Minds We Meet—AUSU Councillor Lisa Oracheski

Interviewing Students Like You

Lisa Oracheski is a Councillor for the Athabasca University Students’ Union.  Here we get to know one of our fabulous AUSU councillors.

How brought you to AU?

I originally joined AU in 2008 as a non-program student taking Psychology 289 to determine if I enjoyed the subject.  It turned out that I loved the course and even got my first A+! I went on to take more psychology courses as time and money permitted while I worked full time at my job as a manager in a construction supply company.  Then in August of 2016, the company restructured to consolidate locations and eliminated my position, so I took that opportunity to apply to the BA program and go back to school full time.  I was able to get transfer credit for many of the courses that I’d previously taken at the University of Alberta, and now I only have three courses left to finish my degree!

What got you involved with the AU student community?

When I first started at AU, I was not involved at all with the student community.  This was a vast oversight and I’d probably have been more successful in many ways if I had gotten more involved earlier in my time at AU.  I was still busy with my work and volunteer roles, and I viewed the courses I’d taken simply as exercising my brain in a productive way.  Now, I engage with the AU community every single day – on the AU Student App, in various Facebook groups, and in my class forums.

What is the last book you read?

I love reading and took part of my BA in English and Comparative Literature at the UofA decades ago, so I always have something on the go aside from my textbooks.  Also, I’m in a book club with several friends – the last book I read for that was The Woman in the Window, by A.J.  Finn.  Being in a book club prompts me to read books that I never would have chosen on my own, and I’ve found several great books this way, including Beartown, Station Eleven (Canadian content even!), and I am Pilgrim.  I have two other books on the go right now: The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline, which I am almost done and have really enjoyed so far, and I just started Little Fires Everywhere for my next bookclub meeting.

What show do you think everyone should binge watch?

My favorite show right now is Brooklyn Nine Nine – it has great comedic timing and excellent banter between the characters.  I’m also a fan of Elementary, Criminal Minds, and Veronica Mars.  Binge watch all of them!

Why did you choose to run for AUSU council? 

I’ve become much more involved in the AU student community since I became a full-time student.  This mostly happened by accident, just by using the AUSU app, joining some AU Facebook groups, and reading the Voice Magazine on a weekly basis.  It didn’t take me long to realize that I’d been missing out on being part of a vibrant and engaged student community, so that’s why I ran for a seat on council.  Being an online student doesn’t have to be isolating, and you can still have a positive impact on the lives of other students by becoming involved.  I recently attended an Edmonton Meet & Greet, where I was able to meet the outgoing student council president, the incoming president, the executive director of AUSU, and many AU students.  It was great to have conversations with other students from different faculties who are realizing their educational dreams through AU as well.  Now that I’m on council, and a member of the awards and finance committees, I’m committed to representing the voices of and advocating for all AU students.

What are your academic goals for 2018? 

I’m going to graduate! Three more courses! Once I’m done my BA, I’ll be working on the certificate in counselling women.  I hope to use this additional schooling as a stepping stone to further my career and keep challenging myself while eventually working towards a master’s degree.

If you could have a meal with someone from history, who would it be?

I would love to sit down with Maya Angelou.  I’ve read many of her poems and autobiographies, and they have inspired me for decades.  She was a phenomenal woman who was able to recover and reclaim her voice after an unspeakable tragedy, and I would like to help individuals recognize their own resilience to heal after trauma.

What is one thing you would like to complete personally in 2018? 

Aside from finishing my degree and getting a job in my field, I’d like to take a course on photography.  I have a DSLR camera and a very photogenic dog (see photographic evidence attached), so once my degree is finished I’d like to use some of my free time to learn how to take better photos.

Since being elected as a councillor (congratulations!), what are your hopes for the 2018-2020 term?

I hope that our student council is able to engage more students in the work that AUSU does.  Our advocacy efforts will be most effective when we have input from as many students as possible about what they value and want us to work towards on their behalf.  It’s an exciting time to be on council and I’m very proud to have been elected to serve you!

Thank you for this opportunity!