ASEC Leadership Election

Cast your vote for the ASEC Board of Directors.

Large Sector Candidates

Jody Gylander

My fellow executives,

My name is Jody Gylander, and I am the current Vice President External for NAITSA, and I am looking for your support in electing me to ASEC’s Board of Directors. I am a mature student in my first year of business administration and a past NAIT graduate of their electrical apprenticeship program. I have spent nearly twenty years working directly in the construction industry, where I spent most of my career in supervisor positions on large-scale projects. Over the past five years, I have been building a small rental and property management portfolio with my wife while raising our two small children. As an elected representative on ASEC’s board, I would bring experience but more importantly, I bring with me the drive, passion, and determination that allowed me to have success throughout my career. 

It has been incredibly valuable to have the opportunity to engage with my fellow counterparts from the other large, medium, and small post-secondary institutions across our province. The insight that I have gleaned through our conversations, breakout sessions, and the open mic platform provided has been educational and incredibly motivating. It is inspiring to see and hear the passion that we all share for our elected roles and more so for the work we aspire to do as a collective through ASEC. 

As a member of the board, my focus will be on two distinct areas. My primary focus will be supporting a mandate for continuing the advocacy on such issues as association protection and keeping tuition affordable by indexing tuition increases to the long-run inflation. As well as new advocacy goals as decided collectively by the members of the board.

My secondary focus will be examining new financial frameworks to support ASEC’s core mission of lobbying. The membership is not sustainable to operate at a loss year over year. We cannot rely on internal investments to keep the books balanced. Nor can we rely on further cost-cutting to balance the budget. Having reviewed annual reports from other similar organizations like the Canadian Federation of Students, ASEC is grossly underfunded. Director Jon Bilodeau and his staff are exceedingly effective in their advocacy and financial stewardship and have shown incredible operations acumen given the financial restraints that currently exist. As a member of the board, I want to ensure that ASEC has a sustainable, long-term financial infrastructure in place that will allow them to continue advocating for all of us. 

The upcoming provincial election does present a real opportunity for our respective student associations to organize and mobilize. In order to capitalize, we need to build up our resources, write new policies and legislation and then deploy a strategy to find engagement at the provincial level. I strongly believe that ASEC is the organization that will be the most effective and as a member of their board, along with my fellow counterparts, we can give ASEC the tools and mandate to fight for us.

 Thank you,

Jody Gylander

VP External NAITSA




Niculina Jensen

Hello, my name is Niculina (Nicky) Jensen. I am currently in my second term as Vice President Operations and Finance for the Lethbridge College Students’ Association (LCSA), working on completing the Practical Nursing Diploma. I am putting forth my name to run for a seat on the Board of Directors for ASEC for the 2022-2023 academic year. Helping others and being their voice has always been my passion, growing more as I enter my second term in office at LCSA. Last year, I contributed to the ASEC team considerably as part of the lobby team, researching and advocating on behalf of the post-secondary students, not only in southern Alberta and Lethbridge College but all of Alberta. Working with the ASEC Lobby Team has not only helped me come out of my comfort zone, but also allowed me to grow more interested in the things that students need, and perspectives within post-secondary education. I want to be a part of the discussions, planning, and innovation of goals that all ASEC members have come up with, to help support and come up with ideas of how to bring those across so that we can all benefit from as post-secondary students. Success requires an army of support, and I want to be a part of that army. I want to help with the decisions, be a more significant part of the discussions, and bring insight to the table that can bring our visions and goals into action that will, in turn, benefit so many in the future. Between my passion for advocacy and my constant desire to help others, being a member of the Board would enable me to work more closely with not only the ASEC team but associations all over the province and Canada to come up with ways to support, change, to grow and build a better, more successful post-secondary journey for students of today and tomorrows to come.

Dawson Thomas

Hello ASEC membership!
My name is Dawson Thomas, I am completing my last year in Hospitality Management at SAIT, and I am the newly elected President at Saitsa, this will be my second year with ASEC. Last year I served as the Vice President and voting delegate with ASEC. This is also my third year in student leadership in 2020-21 I was the Vice-Chair for the
Board of Director’s prior to our Student Association’s governance change.
I am putting myself out there as a candidate for the ASEC Board of Director’s in the Vice Chair capacity. The reason why I am putting my name forward is because I believe I am ready to put my experience and skills to the Board level.
Last year I had the opportunity to work with ASEC’s lobby team during lobby week and I walked into that opportunity excited and anxious. But with all the hard work completed by every student leader there, we were able to have a successful week all thanks to the leaders and staff. And when I walked out of that opportunity it gave me the confidence, I needed to continue my year and I hope to bring my same energy again this year as Vice-Chair.
Some of the advocacy I am looking to push for this year is international student support, specifically to ask the provincial government to have a standardized onboarding structure and policy. For new international students and to have the institutes in Alberta mandate this province wide so that they are properly educated, onboarded, and supported.
Another advocacy goal I am passionate about is pushing for indigenous supports across the province as that should be accessible at all institutions. As a two-spirit indigenous student myself I 100% see the value in the support system I have been receiving at my campus and it’s vital to my academic success and other’s.
Finally, I am looking to see how we can have more inclusion and voices heard within ASEC from the smaller sector and looking at how we can integrate them with equal opportunity. As well as looking to provide equal opportunity to voting delegates if any arise if they want it. Thank you for listening to my campaign blurb and I am happy to answer additional questions.
Dawson Andrew Thomas, ASEC BOD Candidate

Medium Sector Candidates

Savanah Snow

Hello everyone! My name is Savannah Snow, sitting President of SARDP in my second term. I am putting my name forward for the ASEC Board of Directors, and if all goes well, I am hoping to run for Chair at Retreat. I am the only returning Board member from 2021-2022, and as such, I bring valuable historical knowledge and the ability to support and empower other members of the Board as we engage in the very important work that we do. 

Though I came in on a special byelection last year, I was engaged fully in all things ASEC. I joined the Lobby Team and got to speak to the Minister of Advanced Education on the topic of meaningful consultation when it comes to tuition an MNIFs. During that meeting, he said to me, “That all sounds great, but I’m not sure how to do that without writing six additional pieces of legislation.” Here’s the thing about me: I’m not afraid to argue ~respectfully~ and so I asked whether he had considered building it into the existing tuition framework, because duh Minister, why would you write six more pieces of legislation? He agreed that would work and the group tasked him with following up with ASEC Home Office to get that in motion. 

Additionally, I joined the Federal Student Advocacy Alliance as one of two representatives for Alberta students. We engaged in around 30 meetings over the course of a couple of months, with everyone from sitting and opposing MP’s, Senators, policy advisors, and bureaucratic groups. All of this to say that my advocacy skills are strong and I know I can be a good representative for Alberta students with the support of an awesome team around me! 

Advocacy priorities for me this year are the adoption of Open Educational Resources (OERs), support for International and Indigenous students, and more Indigenous representation on campuses in the forms of student spaces, access to elders, and cultural events. Additionally, I have a little project idea for ASEC itself. I was responsible for the 360 review this year, and something that I noticed was that there were members who felt unengaged. Something I’ve heard and continue to hear is that not every SA has the capability to send delegates to every conference and Lobby Week. With the addition of Federal Lobby Week, I think it is more important than ever to make sure all sectors are represented at the table. I would like to propose setting up a pool of funding, paid into by SAs who are able, that would go towards sending delegates to conferences and Lobby Weeks when there is a sector missing representation. I think this would bridge the gap specifically between smaller and remote schools and those of us that reside in larger city centers. 

Thank you all for your consideration! Even if I don’t make it onto the Board this year I’m fully looking forward to what ASEC has in store during this eventful time! 

Navleen Kaur

Dear ASEC members,
My name is Navleen Kaur (She/her) and I am the President of Concordia Students’ Association. I am a fourth year Bachelor of management student at Concordia University of Edmonton with an emphasis in Data Management and Conflict Management. I am running for the ASEC Board of Directors for the medium sector. I have been a part of Concordia Students’ Association since
May 2021. It will be my first year to actively contribute to ASEC as Board, if elected. It has been a pleasure and a positive challenge serving the student body and I look forward to learning more about how I can contribute. As a part of the board of directors, I want to work on improving the policies of ASEC to be more inclusive and adaptive to diversity. I will work on improving
communication among the team and delegates. I have academic and work experience in negotiation and conflict management at non profit organization. I want to work on improving the accessibility of ASEC to our student leaders and student body overall. In addition to that, I want to work with other student leaders by following the principles of integrity and leadership to find
the best procedures for our student leaders. My experience as a peer coach and peer tutor at Concordia University of Edmonton and an International Office Assistant helps bring a different perspective to the table and demonstrate my leadership skills and accountability. I would really appreciate your vote to be a part of the ASEC Board of Directors.

Small Sector Candidates

Morgan Calenso

Hello! My name is Morgan Calenso, my pronouns are they/she, and I’m a fifth-year ceramics major at Alberta University of the Arts. This is my first year in student leadership and I’m the new Vice President of External Relations at the AUArtsSA; previously I was the ceramics department representative on the student leadership council. As a student from a small institution, I believe it’s important that small sector members of ASEC have a seat on the Board of Directors, especially this year with only one small sector member running for the board. As a queer and neurodivergent art student, I have a unique perspective on issues around inclusivity and accessibility. I have excelled at AUArts because it is a small institution where I am not just a number and the relationships that I can build with my instructors because of our small class sizes are selling points that cannot be overlooked when it comes to small sector institutions. Speaking from my own experience I know that our campus struggles to have our voice heard on a municipal and provincial level due to our small size and the fact we are an art and design-focused institution. This course has begun to shift with our new municipal leadership in Calgary and I want to ensure this shift is also reached provincially. An AUArts member on the board would give our voice as a small institution the necessary boost we need to have more recognition from all parties as the election comes up. At AUArts we have between 800-1000 students across all years and programs. We are the only art and design university in the province, one of four arts universities in the entire country, and we are an essential part of Alberta’s future. The arts are an essential part of
Alberta’s future. A seat on the board for my institution and the small sector as a whole means our voice, our concerns, and our goals will be heard. Given the upcoming provincial election in 2023, I believe this is a crucial year for small sector advocacy and representation to ensure that institutions and students can thrive, not just make ends meet. ASEC plays a key role in the success of Alberta students, and I would be honoured to sit on the board of directors.
Thank you!

Issues of importance to me this year (in no particular order):
– Vote anywhere stations for the upcoming election
– Affordable and accessible housing for students
– Continue and strengthen ASEC advocacy in the upcoming election year to push for association protection, more post secondary funding not less, potentially re-establishing the tuition freeze in Alberta as inflation is making everything more expensive and education must be accessible to students to ensure a prosperous future in Alberta
– Work towards establishing a consistent approach to onboarding international students across all alberta institutions
– Securing more funding to international student supports (particularly for AUArts as we don’t even have an IS office, we have one staff dedicated to IS support, and there is a 10% increase in international students this coming year but no increase in support or funding to help these students succeed in their education)

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Large Sector

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Medium Sector

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Small Sector

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