Kassam eager for challenge

While it may have taken two votes to fill out executive council and general assembly, there was no question who students wanted as their next University of Lethbridge Students' Union president.

ULSU president-elect Taz Kassam, a BA and BMgt student, is one of only four women to ever hold the position and she is looking forward to the challenge.

"I am deeply appreciative of the support, both during and following the election," says Kassam. "I am very excited about the opportunities ahead and am ready to serve as a representative for the ULSU."

Due to a lack of nominations in the general election, the Students' Union was forced to hold a by-election to fill out remaining vacancies on executive council and general assembly.

Kassam will be working with Allan Hall, vice-president administration, who held this position last year; Keith McLaughlin, vice-president academic. The position of vice-president Internal Affairs, will be decided in a by-election, which was held after the public.

"I'm excited to pass the torch to next year's executive team," says Alex Massé, vice-president academic. "They're all solid people with relevant experience. They've also been very perceptive of some of the areas that they can improve upon over the past year."

Kassam is no stranger to the ULSU as she has been an active volunteer for the organization. The 22-year old, who grew up in Calgary but has called Lethbridge home for the last five years, does not lack the skills necessary to be successful in the demanding position of ULSU President. She acquired invaluable experience while serving on the executive council with the Management Students' Society and Jeux de Commerce West Business Competition, where she served as event co-ordinator of the 5th Annual Chillin' for Charity Polar Bear Dip that raised more than $16,000 for the Lethbridge United Way.

Kassam aspires to decrease student apathy through activism and communication. She describes her platform as one that encompasses a grassroots approach, and she has decided to work on matters that will most benefit students. After all, ULSU is an organization for the students, and run by the students.

"I believe the low levels of student engagement stem from a lack of communication from the ULSU and a lack of knowledge about the Students' Union," says Kassam. "It is my hope, along with the executive council, to reverse this increase in student apathy and decline in student empowerment. The longer we travel on this road the less likely the opinion of the student will matter."

Increasing the importance of post-secondary education in the eyes of the government is important to Kassam and she intends to battle this by generating student involvement through lobbying efforts for affordable and quality education.

The ULSU 2010/2011 General Assembly currently includes Andrew Williams, Lisa Rodych, Zack Moline, Tyrell Dasilva, Shane Groarke and Cole Schneider, who are all arts and science representatives; Kyle Hammond as the organization of residence students representative. The remaining General Assembly positions will also be decided in a by-election. Visit for full election results.

The ULSU exists to represent students' interests at the provincial and federal levels of government and to provide value-added services, spaces and programs to enhance the campus community.