ISA Salute is an appreciation title awarded to individuals/groups to acknowledge the remarkable work they do for international students and the ISA. Every year, the International Students' Association (ISA) awards this title to one or more individuals/groups after critically examining their contribution. An ISA Salute awardee is featured on ISA's website permanently to recognize their contribution to the international students' community at the UofA.
ISA Salute 2020
UASU President 2019-2020
International Students' Association (ISA) gladly declares Akanksha Bhatnagar, President of the University of Alberta's Students' Union (UASU), as the 2020 ISA Salute recipient.
The work carried out for International students during her time as a UASU President was remarkable. The international student’s community has increased significantly and has become 20 percent of the entire student body, making one in every five students an international student. Akanksha realized the necessity of a body of international students that would effectively advocate for them and present their current concerns to Students' Union. She had an essential role in reinstating the International Students' Association (ISA) by providing them with the resources to make a strong framework that would ultimately contribute to the advocacy for international students. Akanksha assisted in drafting ISA's constitution and held regular meetings with the ISA Executive Committee in order to fully grasp an understanding of the challenges that ISA and international students were facing. During these meetings, she offered constructive recommendations on how to create a strategy for tackling these particular challenges.
Akanksha Bhatnagar has served the Students' Union over the last 3 years with distinction in her various positions. She was first the Student Governance Officer in the department of Discover Governance in the 2017-18 year, working to support Student Representative Associations and governance efficiency within the SU's widespread network. In March of that year, she was elected Vice President (Academic) where she continued to support the SU's governance network and championed the removal of iClickers. She has also been a passionate advocate for open education resources and has presented at several national and international conferences to represent the student perspective in the need for affordable materials.
As President of the Students' Union for the 2019-20 year, Akanksha has led students through one of the most difficult and unpredictable times for post-secondary education in Alberta. She has been a staunch critic of the provincial government's cuts to the University of Alberta and was a leader in the Students Not Silent march to the Legislature in November which was attended by over 500 people. Passionate about creating a comfortable and welcoming campus environment, Akanksha has pursued the establishment of free menstrual products across the University by working with various sponsors. As she finishes her term as President, she will leave the legacy of the Charter of Student Rights: a document designed to ensure that students' rights are known and protected within the context of their post-secondary education.
ISA Salutes to Akanksha Bhatnagar for everything she did for international and domestic students in the past 3 years.
Listen to people who worked with her,
David H. Turpin, CM, PhD, LLD, FRSC
President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Alberta
Chancellor of the University of Alberta
Chair of the University of Alberta Senate
Provost and Vice-President (Academic)
Congratulations Akanksha on being the first recipient of the International Students' Association's Salute.
You have been a wonderful advocate and supporter of international students and I am very happy that the student community also recognizes your many contributions in this regard. I have enjoyed our many discussions on the unique challenges faced by international students and appreciated your shared commitment that we work to ensure the experience of our international students is the best it can be. This has been and will always be one of UAI's top priorities. I appreciate the support you have provided to international students in navigating how to establish or re-start student associations and how to contribute issues through the student governance structure. In the past year of note are the support you have provided to the International Students Association and the Indian Students' Association.
Thank you as well for your many contributions to advancing the universities profile as an international university. Your participation over the past three years with the Global Academic Leadership Development (GALD) program has been most welcome. We have close to 900 GALD alumni who are part of our global ambassador network. Your recommendations to enhance the SU day have deepened participants understanding of Canadian students' roles, responsibilities and capabilities in governance and service delivery. Thank you as well for joining us in events and meetings with international delegations. Your participation in these events helps demonstrate the value and importance the University places on being a global university.
Congratulations on your well-deserved recognition. I look forward to staying in touch and to seeing where next you will contribute your significant skill, talent and vision.
Vice-Provost & Associate Vice-President (International)
Akansha is a valued partner for the Office of the Dean of Students. We have worked together on important projects such as the recently adopted Charter of Student Rights. Akanksha has the best interest of students at work, and is committed to positive community outcomes.
Vice-Provost and Dean of Students
I want to congratulate my President, and one of my best friends, on receiving this recognition from international students. Akanksha and I first met when she started her first job at the SU and now, 3 years later, I have seen her grow into an incredible leader who has left a lasting impact on the University of Alberta and our Students' Union. She deserves this recognition and so much more for the tireless work she has put into creating a better experience for all students.
UASU VP External 2018-2020
Akanksha has exemplified true leadership this year, paving the way forward through one of the most challenging years to be an SU President. Her tenacity, grit, compassion and brilliance has stood the true test of endurance this year, all while never failing to stay true to the student heartbeat. The legacy she leaves will take the Students' Union to the highest levels- once only imaginable. I am beyond happy to see my friend, and my President receive this award. I know that wherever you go, you will always lead tirelessly, and touch hearts.