Editorial—Drop in, Vote on, and Turn out

February 28 is the first day of voting for the new AUSU council. This will be the group that represents you to AU and to the government for the next two years, including the pivotal 2019 year when both Alberta and the Federal government will have their elections, possibly profoundly affecting the course of post-secondary education in this province and across the nation.

This is my way of saying it’s important.  These are the people who we’ll be trusting to not only come up with the plans to take to government groups when they’ll be particularly vulnerable to student action, but also to sell it to them as something that could help them get elected (or re-elected), and that’s on top of the usual activities that the AUSU Council has to do.

It can be hard though, by distance, to really get a sense of who these candidates are, so we came up with a list of questions on some of the issues the new AUSU Council is going to be facing and put it to the nineteen candidates to see what they’d say. Fourteen took us up on the offer, and some of the answers will, I think, make a difference in who you choose to vote for.  But be warned, with fourteen candidates answering the questions, its’ a long article. You may want to take it in chunks.

However, don’t let these questions be your only source of information.  You can also take a look at the AUSU election forums to see what questions candidates have been asked there and what their answers are. Some previous elections have found those forums mostly dead, but this time there’s over 55 posts in them, meaning that things are hopping.

Too much reading? Then check out the recordings of the candidate debates.  Three debates are being held, with, at this writing, one more to go, but the recordings of all of them will be posted.  Beyond the substance of their answers, these recordings can help you determine how these candidates present themselves, something that should be kept in mind when you consider how they’ll be interacting with AU, government, and other organizations.

In addition to that, our feature article this week is an interview with an AU student and corporal for the Canadian Forces reserve recruiting unit.  Many AU students are also people in their military career as a portable education is exceptionally important when you get orders to move. So it’s interesting to see her take on an AU education and how she’s made it work for her.

Also, as distance students, it can be hard to find other AU students to communicate with. You may even wonder if there’s any reason to do so.  Or maybe you’ve already found the main Facebook page that AU students tend to congregate on, but there’s a lot more than that available, and Barb Lehtiniemi takes a look at some of the offerings that are out there that can help you not just connect with students in general, but perhaps even find a group that has more direct relevance to the struggles and successes you’re dealing with in her article “Networking at a Distance.”  Perhaps you’ll find a group that just makes the whole AU experience a better one.  Enjoy the read!