“This is one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make in my entire life. It did not come easy and it was not spur of the moment,” said Allannah Wrobel, holding back tears. Last week she announced that she would be stepping down from her role as NAITSA president for health and personal reasons.
The decision did not come quickly or lightly, she explained, stating that she “was in discussion with [the executive] team over the past while in terms of what [they could] do to accommodate everything with [her] personal and medical reasons … but we weren’t able to figure out anything that would work.”
Student executives take reduced course loads to juggle their academic and leadership responsibilities; further reducing her course load wasn’t an option. “We’re students first, we’re student leaders,” she said, “ and I need to be able to do the right thing for me. As selfish as that sounds – and I hate to say it – it’s something I need to do.”
“Successful leaders understand the importance of prioritization,” commented Chris Chelmick, NAITSA executive director, “and she refused to stay in the role and give NAIT students less than 100 per cent commitment. Her actions are an accurate representation of Allannah’s character and she will be missed.”
Wrobel says her time in student leadership “has been absolutely phenomenal.” She says that it’s thanks to NAITSA and the executive team that she was able to make this decision for herself and focus on her health and finishing her degree successfully.
“They got this,” she said, expressing her confidence in the executive team, “they have the support from the staff here and are some of the most intelligent and bright individuals I’ve ever met.”
While VP Academic John Perozok has been appointed interim president, a byelection will be held to find a permanent replacement for Wrobel. Nominations will open on Thursday, Oct. 13 and will close after 10 business days, ending on Oct. 26.
The voting period will run from Friday, Nov. 4 until Wednesday, Nov. 9, ensuring that results would be returned before the November long weekend.
This will also be the second use of NAITSA’s new election system. After finding some issues with the old e-mail system that sent students a one-click login, they have moved to a new system that enable students to access the voting through their student portal. Students will still receive an e-mail notifying them that voting has opened and directions for the new process. Leeanne Mills, NAITSA administration director, explains that the new system will ensure that all students will be able to easily access the voting system, avoiding the bugs of the old process. “[The problems with the old system] bothered me,” Mills explained, “I wanted to be able to make [voting] as convenient and easy as possible.”
It’s rare that NAITSA holds elections in the fall for executive council positions, Mills says, but NAITSA’s bylaws require a byelection to be held to replace any executive that leaves their position in the fall term. The student elected in this byelection will hold the position until April 30, 2017.
While the new president will be stepping into the role midway through the semester and the executive term, they “will have complete, 100 per cent support across the board” from NAITSA, Allannah Wrobel and rest of the current executive members, as well as additional training resources, Mills said.
Information about the election process and nomination packages can be found online on NAITSA’s website.
– Danielle S. Fuechtmann, Editor-in-Chief