The Value SAITSA Brings – Student Advocacy is Important

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Hi SAIT students,

This month I have dedicated my time towards informing current students about why SAITSA matters and how students can benefit from paying the SAIT Student Association fee. First off, what is SAITSA? What is their purpose? Well I’m going to tell you. SAITSA is run and operated by students. Out of 130 of our staff, 27 of those are non SAIT students. The purpose of SAITSA is to improve the student experience through: advocacy, support, and spirit. SAITSA provides discount tickets for ski/snowboard lifts, cineplex passes, Telus spark, hockey games and football games. We are the ones who administer and provide the microwaves across campus, lockers, free breakfasts EVERY wellness Wednesday between 9:30am – whenever the food is gone, free massages in the Atrium, moving coach Monday with video games in Aldred, free breakfast for apprentices every intake @7am in Thomas Riley and Aldred, free tax program, good food box, food bank (results in zero cost for those who don’t have the funds to pay for food), student grant reimbursement program for personal and professional development opportunities, campus safe walk services, SAITSA student and instructor excellence awards, and volunteer and student job opportunities. On top of that we have many opportunities within SAITSA can be help develop SAIT students’ human skills. We provide many professional and personal development opportunities i.e. being apart of the SAITSA Board of Directors, SAITSA Executive Council, committees, campaigns, or starting your own club and getting the true experience of being a club executive. SAITSA members, volunteers, and/or staff can have the opportunity to take mental health first aid, suicide awareness training, naloxone training, and even Dale Carnegie courses.

Many people ask, but why do we have full time SAITSA Executive Council members who get paid to do what? Well that’s a great question and I will tell you the benefit of why SAITSA has this. SAITSA spends most of its money towards advocacy and governance. Here is the link to how SAITSA allocates its funds: https://saitsa.com/finances/

By the student body electing four Executive Council members this will help leverage student’s advocacy initiatives and/or concerns that they may have. Most students at SAIT are full-time students, therefore, their time is fairly limited; especially apprentices and students within the school of health and public safety. By SAIT students having four full-time paid Executive Council members, they can make sure to dedicate their time to maintaining the student voice by going to SAIT committee meetings, collaborating with external and internal (SAIT students and SAIT) stakeholders to find out their needs and/or concerns, and be there for when students need a student advocate/representative to support them during their time at SAIT. Having a full-time SAITSA Executive Council team, as a student you can expect that they will be attentive, aware, knowledgeable, and provide meaningful and helpful guidance, support, and/or advise. i.e. if the SAITSA VP Academic was a full-time student and a part-time staff, they wouldn’t be able to do half the things they are doing in regards to making sure the student voice is heard at SAIT. The SAITSA VP Academic spends most of their time supporting, guiding, and advising students on their academic concerns, sometimes the SAITSA VP Academic has to deal with an average of 7 student concerns per week. If the SAITSA VP Academic wasn’t full time and didn’t take the time to understand SAITs academic policies, procedures or who is the best delegate at SAIT to talk to about a specific matter then students wouldn’t be getting the best assistance that they could receive. The SAITSA Executive Council helps leverage students voice and that procedural, substantive, and relational fairness is being met. We are here for the students and if there is something that you don’t understand about SAITSA or maybe you have some recommendations on how to improve the academic or student experience V204 is always open from 8:30am-4:30pm. SAITSA wants to hear what the student body wants because if we don’t know or if we are not aware of it how can we provide it to students?

Without SAITSA student advocacy will falter and rather it be advocating externally or internally, without a mass of students behind us and dedicated four full time SAITSA Executive Council members it will be a lot harder to achieve SAIT student asks. So, what I will ask from anyone reading this blog is to please get informed first before making a decision on that SAITSA is useless. Our social media platforms are the best way to keep students in the loop of everything SAITSA, so don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, www.saitsa.com, Facebook, and download the SAITSA app.

Before I end my blog, you may have noticed SAITSA has donated 10 million dollars to SAIT. I wonder what that was for? Well, I will inform you. The 10 million dollars that SAITSA donated to SAIT is strictly for student space also known as SAITSA HQ. If you are unsure about this, search it up. The dream of having a non academic space on campus started in 2007. There was a referendum a few years back where the majority of SAIT students voted in favour to establish a restricted building fund only to be used for student space. In order for SAITSA to even establish a building, we had to donate it to SAIT because we are on crown land and in order for SAIT or even SAITSA to build new facilities we need to go through the government and that must go through the institution. Again, this fund is a restricted fund only used for student space i.e. more study area, chill zones, SAITSA food outlets/more food in general, club storage and space, student conference area, and potentially a daycare space. The end goal of this is to solely benefit students. This advocacy initiative wouldn’t have got to where it is today without SAITSA’s Executive Council advocacy efforts.

Tanya Pittis
VP Academic, SAIT Students’ Association