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Graduate Students' Association elects new board of directors

Brit Paris is acclaimed president-elect; board will be sworn in May 1
March 20, 2017
Current and incoming GSA directors, from left, Arash Afshar, 2016-2017 vice-president (finance and services); Adrianne Offenbecker, 2016-2017 vice-president (student life); Taha Afyouni, vice-president-elect (student life); Willem Klumpenhouwer, vice-president-elect (external); Negar Mohammadi, vice-president-elect (academic); Christiana Manzocco, vice-president-elect (finance and services); Brit Paris, president-elect; Sam Hossack, 2016-2017 president. Photo by Katherine Lidgren, Graduate Students’

Current and incoming association directors, from left, Arash Afshar, 2016-2017 vice-president (finance and services); Adrianne Offenbecker, 2016-2017 vice-president (student life); Taha Afyouni, vice-president-elect (student life); Willem Klumpenhouwer, vice-president-elect (external); Negar Mohammadi, vice-president-elect (academic); Christiana Manzocco, vice-president-elect (finance and services); Brit Paris, president-elect; Sam Hossack, 2016-2017 president. Photo by Katherine Lidgren, Graduate Students’ Association

Next year's Graduate Students' Association board of directors has been elected. The GSA’s chief returning officer, Leanne Dawson, announced the election results at the Last Defence Lounge March 15, with all incoming executives in attendance.

Of the five executive positions, four were acclaimed:

  • President: Brit Paris of the Department of Educational Research
  • Vice-president (external): Willem Klumpenhouwer of the Department of Civil Engineering
  • Vice-president (student life) Taha Afyouni of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering
  • Vice-president (finance and services) Christiana Manzocco of the Haskayne School of Business

The position of vice-president (academic) was contested between Negar Mohammadi of the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Yan Xiang of the Department of Geomatics Engineering. Negar Mohammadi was elected to the position.

“I’m very excited, and happy that the election is over,” she says. “I know that the work starts now and I look forward to the transition.” In her role, she is responsible for all academic matters that affect graduate students at the university. She will oversee the GSA’s Academic Standing Committee and Awards Committee and uphold the interests of graduate students on issues of academic appeals and grievances.

Approximately 7.5 per cent of the graduate student population — 455 students — cast their votes. “Voting in the GSA election gives students the opportunity to have a say in future decision-making,” says Dawson. “It is important for students to feel engaged, and participate in the democratic process."

The incoming executive has preliminary plans for improvements and goals they’d like to achieve in the coming year. “I want to help foster an inclusive and diverse community among graduate students,” says Afyouni.

Community building is also the focus of president-elect Brit Paris. “This year I would like to harness the potential of the Graduate Representative Council, both as a decision-making body and as a way to build community between graduate students across campus.” 

The incoming executives begin their term on May 1, 2017.