Starting in May, the Canadian Alliance of Students' Association will sing a new key as Mark Kissel takes over as the federal lobby group's new national director. Kissel, who has a Music Education degree from the University of Western Ontario, begins his term May 1.
Kissel was elected by CASA's member students' unions, and won by one vote over his nearest competitor. He was the Vice-president Education for the UWO Student Council and held the Ontario Regional Director position for CASA this year.
"I ran because I wanted to be involved with the organization," he said. "I want to make a difference in students' lives. This will provide a very good forum for that."
Kissel plans to address a number of issues in the upcoming year.
"Every three years, CASA had to retune its policy, and this year is that year, so we're going to have to look at our policy and we'll have to focus about 50 per cent of our resources internally," he said.
Kissel is also looking towards a possible federal election during his term.
"We have to make sure our policy is in place for that," he said, adding that it's important to start saving money to lobby officials during the campaign. "The opportunity only comes up once every five years, and it's an important one."
The University of Calgary Students' Union is a member of CASA, and voted in the national director election.
"With us, all of our CASA discussions go to our commission," said SU VP External Nassr Awada. "Each candidate submits proposals to all the schools. [The commission] had a meeting and presented all the proposals. We decided from there."
Awada, who was the CASA Treasurer this year, has worked with Kissel.
"He's very driven to advance the student cause," he said. "He's got a strong knowledge of the organization, so that's a benefit. I wish him the best of luck."