Wednesday, 14 September 2016

12 Reasons to Take Part in GovWeek 2016

GovWeek 2016
Image courtesy of the Students' Union
Get hyped for the one, the amazing, the inaugural.... GovWeek!

Let’s be honest, when you think politics, you’re probably thinking something like this:

Politics: the "easy" divide between left and right
Image courtesy of
And maybe a bit of this:

Ummm... Trumbridge?
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Then when you think of student politics, it goes kinda like this:

Excuse me, but who are you?
Image courtesy of tumblr
If you agreed with any of the above, GovWeek (September 19-23, 2016) is on a mission to change all that. This action-packed week is all about governance and making it more accessible for all, from Students' Council to Faculty Associations to just general info about how student governance works. Whether you’re an SU connoisseur or a governance novice, there’s something for everyone at GovWeek. 

Here are twelve reasons why you should take part:

Have a drink with Mayor Don Iveson (and other local politicians)

"Heyyyyy!" Mayor Don Iveson

You heard me, on Friday the 23rd (also Green and Gold Day!), Don Iveson, King of YEG, former SU staffer, and U of A alumnus, will be speaking from 1:30 pm to 2:00 pm in the Myer Horowitz Theatre. He’ll be talking about how student governance helped him in his career and will also touch on the importance of good governance at all levels. The talk will be followed by a reception (including food and beverages) in the SUB Atrium until 3:00 pm.

Connect and swag up at the Governance Clubs Fair

Forever Milhouse
Image courtesy of tumblr.


Image courtesy of tumblr.
It’s Clubs Fair 2.0! Here you’ll find your faculty associations and all other faculty or academic-related groups and clubs. If you haven’t joined yet, here’s yet another opportunity to get involved, and for those already in one, this is a great time to collaborate with and chat up groups similar to you! Swag hunters, this is also the event for you.

Join the #realtalk at the Panel Speaker Series

Guardians of the Galaxy, or a really impressive SU panel - you decide.
Image courtesy of
This speaker series aims to start a productive conversation about the unique barriers faced by different groups in student governance- more specifically professional students, international students, Indigenous people, mature students, and women.

Each of the five panels will be catered and spread out from Monday to Thursday.

Make actual decisions at AGMs (Annual General Meetings)

Fabulous voting!
Image courtesy of tumblr.
DID YOU KNOW that all faculty associations hold a single, grand annual general meeting every year? GovWeek is going to be an AGM extravaganza! This is your chance to learn what’s going on in your faculty association(s) (aka the people advocating to make your faculty better), how to get involved and give them feedback on what YOU want to see. This is where votes happen and decisions are made, and you should be there because democracy is fun AND important. 

Enjoy food & drink specials at SU businesses all week

Dogs with hands eating..... that's what this is, and it's great.
Image courtesy of
Put your sweatpants on and hop on a culinary field trip across campus to try the special food and drinks SU businesses like Dewey’s and RATT have concocted. E.g. “The Decision-maker”, aka a real stiff drink. 

Bonus: the first lucky 30 people that get to the SU Food Tour will get a free food sampling tour of SU businesses with VP Operations & Finance Robyn Paches.

Get expert tips on how to run & win a student election

Also, me after an exam
Image courtesy of imgur.
DID YOU KNOW that the SU Council by-election nomination packages are due the week after GovWeek? That means that you can get involved in student politics right now, no need to wait for spring! “Woa! Go on!”you say. Okay! If Student Council sounds like your thing, you’ll want to be at the Chief Returning Officer (CRO)’s session about the ins and outs of running an effective, clean, and winning campaign.

Get up close and personal with SU Execs

Too close!
Image courtesy of tumblr.
Throughout the week, each of the SU Executives (i.e. the 5 elected students representing us before the provincial government and the university administration) will be hosting at least one session each in addition to visiting sessions hosted by others. This is your chance to introduce yourself and to hear what’s going on behind the scenes at SU. Maybe even make a new friend! (PS: You’re welcome to visit them at their office too!)

Gain the full knowledge package

Mind = blown
Image courtesy of tumblr.
GovWeek will give you a better idea of how campus decision-making works, how to have your voice heard in that process, and why it matters. To get this full knowledge package, attend a session like SU 101 hosted by our SU President, Fahim Rahman. 

SU Services Open Houses

Well, hello there!
Image courtesy of imgur.
If you didn’t come to Orientation or if you just need a refresher, some SU Services like The Landing or The Gateway will be hosting exclusive Open Houses to show you what they’re all about! (And you might get some more swag along the way.)

Meet the Minister of Advanced Education 

Feeling faint
Image courtesy of tumblr.
Marlin Schmidt, Minister of Advanced Education will be the opening keynote speaker at 1:00 p.m. in the Alumni Room of SUB on September 19th. He’s kind of a big deal. He kind of has our university’s fate in his hands. Go say “hi” and hear his speech!

It’s all free

Free = yes, please
Image courtesy of tumblr.
And open to anyone!

Did I mention there’s free food at least once a day?

When the food is free, be like
Image courtesy of imgur.

Now that you’re fully convinced:

 Check out for the full lineup of events!

The SU Execs for 2016 - 17
Our jolly SU Execs (from left to right): Mike Sandare (VP External), Marina Banister (VP Academic), Fahim Rahman (President), Robyn Paches (VP Operations & FInance), Francesca Ghossein (VP Student Life)
Shoutout to the Students’ Union Executives and the GovWeek volunteer committee for their hard work to make this happen, and special thanks to Marina Banister for her help with this article.  

Catherine - YouAlberta Contributor

Catherine is a 2016 BSc graduate (in Bio and English) who will be tackling a BEd in Secondary Education this September. She currently works at the Centre for Teaching and Learning and her passions include children’s health and flat-faced pets. When she isn’t eating or chuckling to herself, Catherine enjoys playing piano, exploring the river valley and spiralling into existential reflections while stargazing.

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