June 25, 2021 – (St. Catharines, ON)
On April 29, the GSA held their Annual General Meeting (AGM) for the 2020-21. The AGM marked a new era of growth for the organization, committing to developing a land acknowledgement that deeper respect to the original custodians of the lands which the GSA is physically seated upon, as well as the appointment of our first auditors, to improve our financial accountability and transparency to our members.
Notably, the GSA also introduced and a plan for their future: 2021-2026 Strategic Plan: Committed to Students, Connected to Community. Approved by both the Board of Directors and the broader membership at the AGM, the plan commits the GSA and its staff and volunteers to a new mission, vision, and values along with specific strategic priorities.
“One of the greatest challenges in student government is annual turnover in leadership,” states President Christopher Yendt. “Without an intention to singular direction, differing plans from different teams puts pressure on smaller organizations, like ours, given several limited capacity components”.
Also known as Document 007A, the Strategic Plan is the first in the GSA’s history and represents our commitment to our members on several issues that we want to address over the next five years.
“I’m excited that despite the unprecedented disruption to our operations and university life over the past two years that we did not lose sight of [our need for singular direction]. This was a platform commitment for me when I was elected in 2020 and the launch today represents the kind of outcomes we can achieve for our members when we align our priorities to those of our members,” shares Yendt.
This plan is the product of conversations, consultations, and deliberations over the course of eighteen months during 2019-2021. These priorities and goals will inform an ongoing Strategic Action / Annual Plan guiding organizational direction and individual goals of GSA leadership. Holding the organization accountable for the plan, the GSA Board of Directors will review monthly updates to Strategic Action / Annual Plan as it tracks the progress of actionable items from the strategic plan while highlighting tasks committed to be each member of the Executive.
“As Board Chair, I am excited that the Strategic Plan and SAAP will provide greater transparency and a clear line of accountability that the Executive have to the Board,” shares Felisia Milana. “I believe these pieces will be highly beneficial to the GSA as a whole by bringing clear structure and organization to commitments.”
Mirroring Milana’s own reflections, Yendt notes the critical nature of the GSA having a Strategic Plan: “[The plan] guides our work and progression as an organization, it unites our efforts as representatives of graduate students. I believe this strategic plan demonstrates the GSA’s place as not only a leader among graduate students’ associations, but within the broader sector and our community as well.”
The GSA is committed to further communication of the Strategic Plan in an introductory manner throughout Summer and early Fall 2021. The GSA further commits to continue open conversation of the Strategic Plan with its membership and each year, will provide an in-depth report on the Strategic Plan at future AGMs.
To view the GSA’s 2021-2026 Strategic Plan: Committed to Students, Connected to Community, click here.