Area of Study: Third-year Bachelor of Science, Biology Major.
Experience: Manager and Supervisor of SUS Food Services Department, SUS Faculty of Science Rep for 2014/2015.
What are you hoping to accomplish as president?
My main goal is to move SUS in a direction that feels more focused on the benefits of students instead of SUS being more of a benefit towards the Society itself. This seems to be a trend in the past couple of years, where the thinking has been geared towards benefiting the Society first, and students second. My main goal is to make sure that everything that SUS is doing is working towards putting students first in the end, whether those students necessarily support us or not. I will accomplish this by working to have students be more aware of SUS. Students know there is a SUB, but they don’t necessarily know what SUS does. This will help increase the engagement of the university. Right now the board has three members running for it, which is significantly low. It’s pretty disappointing to see, because it just shows that students are getting less engaged, especially with how many departments we have on campus and how many students we have. To reach the students, I know in the past SUS has done classroom visits. I don’t know if they’re doing them at the moment, but we might work on doing those again. Also we could set up more tabling booths and get things set up in more public areas rather than just here in the SUB.
Is there anything that SUS has done in the past that you would have done differently?
Some of the handling of the stuff over the summer. The biggest issue that comes to mind is, after the pride shooting in Orlando students wanted to fly the pride flag on campus, and how quickly that was shut down. I believe that the students should’ve been allowed to fly that flag, at least for the entirety of the day. It was a time of mourning, and they should’ve been allowed to keep it up. I know it wasn’t university policy but, at that point who cares? It’s not like they’re damaging property or anything with it up. The flag was only up for maybe half an hour before SUS took it down, and I think that was a mistake. I definitely would’ve handled that differently. Maybe just in general, not handling policy so stringently, and being more understanding and thoughtful towards certain situations. If something happens, and for example a group of students need to work a table in the atrium for an issue, but they don’t necessarily have the paperwork for it, I wouldn’t be too strict on those issues. I want to be more thoughtful and understanding of nuanced issues that come to SUS. I want to put the individual student before paperwork.
How are you planning to improve communication with the student body?
I will definitely work on having more announcements and things coming out from SUS. I know that there was a president’s blog that was started, but it only ever had one post. Actually working on utilizing that and having constant posts going out would be a start, as well as using the Facebook page to present more than just the services side of things we could present more things like, “Hey, we have this board meeting coming up,” or “We have these other events coming up,” or “This policy is up for review,” and constantly have information going out to the students for them if they want it. Even if it’s not as widely read as we would like, just to have that going out is important. Utilizing social media via Facebook and Twitter and things like that is key. Having things simply out at the front desk, like policies and agendas for board meetings on the front desk open for students to come in and see and know that this is what SUS has and this is what we’re doing.
Are there any specific policies or bylaws you are wanting to change or implement?
Some of the elections policies are a little wonky and could use some reworking and rewording in some areas. They aren’t the most clear and concise and open about what you can and cannot do. If anyone has to go through election stuff in the future, I wouldn’t want them to have all of these strange ambiguous questions, wording that raises more questions than they answer on the forms. I want to make things a lot more clear. We need to go over all of the policies and bylaws, making sure that everything lines up and makes sense, making sure that if a student comes in with those policies it should make sense, it should be clear and concise and it should not be worded confusingly. Clear, concise, able to be understood by the average student. You shouldn’t have to be involved with SUS to understand what anything means.