Board elections on the way for RPIRG

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Five positions open at student centre

Another spring of campus elections will soon be upon the University of Regina and nominations for Regina Public Interest Research Group’s (RPIRG) Board of Directors are now open. All students who have not opted out of their RPIRG membership are eligible to run.

RPIRG’s Board of Directors operate as the non-profit’s governing body and have a hand in determining the organization’s goals, hiring, and finances. Those on the board attend monthly board meetings and sit on various committees as a part of their responsibilities. The current Board of Directors consists of: Jessica Antonini, Rachel Krywulak-Burton, Isaac Tamlin, Saadia Burki, Chiara Wolfe, Veerasekar PS, Noora Ashrafi, and Nicholas Antonini. All eight board positions are of equal status with no executive in place.

Krystal Lewis, RPIRG’s executive director, says that, as of now, at least five of the eight spots will be opening, potentially more. Lewis explains that, “Board terms are for two years, and people can serve up to two consecutive terms. Any current board member who can stay on and serve their second year has until the nomination deadline to notify me if they are staying on. If not, their seat will be open. Anyone who will no longer be a student will also open up a seat. As well, if we have appointed someone to the board mid-term (as we don’t typically hold by-elections), those people will have to formally run in the next available election, so they can formally become elected.”

The elections are to take place in March, lining up with most other campus elections. “While we don’t have the same election rules as URSU (because we are a separate non-profit), we use the same nomination deadline, campaign period dates, and election dates as URSU and are on their same online ballot. Once URSU hires their Chief Returning Officer (CRO), that person will choose the election dates – we are still waiting to [confirm those dates] for this year, but have confirmed the nomination deadline and campaign period. I say nomination deadline because we don’t have a timeframe for nominations to start being accepted, just a deadline to hand them in.”

For those students who may be interested in putting their name forward, it is important to note that no prior experience on a board is necessary. In fact, RPIRG will offer training to their new board members.

Lewis spoke further to the types of training new board members could expect. “After board elections each year we run a series of training on general board/nonprofit governance, committee involvement and other roles and responsibilities, full RPIRG orientation and what we are currently involved in, training for doing class talks and other outreach activities, and other things relevant to our mandate such as anti-oppression training. Throughout the term, board members might be involved in hiring and other human resource management, facilitation and event planning, policy development, adjudicating funding applications, representing RPIRG at events, learning different communication skills/styles and more.

“Each year we allocate some funding for board members to individually or collectively use to build their leadership and governance skills. This can include training on student
organizing, learning about social justice issues that are relevant to students or the campus or wider community (to help inform our work), courses or workshops that will help them in their committee or outreach work, and more. This is to supplement the general training
and build a wider range of skill sets on the board.”

“Getting involved in any board or other student organizing, while in university, is of course a great way to pad your resume with volunteer experience, but it also provides lots of valuable transferable skills for nearly anything you might do during or after your studies. There
are some basic responsibilities that we ask of our board members because we are a non-profit, but the more you put into the role the more you will get out of it. And because RPIRG has a very wide mandate of promoting social and environmental justice, we engage with a wide range of issues and initiatives that board members can get involved with, so there is basically something for everyone.”

The nomination deadline is Feb. 28 with a nominee orientation meeting starting at 5:30 that evening. The campaigning period will last two weeks from Mar. 2 – 15, with the official election dates still pending.

RPIRG is also holding a free day-long workshop titled, Winter Power Up – Campaign Planning on Feb. 1. This workshop would be an asset for those considering to run, but is intended for anyone who is interested. From 10:00-5:00, attendees will learn how to effectively organize and execute a proper campaign. These skills are also transferrable to the likes of event planning, volunteer coordination, and project management. Food and childcare will be provided.

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