Study Area: Fourth-year Business Major
Experience: Residence Association VP / President and Residence Assistant at Baker House, Global Engagement Volunteer with UFV International, Student Engagement Team member, Go-Team and Ambassador with Student Life, member of the UFV Rowing Team, Welcome Week volunteer, Angel Tree contributor, Co-Host at UFV Bookstore’s Annual Student Recognition fashion show
What are you hoping to accomplish as president?
One of the biggest things I’m going for is building a better culture and community on campus for students. I’ve been here for four years now, and I’ve seen what’s happened; there’s been a shift of UFV’s, and I’m left questioning, like many students attending this university, “What’s our thing?” I want to create an identity of UFV by students and for students, that’s my biggest thing. Other universities host large events to welcome first-year students, and I think that is something that we could take from them. I kind of want to work with our Welcome Week, which is something that’s been happening every year with SUS for sometime now, so I’m intending to develop that and make it better.
Is there anything that SUS has done in the past that you would have done differently?
One thing I can think of at the moment is the Welcome Weeks in the second semester. I find that they are lacking energy compared to how it functions in the first semester. I know that we don’t have a big intake in our second semester compared to the first, but I think it’s important to keep the energy level high for students coming off of the break. I want to give students an option for things to do on campus and to give UFV more community-based stuff for our university. I know we’re such a commuter campus and I know that’s a big issue regarding student involvement; I totally get it, for students that might not want to stay here because they have commuted from far away, and they just want to go to class and go home. I totally get that. But I am still thinking about giving those students options. I want to focus on what we can do for students that are spending time on campus to make their time here more enjoyable, like more info booths and free food here and there. It’s so important because the classroom education is only a percentage of the education that students gain from their experience at universities. A lot of the education gained from attending university is happening outside of the classroom just as much as it has inside of the classroom. There’s more to a student than just classroom life.
How are you planning to improve communication with the student body?
I want to have a bigger online presence, making sure we are on all types of social media. I feel like we also need to do more classroom visits to first-years and second-years at the beginning of every semester, just to let them know what’s happening on campus. I want to have an open door policy. Students should feel free to walk in and see what’s going on with SUS and learn about the campus. I know as the president I’m really just the face and the voice for students; I know how important it is for students to be able to come and speak with me. I want it so that each student will know at least one person that represents them in SUS on a more personal level. My goal is to have every student know what’s going on with us, either learning about it online or in person. In my first year, I didn’t have a clue what was going on with SUS, so I understand that, and that really helps me know how important it is to communicate and get in touch with students to get them involved and help them understand what’s going on with SUS, and I know that will have a meaningful and long-term impact on our university’s quality of student life.
Are there any specific policies or bylaws you are wanting to change or implement?
The one big thing that I realized is how difficult it is to get events done. I know how important this is. If we’re trying to get students engaged, I know that events on campus play a major role in this. So, if there’s something that a student loves doing and he wants to have an event for it, I want to make that happen. Another thing is making it easier for students to bring off-campus food to these events. At the moment it’s very difficult for students hosting events to bring food that isn’t catered through the UFV food service provider. Simplifying the policies around hosting events, and making it simple and straightforward for those groups to bring food from anywhere, are both immediate priorities for me after the election; just to make things simple and less expensive. If I was elected, there’s already a goal plan that the president has to follow in place from the previous semester. The upcoming year will be the third year of a three-year goal plan that the previous president and his executives had come up with. As president, your job is to follow that plan, listen to students, to be the face of students on campus and to be the voice connecting students to the faculty.