Executives’ Blog: What is the GSA advocating on? Updates from Marcela Lopes – July 2019

Marcela Lopes, VP External

Marcela Lopes, the GSA VP External, was featured in a GSA blog early this spring semester about her appointment as Chair of ab-GPAC, the graduate student provincial lobbying group. This week, she is sharing with us her top priorities as VP External for the GSA as well as her recent advocacy work on the provincial level.

It has been a busy past few months for the GSA on the external advocacy front.

On the national level, the GSA was voted in as an official member of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations at the end of May at its Foundation Conference. GSA representatives joined a few committees of CASA that directly advocate for the benefit of graduate students across the country.

On the provincial level, the ab-GPAC hosted its board retreat to discuss its 3-year strategic plan and top priorities for this year’s advocacy effort with Marcela’s lead. The GSA also attended the Student Leader Orientation organized by the Ministry of Advanced Education, where we got introduction about the Government and connected with the new provincial Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs).

As the VP External of the GSA, Marcela shares her main objectives this year: 1) to run the Get Out the Vote (GOTV) campaign at UCalgary to raise awareness and participation in the fall federal election, 2) to host the first ever advocacy week for ab-GPAC and develop the new relationships with the new MLAs, and 3) to develop advocacy and research documents for the GSA that are in synchronization with the ab-GPAC and CASA priorities as well as to acquire support for these documents from the respective stakeholders.

Alex van Olm, Chair of External Advocacy Committee

On the GSA level, the External Advocacy Committee has completed their member recruitment and excited to have 8 new members joining the Chair, Alex van Olm and Vice Chair, Marcela. The committee will have their first meeting in August to discuss Ucalgary graduate students’ top issues. If you are not a member of this committee, don’t worry! You can email or schedule a meeting with Marcela to discuss your concerns and share ideas for improving graduate students’ experience and benefits on campus, in the province, and across Canada.

Marcela Lopes, GSA VP External