Two levels of student governance represent the student body at NAIT – the Executive Council and the Student Senate. Both groups are elected annually to represent their peers to NAIT administration and relevant local, provincial and federal groups.
Each fall, two students from nine program groups within NAIT are elected to sit on the Senate, the governing body of NAITSA. Their responsibilities include approving NAITSA’s annual operating and capital budgets, bylaws and any general governance issues that fall outside of the NAITSA Executive Council’s scope.
While Senate elections occur early in the first term, NAITSA Executive Director Chris Chelmick says students shouldn’t feel intimidated; “You just need to be a person who is willing to commit to being interested in what’s going on in the Students’ Association.”
One of the benefits of participating in NAIT’s Student Senate, states Chelmick, is
the opportunity to work with Becky Kallal, an esteemed parliamentarian. “I can’t think of a better person to learn board governance from because it’s not really a sexy topic but she makes it incredibly interesting and intriguing,” he says. The experience is tailored for students at any level of experience and they are able to learn governance skills as they go through the year.
The student executive is comprised of four student leaders elected each February, the president, vice-president Academic, vice-president External and vice-president Student Services. Eligibility requirements include that candidates must be a full-time or part-time student registered in a regular day program and be in good academic standing.
Working full time, each member of the executive has a unique portfolio of responsibilities that includes organizing services and events for students, gathering feedback from the student body, lobbying and representing NAIT students to the public.
Doris Car, NAITSA president, says that one of the most rewarding parts is helping develop better services and community for NAIT students, “I’m actually happy here to be able to help students to be able to build community and improve and make services
Often, she says, students are facing similar problems and NAITSA is able to use what they hear from the student body to develop their directives and initiatives. Facing a challenge as a student? You’re probably not alone!
Executive roles are demanding, but Chelmick says that they work hard to prepare candidates right from the moment they pick a nomination package.
“We take a lot more time in preparing those students for those roles before
they even submit their nomination forms; we need them to understand how dedicated
they need to be to be in those roles. It’s a solid commitment for a one year period. But it is an incredible experience that is I would say is universally life changing
for everyone that goes on that executive council.”
Whether you’re interested in running for Senate this fall or thinking ahead to executive elections in the new year, Chelmick encourages students to give it a shot, the roles are designed for interested students to excel in, regardless of their experience.
“It’s critical to add some extracurricular stuff to your resume. When you leave
NAIT and all you did was get a piece of paper, you’re going to be kicking yourself
when you’re writing your resume to get your first job” he said.
“There are so many opportunities on campus to get involved, whether it be Senate
or a governance position, writing for the Nugget, being on a sports team or being part of a club. Just do something that shows that you were involved while you were
going to school,” said Chelmick.
– Danielle S. Fuechtmann