As many of you know may know, ASFA’s Member Association (MA) Election was put on hold due to the recent pandemic that is COVID-19. We needed to sit down and think of ways to address our students’ needs through these tough times and make decisions that would be best for the students and the Member associations (MAs) that we represent.
During that time, we made two major decisions that we wanted to share with all of you.
First, we decided to create a bursary for students who are in need of financial aid. We understand and recognize the stress and burdens faced by our students and as such will be using the funds that we have from ASFA’s remaining operating budget to help students who were negatively affected by COVID-19 thus far. The bursary we have set up is a total of $5000 with 20 bursaries for $250. These bursaries are available to all students, however, given that this money belongs to arts and science students, they will be prioritized. This is not to say that ASFA does not care or recognize the needs of other students in other faculties, but we are committed to ensuring that the needs of our students are met first given that we represent them. We would also like to say that the total of the bursary is an initial amount from ASFA’s remaining operating budget, and that we plan on increasing the total of the bursary with unused funds from our member associations in order to increase our capability to help as many students as possible.
Secondly, we will be holding the Member Association (MA) Elections online. We decided to do so as holding the elections is crucial in helping future MA Executives transition in their new posts. Holding them now will help us ensure that the current MA executives do not need to stay on past their mandates and ASFA and MA Executives will be given enough time to plan and create their budgets with all of their events such as academic workshops, speaker series/panels, pubsocials, wine and cheeses etc. ASFA's financial planning and development occurs during the summer, and as such we are trying to put future executives and student leaders in a position where they can succeed.
We are aware that not all of our students have access to laptops, nor a stable internet connection, however, due to the circumstances and the long-term negative impact of not holding elections will have on next year’s students experience, we decided that it would be best to hold the elections. For students without a laptop here is the link where you can request to borrow a laptop from Concordia: https://www.concordia.ca/it/support/learn-teach-work-from-home.html#borrow
We are aware of the many challenges that students may face during the elections, and as a result we have made some changes to make the nomination process as easy as possible. We would like to highlight that we encourage all students to get involved in student life. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved not only through your member association. ASFA has seats for members at large on its standing committees, and with the plethora of events hosted by ASFA, the Loyola committee, and our member associations there are many volunteer opportunities to get involved. If you visit the ASFA website under the “Get Involved” section you can find more information about available positions in ASFA (https://asfa.ca/available-positions).
To make it easier for candidates to complete their nomination forms, we are allowing them to send their respective nomination forms (that they can find here: https://asfa.ca/pagema) to both their Member Association (MA) CEO (your respective MA CEO’s email can be found in your nomination form), firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com while cc’ing firstname.lastname@example.org . Due to the fact that candidates will not be able to collect signatures physically, they will not be required to collect any signatures. Candidates will be allowed to send in their nomination forms from March 26th to March 30th until 11:59PM. Late submissions will not be accepted. The candidates are not required to have any signatures on their nomination forms. Furthermore, if you have already given us your nomination forms, your candidature has already been accepted and you do not need to do anything else for the nomination period. Apart from the nomination period that will be different, the campaigning and polling periods will remain the same.
The new election dates are:
1. Nominations: Thursday, March 26th - March 30th 11:59PM
2. Campaigning: Tuesday, March 31st - April 4th 11:59PM
3. Polling: Sunday, April 5th - April 7th 11:59PM
Once again we are doing our best to support our students and will continue to do so to the best of our ability. Please stay safe, healthy, and positive amidst this difficult time. We are here with you every step of the way.
Your ASFA Executive Team
Lyse Muhayangingo, Elections Coordinator
Abolaji Ajeigbe, Chief Electoral Officer