SAITSA scraps election, appoints Board of Directors due to lack of candidates

Behind the Scenes: Rio Valencerina poses in front of a SAITSA bulletin board in the Senator Burns Building at SAIT in Calgary on Friday, Feb. 18, 2022. Valencerina is SAITSA’s Manager of Governance and Advocacy. (Photo by Carly Anderson/The Press)

SAITSA announced the new 2022-2023 Board of Directors on March 1, after only seven candidates put their names forward to run in the election.

Due to the limited candidates, each won the election uncontested. The seven candidates who won and will be on the Board of Directors for the next term are Tomi Aroge, Jayden Baldonado, Karanpreet Singh Gill, Paul John Martinez, Anh Nguyen, Aaron Ramos, and Dawson Andrew Thomas.

The term will begin on May 1, 2022 and end on April 30, 2023.

This term will be the second one with SAITSA’s new governance model, which was voted on and approved by the Board at SAITSA’s Annual General Meeting on February 23, 2021. This governance model allows for one election each year to determine the Board of Directors.

Before this change was made, there were two elections for students to vote in each year; one in the fall to determine the Board, and one in the winter for the Executive Council.

“So, we were [having] two elections a year, which also led to a bit of burnout on the staff side and on the student side too,” said Rio Valencerina, SAITSA’s Manager of Governance and Advocacy.

In addition to only having one election, SAITSA’s governance model changes included getting rid of the Executive Council entirely. Now there are two roles, president and vice president, which the new Board will determine at their first meeting of the term in May.

The Executive Council used to consist of four roles: president, vice president academic, vice president external, and vice president student life.

These changes were made to ensure that the operational parts of SAITSA, such as the Odyssey Café, the Station Market, and the Gateway, do not get interrupted by the SAITSA elections or changes in elected directors.

“The governance model changed [so] that now the Board of Directors only [oversees] our end goals, our advocacy initiatives, and our objectives for the organization,” said Valencerina.

These advocacy initiatives and organizational goals include services like the Universal Transit Pass, or the UPass, and SAIT’s Open Educational Resources Program. SAITSA is also part of the Alberta Students’ Executive Council (ASEC), an organization that connects SAITSA with other student organizations to help create solutions to student needs and work with the government to bring ideas into action.

“For example, a few of the big things that we advocate [for] and lobbied to the government were Alberta post-secondary rights in terms of Indigenous mental health [and] international student rights,” said Hana Hossain. Hossain is currently on the Board of Directors for the 2021-2022 term, and is the vice president of the SAITSA LGBTQ+ club.

As the 2022-2023 term gets closer, there are many ways that students can keep up to date and informed on what the Board is up to, says Valencerina.

“The easiest way to [stay informed] is to stay on the website … there you can see all the candidates,” said Valencerina.

“You’ll also be able to see when the events are and when we’ll be hosting them.”

One of these events is a “Meet & Greet” event which will be held in the Stan Grad Atrium on March 15. There students will have the opportunity to meet and get to know the new Board of Directors.

Coming Soon: SAITSA’s Station Express remained temporarily closed in SAIT’s Stan Grad Centre in Calgary on Friday, Feb. 18, 2022. In 2021, SAITSA’s governance model was changed to ensure SAITSA operations, such as the Station Express, Odyssey Cafe, and Gateway, are not interrupted by the annual election or changes in elected directors. (Photo by Carly Anderson/The Press)
About Carly Anderson 7 Articles
As a news reporting and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Carly Anderson worked as a writer for The Press in 2022.