Algonquin SA, SAO similar in name only

By Katrice Sutherland

What is the difference between the SA and the SAO?

Many students, faculty and members of the college community told the Times that they either did not know who the Students’ Association or Students’ Affairs and Orientation were or confused the two with one another because of their similar acronyms.

The confusion rises between the entertainment section of the SA and the SAO because both host notable events with entertainment value.

However, they are entirely separate organizations with different mandates.

The SA stands for Students’ Association contrary to the SAO which represents Students’ Affairs and Orientation.

The SA is a private corporation that acts as an umbrella running and funding all things student-related. This includes, but is not limited to the Students’ Association Board of Directors, a number of campus restaurants like Starbucks and Tim Hortons, the Fitness Zone offering Athletics and Intermural practises, The Observatory, Student Commons Theatre and more.

The planned initiatives of the SA blanket a number of organizations and can be summed up in that they act as a voice of student advocacy within the college.

To look at a smaller section, SA Entertainment focuses on programming that appeals to leisurely amusement, like the hypnotist, slam poet artists and large-name musicians like Dean Brody and LIGHTS that came to the Student Commons Theatre.

Bill Kitchen, SA events programmer, said the initiative of this department is to “provide students with unique events and experiences at Algonquin College during their time here.”

“We do still collaborate on campaign events like Movember and work together to offer student advocacy but both organizations pursue differentiated paths,” said Kitchen.

The SAO, on the other hand, helps students make a comfortable transition into post-secondary school, and get situated at the college. The SAO is an arm of the college and is not funded by the SA.

“We do two main things: the college orientation program three times a year and in between orientation we lead educational, fun events to engage students on a number of different levels,” said Joanne McDonald, manager of the SAO.

SAO has partnered with Volunteer Ottawa and offer Community Projects, a gateway for students to involve themselves in monthly volunteering opportunities in the Ottawa community.

For example, upcoming events in November include donating time at local food banks and going to Debra Dynes Family House to help bag lunches for school age children.

The SAO is looking forward to hosting the Alternative Spring Break happening this upcoming February where students will be taken on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic.

Each organization has volunteer opportunities and paid positions available throughout the school year that students can look into for further involvement.