By Nikayla Goddard, April 8 2020 —
With a turnout of 102 voters, the new 2020–21 Executive Committee was elected for the Faculty of Arts Students’ Association (FASA). The Gauntlet interviewed the four elected members to see what their plans are for next year and what they are most excited for.
President Emily Lundy ran uncontested, her platform points including running a campaign in Fall 2020 to gather ideas on cultivating a culture the arts faculty can hold together. She also wishes to support students and faculty through furthering the Campus Mental Health Strategy, ii’ taa’poh’to’p – the Indigenous Strategy, the Sustainability Strategy and improving research opportunities and increasing participations in the Arts Undergraduate Research Symposium (AURS). Her third platform point is enriching the student experience through offering programming that will “spice up your resume, assist in your studies, and have a little bit of fun! […] FASA can enrich your university experience and make your time on campus even better.”
When asked why she ran for president, Lundy responded, “Because I wanted to serve students. I’ve seen the growth FASA has been able to achieve over the last year and we can only go up from here. Through the Presidential role I hope we can get a sense of what really engages students and gets them excited, so that we can build that into our programming to enrich their time on campus. To me, the Presidential role is an opportunity to help make faculty wide student life even just a little bit more rewarding and a little more fun.”
One of the first things Lundy hopes to act on from her platform is meeting with the Indigenous Students’ Council in hopes of learning how FASA could be more of an ally to Indigenous students. She’s also looking forward to figuring out what kind of culture the arts students wish to facilitate in hopes of making “Arts students more proud to be an Arts student, and hopefully it’ll show other faculties what Arts students can really bring to the table,” she says.
“The number one thing that I’m looking forward to this year is meeting new students!” Lundy concluded. “The people that you meet through FASA, whether it’s on council or at events, really are what really makes being a part of it so rewarding.”
Vice-president academic was the only contested position this year, and the votes leaned in favour of Emma Stirling. Stirling cited tough competition from the other candidate, Nandini Agarwal, as well as tough campaigning in general due to the COVID-19 isolation.
“Nandini ran an amazing campaign and also focused on advocacy and engagement. In the end, it is very hard to say what made the difference other than general election turnout,” Stirling said. “Running in the only contested race in the election was definitely an interesting experience, especially given the fact that all campaigning took place online. Of course, it can be difficult to focus on something that will impact you as a student in the Fall semester when everything else in the world has a degree of uncertainty attached to it right now, but I am very pleased with the amount of people who voted given the circumstances.”
Stirling decided to run for vice-president academic after working closely with the outgoing executive Raquel Jackson, wanting to continue the work she started and bring her own ideas to the table as well. She worked on the AURS planning committee with Jackson, and hopes to continue making the event more accessible and be a mentor through her position on FASA.
“I think that one of the first things I will act on is making connections with our newly elected Students Union representatives as well as our Arts Representatives,” Stirling said. “Much of my platform is based in collaboration and making those connections early is extremely important. Another thing that I will be starting very quickly in the fall is preparation for monthly events that focus on student concern and interest. I want to have those events planned out and finalized so students know that those opportunities will be available to them throughout the year.”
She cites office hours will be an extremely important aspect of her daily work in order to engage with students and create open conversation for event planning.
Considering COVID-19 and what that will bring for the new committee, Stirling said that the world will look different this year, and working with FASA will provide opportunities to create stability and safety.
“Being able to collaborate with the amazing team of women that have been elected this year is something that I think we are all very much looking forward to and I strongly believe that we will be able to create positive change on our campus that will benefit all Arts students,” Stirling said.
The vice-president external position did not accept applications, as vice-president operations and finance is set to take over that position to form a more extensive portfolio. Vice-president operations and finance Rayane Issa ran for the position because she believes it will play one of the biggest roles in the coming year, understanding it to be crucial to have a strong budget and event feasibility.
“I believe that I have a good working relationship with the faculty and administration which will facilitate the transition as well as grant me, and consequently the students, the opportunity to have our concerns listened to,” Issa said. “Additionally, given the combined portfolio, I am looking forward to working with Alumni to secure sponsorships as well as expand networking events that the Faculty of Arts has been lacking in.”
Issa says that there are three things she wants to act on right away — completing the Quality Money application as an ongoing project from being an Arts Representative, finalizing next year’s budget, and working with faculty to secure faculty committee appointments from FASA memberships.
She said her focus on the budget and funding is the result of “Both students and faculty went through a hard year with budget cuts and COVID-19, and I know that for us to survive this as a faculty, administration will be more dependent on student leadership and if we want our voice to be truly heard then what better way than to have a seat on decision making bodies.”
Issa is looking forward to working with the executives to continue advocating and working alongside the faculty’s student body and the Students’ Union. “I think this role will be an amazing opportunity to continue the work that I have done over the past year and truly listen and advocate as well as stand up for the student body.”
The vice-president communications position is currently empty, and will potentially be filled in the coming months.