By Shannon Boklaschuk
Attending the University of Saskatchewan (USask) after completing high school was a natural fit for Zachary Digout.
“There have been several members of my family that have attended USask, including some of my brothers and both of my parents, so USask has played a major role in the Digout family,” he said.
Digout, who was born and raised in Saskatoon and attended Aden Bowman Collegiate, is now a third-year international studies student in USask’s College of Arts and Science. Pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in the college has provided Digout with “the opportunity to explore so many topics and interests,” he said, noting his international studies classes have also offered him insight into global issues, current events, and historical processes.
“Being in the College of Arts and Science, there is such a wide range of classes to check out—so I can fill my elective credits studying things I genuinely want to learn,” Digout added.
This year, Digout plans to become even more immersed in the activities and events taking place in the College of Arts and Science as the new president of the Arts and Science Students Union (ASSU). He decided to run for the presidential role as a way “to give back to this group that does so much for the student body.”
“Our main responsibility as the ASSU is to ensure that students’ voices are heard,” said Digout. “We are working to put out a monthly survey to collect ideas, concerns, questions, and suggestions regarding the improvement of the College of Arts and Science, services provided by the ASSU, and campus life in general to ensure that all students are represented. We want to make sure diverse student needs are met.”
Digout is taking the reins from computer science student Lucas Kobashi, who served as ASSU president during the 2021-22 academic year. Digout will be joined on the ASSU executive by Mikaela Braun, VP internal; Dylann Larson, VP external; Max Bodnarchuk, VP academic; and Will Bushell, acting VP marketing. Starting on Sept. 12, the ASSU will meet each Monday at 5:30 pm in Arts 241. All College of Arts and Science students are welcome to attend the meetings and can choose to do so in person or virtually. Students are also encouraged to follow the ASSU’s Instagram account (@assuusask) for more information on upcoming events and meetings.
Digout said the ASSU sells $5 memberships that provide students with several benefits, including use of the pool table in the ASSU study lounge. Memberships can be purchased at the ASSU office in Arts 218. The ASSU also rents lockers in the Arts Building, at a cost of $45 for a term or $70 for the entire academic year.
Digout said the ASSU will expand its in-person event options this year, including bingo nights, movie nights, and scavenger hunts. One of Digout’s goals as president is to enhance the ASSU’s current services, including its exam files, to meet the needs of arts and science students.
“We are also working on new services to further improve campus life,” he said.
The return to in-person learning and socializing at USask is exciting, but Digout noted that students may also be experiencing anxiety during this period of transition. As a result, he is encouraging students to take care of their physical and mental health.
“It will definitely be an adjustment for everyone. Going into my third year, I have spent most of my time at USask doing online classes, and I know many other students will be in the same situation,” he said.
“While I encourage everyone to get involved with different campus groups, especially students who have not had the opportunity to do so due to being online, I also want to remind people to prioritize their own wellbeing. This is a stressful time, and with all this focus on staying physically healthy in terms of COVID-19, it’s important to take care of your mental health as well.”
One of Digout’s main goals as ASSU president is to provide opportunities for collaboration. He said this means building and maintaining bridges between the ASSU and student societies within the college, as well as with other student unions and various groups on campus.
“I want the ASSU to be a space for students from all branches of education to connect and collaborate, supporting the projects that stem from these connections,” he said. “By having crossover in membership with student societies within the college, we can better represent and support students from all majors and departments.”
Visit the ASSU website, assu.usask.ca, for more information about the services and supports the ASSU offers to students, as well as for meeting links and executive members’ contact information.