By Nandini Agarwal, September 8 2020—
As the start of the 2020–21 academic year approaches, students are still adapting to a new, online style of learning. While we have updates regarding the Students’ Union (SU) and their approach to the new covid-centric world, many students might be curious about how the Faculty of Arts Students’ Association (FASA) is planning to welcome new and old students for the fall semester.
During the excitement of Fall Orientation and the events that follow up in the weeks forward, “FASA is trying to figure out ways to bring the events onto virtual platforms since they won’t be able to comply with the COVID guidelines if they were to be held in-person,” said Emma Stirling, vice-president academic.
When asked about how FASA is planning on welcoming the new students during the ongoing pandemic, vice-president events, Sarah Rizvi, has assured students that “[they] are currently planning the flagship welcoming event, known as the Arts Welcome Evening through Zoom.
“Due to the current situation, we have decided to collapse Heart the Arts and the Arts Welcome Evening into one event. During the events, students become familiar with FASA, meet key figures in the faculty and interact with each other,” continued Rizvi. “However, due to using an online platform, we are organizing the event as a breakout session. After a short introduction from Dean Sigurdson and the FASA executives, students will break out into sessions with their department representatives. Students will then have an opportunity to become familiar with their department representative and become familiar with opportunities related to their program and FASA.”
When asked about the biggest struggle FASA is facing due to the shift to primarily online-based university, vice-president finance Rayane Issa said that “one of the biggest struggles [they are] facing is reaching out to students and ensuring that they are engaged.
“Although we are working on creating diverse ways to reach out to students and maintain engagement, we know that it will be difficult to preserve this relationship as the semester goes on,” said Issa. “As individuals, we do feed off the energy of personal interactions, and with the current situation, we will have to work much harder to ensure that we are serving the student body that we were elected to serve.”
Rest assured that students can expect to get all the possible help they need from the executive team of FASA as they work towards making sure that the academic year goes smoothly for all Arts students. They’ve been very clear that the Arts Orientation and following events will help students with getting answers to most of their questions if not all.
Stirling would also like to assure the students that there are events for the future being planned “that will focus on mental health, and how to focus on positive studying and working habits while studying from home amidst the pandemic.”
Stirling, Issa, and Rizvi reiterated the importance of having students reaching out to the FASA Executive Team with any questions or concerns they might have. They can be easily reached on their Instagram page @fasa_ucalgary.
Students are also encouraged to visit the FASA website where all the executives have their emails listed and to get familiar with their department-specific representatives, something they can look forward to doing at the virtual Arts Welcome Evening.