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Notes from council: VPA pops champagne after filling GFC student seats, new award commemorates PS 752 victims

Catch this February 9 council update to learn more about increased student presence in General Faculties Council (GFC), the highest academic governing body at the University of Alberta, and a new award to honour students who passed away in the tragic PS 752 flight.

“Notes from Council” is The Gateway’s ongoing series of recaps of noteworthy items from Students’ Council meetings.

For the first time all General Faculties Council (GFC) student seats filled 

In a February 9 meeting of council, two agricultural, life & environmental sciences (ALES) students were appointed to General Faculties Council (GFC), the highest academic governing body at the University of Alberta, meaning that all 40 student seats of GFC are now filled. 

Composed of professors, non-academic staff, and researchers, GFC makes decisions directly impacting students like the credit/non-credit grading system devised as a response to the pandemic in Winter 2020. Other topics frequently discussed at GFC include how the university will be shaped through academic restructuring.

Vice-president (academic) David Draper popped champagne during council in celebration of filling all 40 seats, something he reiterated “hasn’t been done” before.

“This is the culmination of a lot of work from a lot of different people,” he said. “It represents not just a new record and the attainment of something for the first time in university history, but also a new standard for us as students and student representatives.”

He highlighted how previously, any student seat that was vacant meant one less vote cast in the student interest.

“This is a fantastic way to ensure that student voices are meaningfully heard across university issues that deeply impact students,” he said. 

After the council voted unanimously in favour of nominating the ALES students Megan Ciocchetto and Liam Pearce to GFC, David Draper popped some celebratory champagne.

Draper made it clear that though he had popped the champagne at the climactic moment of the vote’s passing, it was “champagne for the conclusion of council” and he would “not be partaking” until he was off work. 

New award announced to commemorate lives of flight PS 752 victims

President Joel Agarwal announced that a Students’ Union award is being renamed in honour of Saba and Sara Sadat, two U of A students who passed away in the tragic PS 752 flight

The Saba and Sara Sadat Memorial award will be given to four students each year, and will be valued at $1,000. 

“It will be an honour to their life and commitment to the campus community,” he said. “Saba was an avid volunteer as a mentor to her peers in the community, she cared about youth and was very involved in organizations like Heart of the City Music, Big Brothers and Sisters Edmonton, Helping Hampers.”

“We wanted to do this to keep their legacy alive on campus,” he said. 

Students’ Union vice-president (operations and finance) Alana Krahn also commented on the award. 

“I’m really pleased that these two students who were taken from us too soon are able to be remembered in this way,” she said. “Like Joel said, their legacy will be carried forward.”

Rachel Narvey

Rachel is the Gateway's 2020-21 Staff Reporter. This summer, she will complete her MA program in English and Film studies before returning to the U of A in the fall as an Education student. In her spare time she writes poetry and watches Jeopardy. You can often find her sitting alone, eating a burrito.

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