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Celebrating our History
Did you know, there has been student government working for you at SAIT since 1922? In 2022 Saitsa turned 100 years old, so all throughout the year we enjoyed a monumental celebration!
Beginning in January, we kicked off and rolled-out all things Saitsa throughout the decades. With fun events, giveaways, and activities throughout the year, we wrapped it all up in September 2022 with a Centennial Celebration month filled with amazing musical performances and events for students and community members.
The History of Saitsa
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PITA is Founded
PITA – The Provincial Institute of Technology and Art is founded and is operated in the temporary location of the Colonel James Walker School. (PITA would be renamed SAIT in 1960.)
First Student Government formed
First Student Government formed in order “to control activities outside of the shop and classroom.” It costs to join, and this initiative “promotes literary, athletic and social activities.”
First Student Banquet
The first Student Banquet was held in the Hudson’s Bay Company Elizabethan room during the school year, and continued to be held there until 1928. It was only attended by males, since the student population was exclusively male.
A Star is Born at the Annual Tech Banquet
There was a break with tradition when the Annual Tech Banquet was held in the new East Block cafeteria on the campus instead of the Palliser Hotel. The main entertainment was provided by a student in the Art College, Joni Anderson, who captivated the audience when she played guitar and sang a number of original folk songs in a unique style. She later led a successful international career as a composer and singer under the name of Joni Mitchell. (R.S.)
Student Executives initiate projects such as ‘Students Co-operative Housing’ & ‘Student Rights’
‘Saitsa’ is Coined
The Student Government officially takes name ‘the SAIT Students’ Association’, aka ‘Saitsa’, in the early 1970’s.
Saitsa opens a consignment book exchange for students, saving students money on textbooks, reusing materials, and receiving 10% of profits from each book sold.
First Ombudsman Trial
An ombudsman was hired on a trial basis for the 1975 to 1976 school year. The role of the ombudsman was to advocate for student issues and liaise with the institution.
Campus Centre Opens
‘Student Activities Building’ is replaced with The Campus Centre. It opens on November 19th, a few months late from its projected August opening. The Campus Centre becomes home to a number of Saitsa offices, including publications, and Spartacus Lounge, home of the Saitsa run Friday night pubs.
Awards Banquet Features Saitsa Awards
The Awards Banquet for 1980-1981 includes the Saitsa awards in conjunction with the Athletics Awards Ceremony. Over 400 students attended the event.
Before His Time
Bryan Adams plays to a crowd of 200 students. (The Students’ Association loses money on the event!)
Saitsa helps fund three new automatic doors on campus to aid people with disabilities in accessing SAIT facilities. Funded by both the Legacy Fund and Saitsa, the doors are installed in the Campus Centre, Thomas Riley building and the A-block of Heritage Hall. Saitsa donates $1,300 to the $6,000 project. Initiated by Saitsa and the institute’s Disabled Access Committee.
Volunteer Centre Opens
“…With a staff of one (Saitsa’s own Trent Phalen), no clear objectives or guidelines and a tiny budget, the Volunteer Centre opened for business in what once was the computer store in the rotunda of the Senator Burns Building.” The centre goes on to expand its mandate to include programs in campus health, student employment, learning skills, and career counselling.
Canadian Rock Royalty
The Tragically Hip plays the Spartacus Lounge for the first time.
Saitsa takes over the Campus Food Bank operations from the Alumni Association.
Saitsa’s Structure Evolves
Change in Saitsa’s constitution to allow for an expanded Senate (Saitsa’s governing board). It now includes the entire Students’ Executive council (SEC) and the student-at-large sitting on SAIT’s board of Governors. It also includes 6 student academic council members.
Safewalk Takes First Steps
Saitsa approves the offering of Safewalk services on campus. The program launches on Oct. 25, 1993, and four people used the service on the first night. The free service gives anyone on campus an escort after dark. In November, 2004 Saitsa hosts the National Safewalk Conference.
Partnerships Supporting Mental Health
Saitsa hosts a Christmas party for people who suffer from chronic mental health issues. This event included a sponsored dinner for the Creative Community Living Activities (CCLA) program, which teaches people with mental illnesses valuable skills in the community.
Dental Benefits Implemented
Saitsa votes in and implements first ‘Dental Plan’. In a December referendum, over 90% of voters said “yes” to the plan. Known as a ‘managed dental plan’ it offers a premium while limiting students’ choice of dentists. These dentists charge less than the average rate for cleanings, fillings, x-rays and other basic services.
Sex & Alcohol Awareness
Saitsa holds a Sex and Alcohol Awareness Week. The week starts off with a talk from Sue Johanson from the Sunday Night Sex Show, and ends with a Toga Party at the Spartacus Lounge.
Student Resource Centre Takes Shape
In fall of this year, Saitsa launches the ‘Student Resource Centre’, located at MB216 in the Heart Building. The Student Resource Centre is a hub that addresses a variety of student needs from job hunting to help with filing income tax returns.
Peer Support Centre Opens
In November of this year, Saitsa launches the first-ever Student Support Centre on campus. The goal of the centre is to provide mental health resources and support to all SAIT students. Today this is known as the Peer Support Centre.
A Snapshot in Time
If These Walls Could Talk is a SAIT produced podcast celebrating the 100th birthday of the iconic Heritage Hall building. Episode 6 of the podcast A Place and a Platform for Students: Saitsa Turns 100, discusses the history of the SAIT Students’ Association and features former Saitsa Presidents who share some notable experiences.
Have a great memory of Saitsa? Drop us a line!