See http://www.ausu.org/election/candidates.php for a list of all of the candidates.

How did you first become aware of AUSU Council, and why do you want to be a part of council in 2004?

I first became aware of AUSU through a co-worker who used to sit on Council. This was only in the past year. I would like to make people more aware of AUSU and the services that it offers. I did not feel connected to AU during my first years taking courses and believe that if I had been aware of AUSU and items such as the Study Buddy and Coffee Groups that it would have helped me feel more connected.

Tell me a little about your experience with distance education: How many AU or distance ed courses have you completed, and what have you found hardest, or most rewarding, about distance study.

I started at AU in the fall of 2000 in the Bachelor of Administration (Post Diploma) program with a concentration in Organization and have completed 6 courses. I enjoy AU because I find it extremely rewarding to be able to fit education into a busy schedule of working full time, family, hobbies, and other commitments. Without AU I would not be able to complete my degree program. I find that the hardest part of distance education is being motivated sometimes to get the work done without specific deadlines and when other things in life constantly arise.

What role, if any, has AUSU played in your AU experience so far? If AUSU has not played a role, what could it have done to facilitate your learning?

Being that I was not aware of AUSU until very recently, AUSU did not play a role in my overall AU experience to date. I believe that AUSU would have been a wonderful resource for me as a student to feel more connected and to be able to find Study Buddies. Now that I have found AUSU, I plan on taking full advantage of the wonderful benefits to be had.

What work or life experience(s) have you had that you feel will be particularly valuable to you in working with council?

I have diplomas in Office Administration and in Records and Information Management from NAIT. While at NAIT, I was Vice President of the Office Administration Association and sat as President of the Student Alumni Relations Team. I am currently employed at NorQuest College. Working in the Educational Industry for the past two years, in an administrative capacity, has enabled me to become more aware of government policies, legislation, regulations, and other issues affecting students in Alberta.

If someone were to ask you why they should choose to attend AU, over other universities, what would you tell them?

AU provides the flexibility to work full time and have other commitments while working towards obtaining a degree. This is something that other post-secondary institutions are not able to provide. Students can either work towards a degree or take a few courses in addition to obtaining a degree elsewhere. AU allows students to be independent and manage courses at their pace. AU, though a distance education institute, is full of helpful staff and tutors who are willing to take that extra time to assist students.

Speaking generally, what do you feel is the primary role of a students’ union (ie, student advocacy, services, financial support, etc)?

I feel that Student Unions typically focus more on services than student advocacy. I do believe that both are important aspects of any student union. Services allow students, especially those in a distance education environment, to feel more connected to their fellow students. However, all students need a voice in which they can be heard should a problem or concern arise. Student unions can, do and should provide that voice.

Is there one, most important thing that you want to do for AU students as a member of council?

I believe that listening is the most important thing that an AUSU council member can do. If a student has a concern, being able to listen and obtain all the facts and then work as a team with the fellow council members to come up with a solution or assist the student provides the student advocacy that is required by a council.

Working with AUSU council means working with a group. What do you see as the benefits and/or disadvantages of working as a part of a large group or board, rather than as an individual.

From previous experience, I thoroughly enjoy working in a team environment. I find that teams help foster a more interactive environment. I see many more benefits than disadvantages with working as part of a large group. Two of the main benefits of working as a team is that work can be distributed more evenly through a larger group and ideas can be cultivated. As with anything, relationships need to be developed and grow over time, making the organization and team stronger. To be a good team member, one must be able to understand problem solving and solution building, trust others to do their jobs, have a strong working knowledge of what is required for current and past topics, and to be able to work together to assist the greater cause.

See the February 25th (v12 i08) edition of The Voice for interviews with candidates Lonita Fraser, Melanie Gray, and Stacey Steele.

The pdf version of this issue is available at: http://www.ausu.org/voice/pdf/pdflist.php

The interviews are also available online at:
Lonita Fraser: http://www.ausu.org/voice/articles/articledisplay.php?ART=2597
Melanie Gray: http://www.ausu.org/voice/articles/articledisplay.php?ART=2598
Stacey Steele: http://www.ausu.org/voice/articles/articledisplay.php?ART=2599