Marina Banister

President, University of Alberta Students' Union

photography by Colin Way

Age: 23

Why She's Top 40: She's committed to a vibrant and diverse political life for her university, her city, her province and her country

Marina Banister is committed to empowering young people to get involved in politics at any level, so she leads by example.

Banister has served as chair of the City of Edmonton Youth Council, and as vice president academic of the University of Alberta’s Students’ Union before her current role as president. In 2016 she established GovWeek, a week-long conference at the University of Alberta to inform young people about opportunities for student governance. Mayor Don Iveson and Marlin Schmidt, the provincial Minister of Advanced Education, were keynote speakers at the event and encouraged Banister to run it again in 2017. And, indeed, Banister organized another successful GovWeek in September.

“Many of Alberta’s most prominent political leaders started their path in student governance,” she says, pointing out the signatures of previous presidents and vice presidents that adorn the concrete supports throughout the Students’ Union office.

As president, she’s in good historical company. As a woman, she’s in a more rarefied class. “I am only the 10th female president in the 108-year history of the Students’ Union,” Banister notes.

As if being president of an organization with 31,000 members wasn’t enough, Banister is also the only female in the SU’s senior administration this year.

So, Banister is leading a new university initiative called STRIDE, a cohort leadership program aimed at giving women the knowledge and community necessary to successfully run for student elected office. She hopes that STRIDE will make politics accessible to people from diverse backgrounds. “We need people from a variety of backgrounds in politics because they provide valuable perspectives.”

Banister was recently in Ottawa to represent post-secondary students at Malala Yousafzai’s honorary citizenship ceremony. The honour made her reflect on the advantages provided to her by Edmonton. “We are a young community,” she says. “And there has always been a ‘can-do’ attitude in Edmonton. It makes a lot of things possible.”

This article appears in the November 2017 issue of Avenue Edmonton. Subscribe here.


Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Property of the Week: Magnificent Mactaggart

This property has stunning features inside and out.

Property of the Week: University Avenue Gem

This upgraded home is beautiful and conveniently located.

Property of the Week: Captivating On Crystallina Nera Way

There's plenty to see in and around this blue beauty.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Edmonton Restaurants >

Search for restaurants by cuisine or area of the city.

Find Avenue Edmonton >

Our 500 store listings cover fashion, home decor, sports, food and drink, and more.

Find an Event >

Wondering what to do tonight, tomorrow or next week? This calendar of events will help.