Two Saint Mary’s University Students’ Association (SMUSA) executives will serve as board officers on the Board of Directors of SMUSA’s provincial and federal student advocacy partners this year. This will mark the first time in over 3 years that SMUSA will have simultaneous, direct involvement in both of these organizations’ decision making processes.

Mary Navas, SMUSA’s President & CEO, was recently elected as Chair of Student Nova Scotia (StudentsNS), a not​-​for​-profit​ ​and​ ​non-partisan provincial advocacy​ ​group​ ​that​ ​represents and advances the interests and priorities of approximately 20,000 Nova​ ​Scotia​ ​post-secondary​ ​students. Meanwhile, Bryn de Chastelain, SMUSA’s Vice-President Academic & Advocacy was elected as Director-At-Large Policy for the Canadian Alliance of Student Association (CASA), a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization, composed of student associations from across Canada that advocates on behalf of over 350,000 post-secondary students to the federal government.

“Board positions with StudentsNS and CASA allow Saint Mary’s students to have direct influence on provincial and federal advocacy that contributes to important aspects of student life, including financial aid, career preparation, and overall wellbeing”, said de Chastelain, whose new position is responsible for reviewing CASA’s existing policies and developing new policies that would improve the lives of post-secondary students across the country.

“I am eager to take my position as Director-at-Large, Policy for CASA because I want to engage a greater number of students in policy work and continue to improve the transparency of student federal advocacy” said de Chastlain, who is committed to advocating for accessible and quality post-secondary education through focuses in work-integrated learning, financial aid, and resources for under-represented student populations.

Mary Navas, SMUSA’s first female president in over 13 years, and SMU’s only Honduran student is excited to bring a fresh perspective to the StudentsNS board. “As Chair, I want to continue to bring the student voice forward to government and create real change on our campuses”. Navas is focused on improving financial aid and financial literacy to address funding gaps, creating more student jobs through work integrated learning, and fostering more opportunities for international students. Of the appointment, Navas said “We’re excited to be able to directly influence post-secondary education, not only for SMU students, but for students in Nova Scotia, and across the country”.

For more information on SMUSA’s external advocacy efforts, visit our Advocacy page.


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