University of Calgary Student Union
Marley Gillies is a political science student at the University of Calgary! She has served as Vice President External for the UCSU for two consecutive terms. This past year, she was able to fulfill many of her platform points including; the student transit pass going virtual on students smartphones on the MyFare App in Calgary, being Vice Chair of the Council of Alberta University Students (CAUS) to push back against the provincial cuts to the sector in a united effort, and to familiarize students with their municipal government through the ‘Meet your City Councillor’ event! She is excited for another year of advocacy and fighting for students – during the pandemic and afterwards.
A born-and-raised Calgarian, Marley Gillies has always been a politically active student. In high school, she participated in the Alberta MLA shadowing program, and upon graduation she was the recipient of the Premier’s Citizenship Award for her involvement. Since joining the University of Calgary, she has served on SLC as an Arts Faculty Representative for three consecutive years. Marley also joined the U of C’s Model United Nations Team and competed across North America. Her most memorable country representation was the Nation of Azerbaijan, at a conference in Washington, DC.
As Chair of CASA, she is keen to find innovative and effective solutions to relevant student issues, relating to the pandemic and otherwise. With a potential Federal election on the horizon, Marley is eager to advocate for the needs of students on Parliament Hill, and ensure that students are adequately represented at every step of the way. She is committed to supporting students in work-integrated learning, financial assistance, educational resources, and inclusion and equity as we navigate and unravel from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marley is a trained classical singer, pianist, and guitarist. As a child, she performed in three Calgary Opera productions and performed regularly with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. When she’s not studying, you can find her teaching piano and voice lessons to younger children, hiking in the mountains, travelling, and painting.
Southern Alberta Institute of Technology Students' Association
Oki, Hello, My name is Dawson Andrew Thomas & am the current Vice President at SAIT’s Student Association (Saitsa) in Calgary, Alberta. I’m enrolled in the Hospitality & event Management program entering my second year. This is also my second year with Saitsa as a board of director previously serving as the Vice Chair.
Alongside to being on the board I also served as a Pride Student Leader with institution working with the Pride at SAIT Committee, while leveraging my connections as the President of the LGBTQ+ Club.
I am really looking forward to working as a board member as my first year with CASA & all of the new / returning members and staff. I am just as excited to be taking on the role of chairing the ‘Governance & Internal Review Committee’ to oversee policy / governing documents as required. I can’t wait to get started by upholding all the duties and responsibilities of the Secretary for this board, reviewing minutes, scheduling meetings and ensuring my own smooth transition into office.
I know I’ll bring my own positive energy, knowledge of governance structurers, policy updates, Bylaw understanding and organizational skills to help further support CASA. This past year I was involved in reshaping Saitsa’s governance structure and Bylaw’s to a brand-new model presented at our AGM to allow ourselves to better advocate for the student’s at SAIT.
Athabasca University Students' Union
Stacey Hutchings is the President of the Athabasca University Students' Union (AUSU). As an online University, AUSU represents students who reside all over Canada. She is in her final year of a Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society with a minor in Political Science. Stacey is passionate about lifelong learning and advocates for mature learners, learners with disabilities, and accessibility needs, to ensure they have equitable access to post-secondary programs and opportunities. Stacey also started a virtual food bank at her home institution to address food insecurity which is an alarming issue no student should face. Stacey currently resides in Calgary, Alberta but has spent most of her life living on Vancouver Island and Northern British Columbia.
Stacey's focus this year as the elected Treasurer is to provide regular updates on CASA's finances to members. She wants to empower fellow members in all aspects of overseeing an organization's finances to help develop these key leadership skills. Stacey is also passionate about building sustainable value through fiscal and social responsibility and believes every organization should have this mindset regarding decision-making and culture-creating, something she will promote as part of her role at CASA. Fundamentally, a strong organization requires a well-supported staff. This is why Stacey is looking to ensure CASA's staff are supported and have the resources they need to continue supporting advocacy on behalf of post-secondary students.
Outside of student advocacy, she is a mother of two. She volunteers for the Red Cross and enjoys running, hiking, and playing video games.
Spirit River Striped Wolf
Students' Association of Mount Royal University
University of Alberta Students' Union
My name is Christian Fotang, I am the Vice President External at the University of Alberta Students' Union (UASU), a Bachelor of Science student studying Biology and Psychology (although according to friends, I am a closet Poli-Sci student). This year I am incredibly honored and excited to serve as this year's CASA Director of Advocacy!
I hope to use my prior experience in advocacy and awareness campaigns to promote the student voice at the Federal level. Although this is my first year on CASA, I understand how thousands of students nationwide have benefitted from CASA’s advocacy work. I am humbled by the trust placed in me by our delegates and look forward with glee and optimism to work together as we continue to build on over 25 years of successful student advocacy.
With a possible Federal Election on the horizon, I am excited to work alongside our board members and National Advocacy Committee (NAC) to run another successful Get-Out-the-Vote (GOTV) campaign. My mission is to work with the NAC team to produce advocacy that is innovative, creative, and effective! I recognize that this will not be easy and there will be many challenges ahead. However, I am fueled by the stories of students' lived experiences, the dedication of student leaders across our post-secondary community, and the experience and wisdom of our home office staff.
When not busy talking about advocacy and student governance, you'll find me equally passionate about soccer, bike rides in the Edmonton River Valley, trying (although terribly) to learn Norwegian on Duolingo, and debating the merits of ketchup on steak, pineapple on pizza, and milkshakes on fries!
If you ever like to have fierce debates about food or discuss how we can advance the student movement from coast to coast to coast, feel free to reach out to me!
Students’ Association of MacEwan University
Matthew Yanish is the Vice President External (VPE) at the Students’ Association of MacEwan University (SAMU) and a Bachelor of Arts student studying political science and philosophy. Matthew is passionate about promoting the value of education for its own sake, and this is reflected in both his academic and advocacy efforts.
He is interested in the intersections of education and labour (and education as an end in itself), as well as the exploration of the relationship between human development and technological development. When politics or academics aren’t on the table, Matthew spends his time brewing kombucha, baking various goods, and building ideal systems (in Terraria).
Matthew’s work at SAMU consists of representing MacEwan students to all levels of government, through creating and pushing for student-friendly policies. He is eager to work with CASA’s membership and staff on a number of initiatives over the coming year, with three main focus areas in mind:
- Reinforcing and building up CASA’s mechanisms for reporting, input, and information from members and to members within the organization
- Ensuring a safe return to conducting in-person business, which is equitable and accessible for all engaged in CASA’s work
- Creating opportunities outside of official business for members to connect and engage with one another in a meaningful way
Matthew is people-driven in his approach to this role, and looks forward to working with CASA’s delegation and other stakeholders to ensure the organization is doing the best work it can, while providing the best support possible to members. With CASA’s members spread across the country and with a digital interface limiting modes of connection, Matthew will be working on making connection at CASA a more achievable experience.
Kyle Cook is a Bachelor of Arts student at Saint Mary’s University, originally from Newfoundland and Labrador. He is in his 4th year completing a double major in Criminology and Social Justice/Community Studies. He is the current Vice President of Advocacy at the Saint Mary’s University Students’ Association (SMUSA) and has been elected to the CASA Board of Directors as the Director at Large of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.
Kyle’s focus this year as the Elected Director at Large is to work with CASA’s National Indigenous Advisory Committee and the Governance and Internal Review Committee to ensure the revitalization of Indigenous knowledge and equable governance policies are established that represent the diverse lived experiences of the student voices at CASA. Kyle is looking forward to working as Chair with the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee to plan large-scale educational events that promote EDI in our student unions/associations across Canada.
Kyle has experience working as a Teaching Assistant, Research Assistant, Peer Success Coach, Chair of the RainBEAU Committee, and often engages in his own grassroots initiatives. Aside from his career, Kyle enjoys hiking, supporting local businesses, and exploring the shores of Nova Scotia.