Students from the faculty of Arts and Science elected their new representatives for the Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA) on March 24.
ASFA’s new executive team consists of Julia Sutera Sardo (President-elect), Christopher Czich (VP-elect of social affairs), Bianca Bruzzese (VP-elect of external affairs and sustainability), Gregory Bedell (VP-elect of Loyola and academic affairs), Steven Tutino (VP-elect of internal affairs) and Francesco Valente (VP-elect of finance). The position for VP of communications and promotions wasn’t applied for in time for the elections.
Sutera Sardo, Tutino and Czich spoke with The Concordian about their upcoming projects and expectations for the 2017-2018 year.
Sutera Sardo, who is in her third year of political science and community, public affairs and policy studies, is happy with the election results. “It’s very nice to know people believed in me to fill the role,” she told The Concordian. Sutera Sardo said she is planning a few changes for her upcoming mandate.
“I would like to add the advocacy committee to the bylaws,” she said. Despite having ASFA’s support throughout the year, neither the task force nor the advocacy committee—groups that denounce any form of racism or sexism—have been added to the bylaws. Adding these policies to their bylaws is a way of ensuring they are official, according to Sutera Sardo.
She also said she is currently thinking of ways to facilitate the electoral process for the future annual general elections, by-elections and upcoming referendum questions. She told The Concordian this idea arose after the most recent electoral period, when ASFA was forced to extend their voting period on March 24 in order to reach quorum.
The newly-elected president said she also wants to encourage Concordia to develop a family policy to ensure students who are parents in the faculty of Arts and Science have access to the same education and rights as everyone else.
She will also continue to advocate that ASFA’s member associations (MA) provide free menstrual hygiene products. Sutera Sardo initially presented a motion at ASFA’s council meeting on January 12 titled The Support for Individuals that Menstruate Position Motion. It requests that ASFA finance and supply feminine products in all MA offices for students in need.
She also wants to make ASFA more inclusive and more representative. “We have an anti-racism position, and a sanctuary campus position as well,” she said, mentioning that ASFA just recently added these to their bylaws. “[This academic year] was the year of stabilizing ASFA, and I think that 2017-2018 will be the year of reforming ASFA,” Sutera Sardo said.
Sutera Sardo also mentioned she wants to openly support student engagement within the university and campus politics. “If I wasn’t engaged my first semester, I probably wouldn’t be where I am right now,” she said. She said she was hopeful about ASFA’s future based on how many students were engaged and voted during the elections. A total of 459 students voted.
During his campaign, Tutino did a lot of posting and advertising through social media, even though he was the only one running for the internal affairs position. “I told my friends to vote, and engaged students in my class to do the same,” he said.
For his new role as VP of internal affairs, Tutino has already thought of projects he wants to accomplish next year. “I want to help with the lack of representation that some student associations might suffer from,” he said. The newly-elected VP is a theology major and is therefore familiar with the problems that the Theological Studies Undergraduate Student Association has experienced. “They have an association, but are not certified yet. They are not acknowledged by the university,” Tutino said, adding that it’s been an issue because the association should be taken into consideration like any other ones on campus.
He said he also wants to work with Queer Concordia and make them more visible on campus. “I want to hear their concerns, and I clearly don’t know all of the politics around it, but I want to create a dialogue with them and just speak with them,” he said.
Tutino plans to work on promoting gender advocacy on campus as well. “It was actually an issue for my campaign. People were wondering how can I make a poster with something that I’ve never experienced before,” Tutino said, remembering how people would question his knowledge on the matter. He believes gender advocacy should be more advertised and he wants to understand the issue more. “I’ve been going to meetings regarding the issue and I, myself, [want to help] with it,” he said.
Czich, the new VP of social affairs, is looking into organizing different events that would bring ASFA’s member associations closer. “I would like to do a [member associations] tournament, which means that basically each program goes head-to-head in different mental and physical challenges,” he said. Czich is also developing a few ideas for next year’s frosh. “I would like to collaborate with the CASA and other faculties for maybe some cinq à huit type of events,” he said.
The three VPs are confident working together will be a positive challenge, and that getting along with people from different backgrounds is part of the job. “If you’re committed to make an organization grow, then there should not be any problems,” Sutera Sardo said. “I’m also really looking forward to working in a non-hierarchal way because this is what ASFA is all about.”