Meet the students running for the FASA executive team
Everything you need to know about this year’s FASA candidates
With the Fine Arts Student Alliance election only a day away, 12 candidates are vying for the vote of fine arts students across all disciplines. Here is the definitive list of who’s running, and why.
Sierra Shaw, a design for the theatre student, is running for general coordinator. Citing mental health problems and burnout in the fine arts department, Shaw wants to help tailor support systems to FASA students.
“When you’re working in a field that asks you to be super emotionally vulnerable and put all of your soul into your work,” Shaw said, “there are different tools that you need in order to be successful.”
Shaw also wants to foster a sense of community across fine arts disciplines, as well as maintain FASA’s focus on inclusion, sustainability, and accessibility.
Though it’s her first time in student politics, Shaw doesn’t think that should be a deterrent. “In order to effectively have a strong student body, I think anyone should be able to run.”
Aaliyah Crawford, a print media student, is FASA’s current general coordinator. Crawford wants to strengthen FASA’s institutional memory by documenting and sharing the information each executive collects over the course of their term.
Her goal, if re-elected, is to implement the changes that were made to the association’s bylaws (the incorporation of sustainable practices and explicit anti-oppression measures), continue to address structural problems within the organization, and help students overcome challenges created by the pandemic.
“[Some 200 level] studio classes haven’t had any studio access at this point,” said Crawford. “We also work with a lot of chemicals in some departments, so it’s been challenging trying to figure out ventilation and proper health and safety regulations during this already stressful time.”
Crawford served as FASA’s chairperson prior to her executive tenure. She was also on the board of directors of the Fine Arts Reading Room, and is currently an executive of the Queer Print Club and Yiara Magazine’s digital content manager/assistant creative director.
Student life coordinator
In her campaign for student life coordinator, art history student Claire Sigal prioritizes helping fine arts students understand what resources are available to them, as well as promoting more interaction within the department.
“In terms of recuperating after [the pandemic], I want all of us to build our networks a little stronger,” Sigal said. “The arts are often seen as non-essential, which is exactly wrong. For a lot of people, it's their reason to get up in the morning.”
Sigal served as FASA’s secretary and minute-taker last year. She has collaborated with Sustainability Concordia and Concordia University’s Centre for Creative Reuse, was events/social media coordinator for Queer Concordia, and was on the board of directors for the Concordia Undergraduate Journal of Art History.
Valeria Ortiz, an art education student, is also running for the position. Ortiz’s main goal is to provide marginalized students with the tools they need to thrive at Concordia. Ortiz has also worked as an event supervisor for The Hive.
“As an immigrant student who doesn’t have family who went through the educational system in Canada, I struggled with getting myself into university,” said Ortiz. “I want to be able to help students who might be going through the same thing.”
Kai Corrigan is a performance creation student who wants to continue FASA’s work on anti-oppression policy, as well as supporting students through inter-department events and advocacy.
“As a FASA team, we could work on making people feel less isolated,” said Corrigan. “More first-year outreach as well as online social events where people can come together.”
“It’s less of what FASA can plan to do and more of FASA listening to students to see what can be done,” said Corrgian. “I’m running for student life coordinator, but we’re all students. What I want to do is listen and advocate for you and what you need.”
Corrigan has worked in event planning and producing for theatre. He was also on the advisory group for the Ottawa public library.
For film production student Emem Etti, the focus of a student life coordinator should be to create a safe space for all students regardless of background. Etti wants to accomplish this with outreach, group events and workshops.
“I ran because I feel very passionate about providing a safe space for all students regardless of background, and making university the best place it could be,” said Etti. “It can be a very alienating process to move into such a big environment.”
Etti has worked this past year as an event coordinator for Film Production Students for Inclusivity and Action. “We want to provide equal opportunities for BIPOC students and marginalized communities in the film production program,” said Etti. “Unfortunately, it is notorious for being a little inaccessible for people.”
Etti is also a visual storyteller for Black Women Initiative, and is currently working on a video series focused on wellness.
Léa Boucher, a painting and drawing student, is running for outreach coordinator. Boucher wants to focus on creating content to platform students in the arts and maintain FASA’s inclusive and fair environment.
Rosi Maria Di Megliois is also running for outreach coordinator, but could not be reached for comment.
Clubs and service coordinator
Maddi Berger, a print media student, is FASA’s current outreach coordinator, and is running for clubs and services coordinator.
“I was drawn to this position because I’ve been part of clubs myself,” Berger said. “I’ve been an executive member of the Queer Print Club for that past two years, and I really like the opportunities that FASA offered to communicate to students on a first hand basis. The clubs and service coordinator gives you a great opportunity to help build community within the department.”
Berger wants to extend FASA’s anti-oppression and sustainability policies to clubs, and hopes to encourage the creation of new clubs “so students have new ways to participate outside the classroom sphere.”
She was also on the board of directors for the Fine Arts Reading Room, and is currently on the board of the Sustainability Action Fund.
Catherine Reynolds, a photography and film studies student, is running for clubs and services coordinator. Reynolds wants to review and oversee FASA’s bylaws while prioritizing sustainability. Reynolds also wants to find new ways to promote fine arts clubs within and outside of the department. Currently, Reynolds is a member of the Concordia Photography Collective.
Damien Ul, a film animation student, is running for finance coordinator. Ul wants “to be a presence when helping out new club members with financial-related matters, maintain the cyber security of online financial records, and encourage club events and collaboration between clubs/facilities, through reasonable financial means.”
Specifically, Ul wants to ensure the confidentiality of online transactions at FASA.
“It’s not only important to ensure the confidentiality of online transactions and records at FASA, but also to make sure that clubs also have these kinds of measures,” Ul said. “I think FASA managed that well, but from personal experience with my club, I wished I kept my financial documents safer.”
Ul is the finance coordinator at Animate Concordia. Before she started university, Ul received training as an event planner from Projet MJ, a group created by the Centre Communautaire de Loisir de la Côte-Des-Neiges.
Alexa Vermey, a performance creation student, is running for finance coordinator. Having previously served as secretary treasurer of the Drama Student Federation at the University of Guelph, Vermey wants to use their financial experience to support student projects during and after the pandemic.
“As a theatre major, the way that I create has changed hugely,” said Vermey. “I want to encourage exploration and creativity in the limitations we have.”
Fine arts students can vote for the incoming FASA executive team between April 6 and April 7.