The KSA’s New Strategic Plan Goes to AGM

Students can vote and provide feedback on the plan on Mar. 30
Alyssa Laube, Associate Editor

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The Kwantlen Student Association is recommending its recently drafted strategic plan—which is the first comprehensive guide to be used as an organizational framework by the KSA—to its annual general meeting on Mar. 30. The plan will help direct the Association for the next three years.

It opens with a statement from KSA President Alex McGowan before launching into the KSA’s mission, vision, and values. A list of priorities from 2017 until 2020 are explained in detail over the next dozen pages before the document concludes with a “Moving Forward” section outlining the implications of its existence for future council members.

The list of values in the first few pages of the plan was developed through brainstorming and discussion sessions between KSA councillors. After much deliberation, the terms they settled on as values were advocacy, leadership, learning, service, integrity, and social justice.

“We tried to make sure that all the values we talk about and all the things our society represents are represented in the plan,” says McGowan.

The KSA’s previous attempt at a strategic plan, which was not often put to use, lasted for five years. While writing the new one, the Association shortened its term down to three years.

“Since this is kind of our first strategic plan, we wanted to give it a shorter time frame so that we could check back in with that in three years and come up with another on,” says McGowan. “Being a student society, we’re a pretty dynamic organization that may see some significant changes in the next three years, so we want to give students and student leaders the opportunity to check back in with that in three years rather than the traditional five years.”

The plan is also generally more specific and thought-out than the former five year strategic plan, and is designed to set up standards and time-oriented goals for the KSA executives, councillors, and staff.

Before the plan was officially recommended to the Annual General Meeting, where the KSA’s membership will vote on it, some members of council voiced concerns about the document not focusing enough on student life, which many feel is lacking at KPU. However, McGowan refutes that it fails to focus on socializing and cultural growth.

“We wanted to make sure that there was an emphasis on having fun and making sure that, as an organization, we’re providing opportunities for having fun,” says McGowan. “But at the end of the day, we wanted the document itself to be a professional representation of our plan. I think that our goals for fun are represented in the document, so I’m not sure we’re going to be changing it.”

McGowan believes that the most significant shift in the plan from its predecessor is the focus on engagement and communication with KPU students, as well as the establishment of clear metrics to determine what success and failure would look like.

The plan is being recommended to the AGM so that Kwantlen Polytechnic University students can be given “the opportunity to provide feedback and vote on it.”

“When we, as an organization, want to make fundamental changes to the organization, we don’t do that at the Executive or Council level,” says McGowan. “We leave that to the membership at the Annual General Meeting, so once a year, students have the chance to vote on changes to the organization and a strategic plan is, ultimately, a change for the organization.”

“I think, in general, this document is really exciting because it’s going to empower us to all be on the same page and working towards our shared goals with our shared values.”

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