT isn’t always the easiest for community, and this is a great way for us to combat that a little bit by creating a community on campus via clubs, and getting as much collaboration through them as possible.”
Banan Yousif, an executive club member of the African and Caribbean association, said their club hosts many social events, including movie and game nights, as well as panel discussions.
It holds weekly meetings, and provides a space for students to experience a community influenced by African and Caribbean culture, and also have a place to come, do some homework, and hang out.
“We’re more cultural, we’re bringing the energy, bringing the flavor, and just having a better influence in SAIT for diversity,” said Yousif.
The beekeeping club is another non-academic club that was established in early 2018. It aims to teach about beekeeping, ecology, and conservation in general.
We’re more cultural, we’re bringing the energy, bringing the flavor, and just having a better influence in SAIT for diversity. – Banan Yousif
Audrey Sun, the president of the beekeeping club said on top of the educational events they hold throughout the year, teaching members about bees and beekeeping, they also have two hives that they care for through the spring and summer seasons.
The SAITSA club expo was created for club executives to connect with students, and garner interest in their clubs.
“We definitely saw a lot of interest. Hopefully that translates into new members of the club, or at least gets people talking about clubs in general, maybe even gets people to start their own,” said Sun, following the expo.
SAITSA has recently provided students with an online portal, the SAITSA Switchboard, where students have easy access to club registration, upcoming events, and all club-related information.