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More than buzzwords: SUS executives explain goals for upcoming year

A new board structure has also been introduced, which means that among the new SUS team there will be changes: new ideas, and new goals.

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By Taylor Breckles (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: May 21, 2014

baker house - ufv flickr

Baker house residents are high on Petersen’s list of campus groups he wants to focus on.

The end of the Winter 2014 semester provided more than a seasonal change with the introduction of a new Student Union Society (SUS) president, vice president external, and vice president internal. A new board structure has also been introduced, which means that among the new SUS team there will be changes: new ideas, and new goals. 

VP internal Thomas Davies is looking to streamline the relationship with clubs and associations. 

“This year is the time that we can … improve the efficiency and improve the ability of clubs and associations to operate,” Davies says. “We have the bare bones, we have a very good structure, and now we just need to really push out the structure.” 

A handbook is one of the new instruments designed to help students understand how to start a club, how to hold events, what paperwork needs to be filled, as well as several other tips to help clubs get going more easily.

In addition to a more refined guide for clubs, there are some ideas being considered regarding another reading break.

“University of Alberta students recently got a fall reading break,” VP external Dylan Thiessen says, “[which is] something the advocacy committee was looking into.”

As well, Thiessen hopes to continue with the political speaker series that was started last semester that brought in Stéphane Dion. He notes David Suzuki, among other local political figures, is in the realm of possibility.

President Ryan Petersen opens up regarding his plans for SUS and his motivation to run for the role.

“I had no desires to be president,” he explains. “[However] one of the things I see happen … is you get these amazing boards, amazing groups of people who come in and just do wonderful things, but then they all graduate or they all leave and then this organization just crumbles … and I didn’t want that to happen.” 

Petersen also says he lacked any “grand ideas” when he decided to run for president, instead finding his inspiration and drive in the ideas of others. 

“I want to see the society flourish and I want to make sure the changes we make actually make sense for the organization, [allowing us to] improve on any little hiccups and anything that was overlooked,” he says. “I’m just trying to make sure that all of these amazing ideas [from past SUS members] don’t suddenly get lost or forgotten.” 

Baker House, however, is one area Petersen would like to focus on.

“I really want to bring Baker House more into [the university]. They’re our only residents, the only members that are on campus 24/7, so I definitely want to make sure that we’re reaching out to them in some way,” he says.  

One idea he suggests involves AfterMath. Petersen suggests the possiblity of opening it up for World Cup soccer games this summer, noting there are still a few people living at Baker House. 

“I want to foster and create an environment where people are happy, people are safe, and people are able to chase after their dreams and their goals,” Petersen concludes. 

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