Outgoing SIIT student president all about building community
- Katie Doke Sawatzky | June 05, 2017
When it comes to leadership, Morgan Kalk has done and learned a lot over the past year.
Kalk, who is 25 and originally from Buffalo Narrows, has just finished her term as president for the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies and is finishing up her last class of the semester: Calculus.
“That’s always fun,” she laughed.
While calculus may not be her favourite class, she is enjoying her program. Kalk is a business student and just completed two years at SIIT. She will transfer to the Edwards School of Business at the University of Saskatchewan in the fall. Right now, she’s looking back on a full year of study and success.
During her term as president, Kalk and her leadership team created the first LGBTQ awareness week at SIIT, arranged for the Mayor of Saskatoon to visit with students, and advocated for a student representative on the school’s board of governors. They also pushed for SIIT to change the word “Indian” in its name to “Indigenous.”
The list goes on. Kalk is working on getting gender-inclusive bathrooms on campuses and she personally worked on a free-breakfast program that was implemented across all SIIT campuses in the fall.
When asked what her motivation is, Kalk has a simple answer: community-building.
“SIIT was already and has always been a very, very close-knit community but definitely there is and always will be a chance for building that community even stronger and acting as a voice for students who may not have that ability,” she said.
Kalk leads by building friendships, admiration and trust. She said her biggest motivation comes from seeing how happy people are when she helps them resolve their problems or questions.
“That’s the energy that feeds me,” she said. “I’m not a negative person ever … I like to make people feel positive and just create a positive atmosphere no matter where I go. It’s just something that I’ve always been about.”
Kalk’s interest in business started when she was young. Her mother owned and operated a cafeteria in Saskatoon. Kalk was responsible for the vending machine.
“I would restock and fix any issues that there may be with it,” she said. “My payment was the profit from that vending machine. I called myself the owner and operator…it just started from there and built on.”
When Kalk started at SIIT in 2015, it wasn’t long before her peers and instructors encouraged her to run for president. At first she didn’t know if she was qualified, but she said she developed helpful skills in her first year.
Now she plans to pass on what she’s learned to the incoming leadership.
“Leadership is definitely shared and part of being a leader is not only where you’re going but where your followers are going,” Kalk said. “I think we’ve created a momentum here and that all these new leaders are going to come around and they’re going to add their piece to it and bigger and better things are going to come out of it,” she said.
Kalk has been nominated for CBC Saskatoon’s #iamSK community-builder contest. She will be working for the Aboriginal Career Start Program at the U of S this summer.