Last fall saw a relatively quiet election to select student members of this year’s NAIT Students’ Association Senate. Quiet that is, except for the disqualification of a candidate for breaching NAITSA election bylaws. The candidate was reported campaigning near one of the NAITSA polling stations in contravention of an election rule that now may be abolished by the student Senate.
The Senate’s governance committee brought forward a number of proposed bylaw changes for first reading in the Dec. 10 meeting.
The largest change involves removing the penalty to candidates campaigning near NAITSA information booths, which will replace the former polling stations after the full implementation of online voting this year. If these changes pass second reading in January’s Senate meeting, the new changes will allow candidates in both Senate and Executive Council elections to promote and campaign near information booths.
How will this affect the election process? In the past, candidates could not campaign together, in computer areas or near polling stations. NAITSA elections in the past have not seen candidates set up tables to promote to passing students, as candidates have relied heavily on in-class campaigning and program networks. Although most election restrictions are still in place, this proposed change is a significant step towards loosening the restrictions on candidates.
At the December meeting, NAITSA executives also reported on their activities and progress throughout the term to the student senators. NAITSA is currently work-ing in partnership with other Alberta Students’ Executive Council (ASEC) members for their annual lobby week where they meet with many Alberta MLAs to bring forward issues and look for solutions. NAITSA executives have continued meet-ing with both NAIT and external stakeholders to advocate for students and address concerns that affect NAIT students every day.
One of these issues is ease of movement across campus. As many students can relate from their first year on campus, it can be difficult navigating around NAIT’s main campus, confusing as it is to have X-Wing connect to the G hallway, or the A hall-way connecting to the U hallway. Luckily, NAIT is equally concerned with ensuring that students reach their classes on time, and NAITSA has a seat on the committee tasked with working on a solution. This committee, dubbed the Wayfinding Steering Committee, will work to improve navigation on NAIT’s campus.
“Wayfinding is the way in which we orient ourselves in our surroundings and how we navigate from place to place,” said Gillian Wilson, VP Student Services and NAITSA’s representative on the committee.
“As our campus grows, we need clear and simple signage to help steer students, staff and visitors in the right direction,” she said.
“The Wayfinding Steering Committee was created to revamp our current directional signage to merge with new buildings, like the Centre for Applied Technologies (CAT). For anyone who has ever tried to find your way from the HP Centre to the bookstore, for example, it can be a great challenge because the hallways’ alphabet system is not intuitive.”
Does this mean that NAIT will do away with the confusing system of lettered buildings and hallways, interconnected in a seemingly illogical way? It would appear not.
“The purpose of the committee is not to change the name of buildings or hallways, but rather create solutions for linking the campus so it makes sense, to make finding your way easier,” she said.
By NICOLAS BROWN