CSA FAQ Part 2:Local Affairs Commissioner

Thursday, August 3, 2006

20 Questions for Local Affairs Commissioner Bre Walt

1) Who the devil are you?

Bre Walt

2) And what is it that you do for the CSA?

Local Affairs Commissioner

3) Sounds technical. What does it mean?

It means I am responsible for tenant advocacy, transportation, housing and municipal issues. It means that I am here to educate and advocate on behalf of students and to make the university experience more rewarding for students.

4) Municipal issues. That reminds me, isn’t there an election in the fall?

There IS an election in the fall for Guelph’s new Mayor and City Council. Voting is on NOVEMBER 13th and there will be a polling station in the University Centre. This is an important vote for Guelph students, since Municipal issues range from the student bus pass to issues of growth, development, water, housing, and transportation. Students can find information about candidates on the website: www.guelphvotes.ca , as well as through various campaigns and events that the CSA will be running in relation to municipal elections. Visit this website for info on events, all candidates forums, etc. Students can also keep their eyes peeled for the “Get Pissed Off!” campaign, which will be hitting the U of G on early October. For election info, e-mail me through

5) What brought you to serve as a CSA commissioner any way?

I love the CSA and have had some great experiences with this organization. I needed something to spice up my life and so thought, “Hey, I should run for the CSA!” It was a great decision, and my motive for being here is to help students and to make them feel at home in Guelph.

6) Has it been very spicy being a part of the CSA?

There have been spicy and mild sections within the job. I will make it spicy though, don’t worry!

7) What’s the deal with being a CSA commissioner any way? Do you still do classes? Do you get paid?

We do get paid. It is a reasonable amount, but given the hours we work, it could work out to as little as $3 per hour, not that I’m complaining because I do have the best job ever! I am still doing a couple of classes, but this job is more than full-time so I am giving it all of my attention!

8) So what would you do with your spare time if you had any?

In my spare time I am a freelance writer for various magazines, and if I had more time I would read and write more, and visit my partner in Toronto more frequently.

9) What is the one thing that you want me, as a student, to know about the CSA?

We always have our door open, and we are here for students. This is YOUR student union so come out and get involved, we want you to, and we need your input and ideas!

10) What can we look forward to this year at the U of G?

I have a ton of speakers and films lined up to show this year and they will all be free for students to attend. The CSA will be running many great campaigns: around tuition, private funding, energy retrofits, and so much more. We have been working hard all summer to plan a great year for all of you!

11) “Energy retrofits” you say; like getting more buildings on campus wind powered like the Bullring?

The global energy crisis is here. Every summer we are reminded of the cost of our energy use by smog warnings, threats of blackouts and warnings that we need to use less electricity. Is the University of Guelph doing its part in fighting this crisis?

The University of Guelph uses 10% more electricity per square foot than the average University in Ontario. University administrators say this is because more research is done at Guelph. What they won't tell you is that while other universities in Ontario have cut their electricity use drastically over the past four years, ours has increased drastically.

Besides breathing in contaminated air, students are paying for the millions more spent on electricity, through their rising tuition fees. Over the last four years there has been a push to do an energy retrofit of the University of Guelph campus. This means a renovation or upgrade of an existing building’s energy system, resulting in reduced utility costs for that building. Campus retrofits are centred on upgrading outdated or energy-inefficient technologies like lighting and heating/cooling systems to reduce wasted energy and water.

During the winter 2004 CSA elections, a referendum question was run by “Guelph Students for Environmental Change” (GSEC), who spearheaded the entire Retrofit campaign, to gauge student opinion on campus sustainability options. An overwhelming 92% of students voted in favour of a campus-wide energy retrofit. This question was run over 2 years ago and nothing has been done since.

12) Tuition is getting pretty high, what are we going to do about that?

We are going to fight, fight, fight for another tuition freeze, for the eventual lowering of tuition and ultimately for its elimination. This takes more than one voice though, so come out and help your CSA in the tuition battle. Write letters to the editor, write articles, phone people who make the decisions around tuition. I will be on the Board of Governors, and I can guarantee students that I will never vote in favour of a tuition increase. I will also be sure to give regular updates regarding budget talks that occur at the BoG. Becky Wallace, the CSA Academic Commissioner is doing lots of work around tuition and can be contacted as well via email ( )

13) Besides tuition, what other big issue do you see affecting campus this year?

There are so many—privatization is a big issue. Tuition fees themselves are a sign of us being integrated into a privatized system. We have to look to other provinces and countries to learn about privatization. We need to learn from other governments' mistakes. Another big issue is the Energy retrofit, mentioned above, and students need to band together to push this…the University of Guelph needs to play its part by conserving money and energy. They know that a retrofit would do just that, so now we need to push the University to take this crucial step! I would encourage EVERY student to go now, and find a copy of the recent movie, “An Inconvenient Truth”. Watch it…you will learn why this is so important!

14) Can I refer to the CSA exec as the “Fantastic Five”?

Ummm, no, sorry.

15) C’mon, please? If you like Jonathan Odumru suggested Fantastic Five and a Half.

Hmmm, I still don’t like it…but I will think about it…

16) How about this one: who would portray you in a movie based on your life and what would that movie be called?

I would hope that Natalie Portman plays me…and I would like the movie to be called “Writing Life”…no explanation.

17) How can I make a difference? I’m only one person.

You can get educated about issues and do your part by educating others. All it takes is one person to spread the word about important issues that affect all of us. One person can start a massive chain reaction.

18) Compelling argument, you’ve swayed me Bre. How can I get started?

Attend free events and encourage your friends to come with you! Educate others by reading, writing, talking to people, and by becoming aware of the problems that we all face. It is so important to realize that the world is in a drastic crisis. The only way that we can even attempt to help problems such as global warming and the impending oil crisis, as well as issues facing university students, is by becoming aware and by dedicating part of our lives to educating others and starting a movement. Find something you love to do, and somehow make it so you can enjoy what you’re doing, while helping others. I love to write, and so I am sure to always write articles that I believe others need to read, articles about important issues. There are many issues to choose from, find what interests you the most and dedicate your time and energy to it!

19) Where do I find you if I need you?

I am in the University Centre and can be asked for in room 274. My extension is 54407 and my email address is Feel free to contact me anytime!

20) Even at 3am on a Wednesday night?

That depends on how much work I have to do! But it’s worth a try…though I am often grouchy/groggy/frustrated when I am still doing work at 3am, so you might want to leave our communications to occur between 10am and 10pm…just to be safe.

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