Over twenty-five years ago, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations was founded to give post-secondary students a respected, effective, responsive, and adaptive voice in federal politics and policy making. Today, CASA remains a member-driven organization representing members from colleges, polytechnics, and universities in both undergraduate and graduate programs from coast-to-coast. At the organization’s core was a commitment to ensuring that elected student leaders would remain central to the decision-making processes of the organization.
CASA strives to represent the perspectives of student leaders of every background, operating as an equitable and inclusive entity for a diverse community of students from universities, colleges, and polytechnics. The organization recognizes the value of the lived experiences its members bring to the table - be it from the individual diversity of its delegates or institutional diversity of its member organizations - and always seeks to translate those varied inputs into growth of understanding. In addition to representing the interests of these members, CASA seeks to be a resource for the leaders who make it up. CASA provides capacity building, lobby training, and professional development resources to empower its members to extend their work beyond advocacy week and become agents of change as individuals.
While remaining responsive and adaptable is key to CASA’s operations, it is also crucial that the organization initiate and execute long-term plans and achieve long-term objectives. CASA has a responsibility to improve post-secondary education for today’s students and for tomorrow’s. To achieve this, it is critical that CASA strives for an organizational culture that thinks strategically, measures its progress and effectiveness, and engages in self-reflection for continuous improvement and innovation. Through this process, each generation of CASA’s membership, Board of Directors, Executive Director and staff can assess, reflect, develop and improve the organization.
The strategic plan seeks to unify CASA’s membership around broad objectives, strategic goals and metrics to track progress toward those objectives. These are organized under organizational pillars. Organizational pillars are the core competencies of CASA, as identified by the membership. They reflect broad areas of focus and resource allocation for the organization. Each pillar has core objectives, which are the articulation of the member’s expectations over the term of the plan. Internally, CASA’s Board of Directors and Executive Director will develop and track metrics for each core objective.
Five distinct organizational pillars were identified during the 2018 strategic review process and are carried forward to 2021. They are:
- Policy and Research
- Public Relations