Feb. 23, 2024

Become a UCalgary senator and serve as an ambassador for community engagement and impact

2 senate members shed light on their experiences and impact
Photo of people celebrating in a football stadium
UCalgary Chancellor and Senate chair Jon Cornish, centre, attends Dinos kickoff game at McMahon Stadium with students, graduates and alumni. Adrian Shellard

Have you ever considered becoming a senator at the University of Calgary? If not, perhaps it's time to think about the rewarding opportunities it presents. 

What is the senate?

The members of the University of Calgary Senate act as crucial links between the institution and the wider community, advocating for representation, promotion and excellence. Currently with 62 diverse members, including representatives from various sectors, the senate advances the university's mission through regular meetings, committee work and special events. The body is chaired by the chancellor, currently Jon Cornish; the chancellor, in turn, sits on UCalgary’s Board of Governors.

"We promote all of the amazing things going on at the university to the greater Calgary community," says Crystal Hickey, who represents the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) on the senate. Hickey manages the Master of Science in Sustainable Energy Development (SEDV) program as a program specialist at UCalgary. She is a member of AUPE’s council and has served as a senator since 2023.

Sangeetha Varghese, MBA’12, director of data governance and quality at Rogers Communications, joined the senate three years ago. She was drawn to the opportunity to give back and share her perspective within the university community. Varghese says being on the senate “was another way to give back, to understand what's going on and share my perspective. This is a way for me to be heard.”

Both Hickey and Varghese play active roles within the senate, contributing to various committees and initiatives aimed at advancing the university's mission. 

The highlights of being a senator

Varghese serves as chair of the body’s Governance Committee, which actively contributes to developing processes and policies to ensure effective governance within the senate.

"I really enjoy my fellow senate members. It's a really good group of people,” says Varghese. “It's a very diverse group of people in terms of age, background, career stage.” Through its diversity, she says, the senate provides a unique platform for individuals to connect, collaborate and contribute to the university's growth.

Hickey, who is currently serving as vice-chair for Recruitment and Membership, says joining the senate has opened up many opportunities for her to learn and engage with the community. 

"The more you get involved and really take advantage of the experiences (the) senate has to offer, the more you will learn about our university and the impact they have within the larger community," she says. For Hickey, being a senator has not only broadened her understanding of UCalgary, but also provided a platform to give back and share the university's achievements with the community.

Both Hickey and Varghese offer valuable advice to individuals considering joining the senate, emphasizing the importance of reaching out to current members and exploring the diverse opportunities available. 

Hickey, in particular, encourages individuals from diverse backgrounds to consider joining. "You don't have to be CEO of the company to join us," she says.

Varghese urges prospective senators to connect with current members to explore the diverse opportunities available.

“Reach out to the senate office and ask to be introduced to other senate members,” says Varghese. “Or find senate members on LinkedIn and reach out.”

Current application cycle is open until March 15 

Becoming a UCalgary senator offers a unique avenue for personal and professional development while making a tangible impact on the community, and is a gateway to meaningful community engagement and impact. Whether you're motivated by the desire to give back, to share your perspective or to connect with like-minded individuals, joining the senate is a chance to make a difference within the university and beyond. 

Deadline for applications is March 15 at 11:59 p.m.

Learn more and apply.

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