ASFA 2018 Elections: Meet Your Executive Team Candidates

Two Full Slates Running for the Student Association’s Top Spots

  • Voting for the Arts and Sciences Federation of Associations’ elections begins March 27 and runs until the 29. ASFA represents about 20,000 students within Concordia’s Arts and Science programs. This year, ASFA is attempting to restructure their executive positions through referendum. All but two positions are contested. Quorum for the election is 370. Archive Tristan D’Amours

Voting for the Arts and Sciences Federation of Associations’ elections begins March 27 and runs until the 29. ASFA represents about 20,000 students within Concordia’s Arts and Science programs.

This year, ASFA is attempting to restructure their executive positions through referendum. All but two positions are contested. Quorum for the election is 370.

Advocacy and Executive Coordinator, formerly President

Name: Andréa Gauthier
Slate: Times are Changing

Why are you running?
Through her experience with ASFA over the last two years, Gauthier explained that “I’ve seen first hand what’s wrong, what needs to change, and I honestly think I’m the best person to bring those changes to ASFA.” She cited ASFA’s “bro” reputation and lack of visibility as two things to be addressed.

What past experience do you have in student politics or student groups?
Gauthier has been involved with ASFA for two years. In her first year, she was involved with the association’s legally-mandated Task Force Against Racism and Sexual Assault. This year, Gauthier has served as an independent councillor for ASFA, working on several committees. She says this experience leaves her with a lot of institutional knowledge.

What do you want to see changed in ASFA?
If elected, Gauthier said she would try to implement an online voting system and change the way ASFA currently runs their elections. “It’s the most democratic approach,” she said.

She also said she would like to support member associations who would like to become accredited, so they can become financially independent from ASFA through fee-levies, like the Political Science Student Association has.

Name: Marguerite Rolland
Slate: Fill in the Blanks

Why are you running?
“I’d like to broaden my student involvement to benefit a larger student body,” said Rolland. “I’m also interested in this position because I work at the Concordia Student Union advocacy centre, so I have experience dealing with with issues that are relevant to students”

What past experience do you have in student politics or student groups?
Rolland has experience with the Linguistics Student Association and has been their vice president external affairs, internal affairs, and president. She’s also represented the LSA on ASFA’s council.

What do you want to see changed in ASFA?
“Right now [ASFA is] kind of like a glorified party planning committee,” she said. “They do a lot of stuff, but they don’t really do anything that helps students in a way that they can use in their life.”

Rolland added this is why their slate is called Fill in the Blanks because they want to give students the opportunity to participate in extracurricular events so they can broaden their student experience.

External Affairs and Communications Coordinator

Name: Fatima Janna El Gahami
Slate: Fill In The Blanks

Why are you running?
El Gahami wants to create a sense of unity among students by bringing students of all departments within Arts and Sciences together. She plans to do this is by organizing more workshops.

“One thing that my team and I were talking about [were workshops for] public speaking, coding, graphic design,” she said.

What is your past experience in student politics/groups?
In her first semester in Concordia, El Gahami began as an independent councillor, moving her towards the role of an ASFA executive in her second year. El Gahami was also VP Finance for Liberal Concordia.

“I’ve also volunteered for some events that were given by ASFA and outside of Concordia,” she said.

What would you like to see changed within ASFA?
“I want it to be a place that helps students,” said El Gahami. “Helping out students with whatever they have, with personal issues, academics, anything in that regard.”

Name: Christoffer Jones
Positions: External Affairs and Communications Coordinator
Slate: Times Are Changing

Why are you running?
Jones explained that he wants to create a better sense of communication between ASFA and students, “where students can feel like they have at least some say in what decisions that we make.”

“I want student to make students feel like a part of something greater,” said Jones.

What past experience do you have in student politics or student groups?
Jones was previously part of the Dawson Student Union, where he served as the deputy chairperson.

What do you want to see changed in ASFA?

“I didn’t feel bonded to who was representing me (at ASFA),” explained Jones.“I feel like there should be something that could foster this relationship between students and ASFA, [to] create a sense of personality.”

Jones added that he wants to strengthen communication between ASFA and student associations, by letting student associations know what decisions are being made at council meetings.

Loyola and Sustainability Coordinator

Name: Kayla Miller
Slate: Times are Changing

Why are you running?
Miller said she wants to improve ASFA’s relationship with Loyola students, and to improve the environmental standards within ASFA. She said “this will be accomplished by increased collaboration with sustainable initiatives on campus.”

She also added that she wants to implement ASFA’s stance on environmental justice more concretely on both campuses.

What past experience do you have in student politics or student groups?
Along with her previous experience as the ASFA council secretary, Miller was previously involved in the Concordia Model United Nations, was a freshman orientation leader, and was the Chief Electoral Officer for member association elections. Last year, Miller was the executive of communications for the School of Community and Public Affairs Association, but this year she served at the associations executive of advocacy and academic affairs.

What do you want to see changed in ASFA?
Miller wants to to see a change in the relationship with the Loyola member associations. “I feel like they don’t have as many opportunities as the students downtown,” she said. Being a student who primarily spend her time on Loyola campus, Miller said she would be able to “breach that gap,” adding that she understands the needs of the students there.

Student Life Coordinator

Name: Enya Leger
Slate: Independent

Why are you running?
“I love organizing events, meeting people, and helping others get out of their comfort zones,” Leger said.

Leger added that since we spend so much time in university, students should go out and experience more than just class at Concordia.

What past experience do you have in student politics or student groups?
Leger said that she was on the prom committee at her high school, and helped organize a variety of events during her time at Marianopolis.

What do you want to see changed in ASFA?
Leger said that she wants to collaborate with ASFA’s member associations to make sure that students are up to date on ASFA news and events.

Name: Zach Klein
Slate: Time For Change

Why are you running?
“I thought it would be a cool idea, I wanted to improve on student life as well from the previous years,” Klein said.

What past experience do you have in student politics or student groups?
Klein said he had experience helping around his high school.

What do you want to see changed in ASFA?
“More transparency, that’s what I feel should be the biggest change” said Klein.

He added transparency could be improved by having more livestreams of council meetings, and suggested adding and question period to council meetings as well.

Academic Coordinator

Name: Alex Decarie
Slate: Time for Change

Why are you running?
“I’ve been involved with Political Science Student Association and ASFA, [and] I just decided that I’ve been with the PSSA long enough and I didnt want to just stay in one place,” Decarie said. “Even though I felt I was doing good work, I can do more with a different organization.”

What past experience do you have in student politics or student groups?
Decarie said he’s been heavily involved within the student political scene at Concorda. He’s volunteered with the New Democratic Party Concordia group, served as the vice president academic affairs at the PSSA, and has sat as the PSSA representative on ASFA’s council.

What do you want to see changed in ASFA?
“I’d like to see the academic role be expanded because right now it’s been more or less used for just journals,” he said. “It (only) helps students out who want to get published, it’s not that many students who get to benefit from it.”

Decarie added that he wants to host networking events between programs that have similar interests, and to organize skill based workshops.

He also wants to fix ASFA’s spotty reputation with Concordia’s student body.

Name: Jane Lefebvre-Prevost

Why are you running?
Lefebvre-Prevost would like to work with the administration and students to make the school more accessible, for those with either a visible or non-visible disability. She feels ASFA mostly hosts events and panels and would like to use her position to “establish change within the system” instead.

She gave the example of audio note taking as something she’d like to see implemented in the school.

What past experience do you have in student politics or student groups?
She has been the Women’s Studies councillor on ASFA for two years, and has been the general coordinator of the Women’s Studies Student Association for a year.

Prior to that, she’s served as an executive on the governing body of the Hive Center for Gender Advocacy at Dawson College.

What do you want to see changed in ASFA?
“I would like to see ASFA take more active political stances,” she said.

Name: Bakry Alsaieq
Slate: Fill In The Blanks

Why are you running?
Alsaeiq wants to run because he finds job searching hard after getting a degree. “When you get your degree, it doesn’t really allow you to get a job” said Alsaeiq. He adds that it would be easier to get in the academic cycle to be able to help out students to get jobs after their degree.

What past experience do you have in student politics or student groups?
Alsaeiq was the Political Affairs Coordinator at Vanier College of four years as well as the Internal Affairs Coordinator.

What do you want to see changed in ASFA?
“What I want to see changed in ASFA is the accessibility, so being able to seeing execs, being able to go up to them and ask about different projects” said Alsaeiq. He adds he wants to make it easier for students to reach out to ASFA and make it accessible by providing more resources.

Finance Coordinator

Name: Manal Alsaeiq
Slate: Fill In The Blanks

Why are you running?
“I love being involved in general in student politics, and I find myself that I’m actually good at finance” said Alsaeiq. “I love organizing the budget, I really like being meticulous.”

What past experience do you have in student politics or student groups?
Alsaeiq has been involved in the Linguistics Student Association as their VP finance for a year and a half. Although she’s been less active with Concordia clubs, she’s been involved with the Girl Scouts as a leader for five years.

What do you want to see changed in ASFA?
“I would like ASFA to be not necessarily focused on the politics,” she said. “I would love it to be a resource for the students that are on campus.” She added that she would also like to have a special project fund to finance students’ academic initiatives.

Name: Caleb Owusu-Acheaw
Slate: Times are Changing

Why are you running?
“I’m currently VP Finance of PSSA and I feel that I can do the same things I’m doing at PSSA for ASFA,” he said. “In terms of being detail-oriented with finances, and in terms of making (our) finances accessible for anyone that wants to read it.”

He would also like to build more of a rapport with member associations, and work collaboratively to form their budgets.

What past experience do you have in student politics or student groups?
Owusu-Acheaw was the financial secretary for the Vanier College Student Association.

He also has a position on the Commission-jeunesse du Parti libéral du Québec, and networks regularly with provincial and federal political parties.

What do you want to see changed in ASFA?
“I’d love the chance to meet with the VP Finance or Finance Coordinators of every MA, I think it’s of great importance that we build a rapport with them,” he said.

“Just be more transparent, be more open,” he said. “More accountable on the way the money is managed.”

Internal Affairs and Administration Coordinator

Name: Elliott Boulanger
Slate: Fill in the Blanks

Why are you running?
Boulanger said they want to ensure that member associations are given the tools to grow.

What past experience do you have in student politics or student groups?
Being a councillor on ASFA, part of the First Peoples Studies Member Association, Boulanger says they’ve seen what it’s like to run a small group and know how things work between member associations and the ASFA executive. This year, they also worked on the ASFA Task Force on Sexual Harassment, and were on the association’s advocacy committee.

What do you want to see changed in ASFA?
“I want to bring a more efficient way of working with MA’s,” they said. “We need to have our MA’s feel comfortable to go see their coordinator, and have confidence in what they’re doing

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