Meet your CSA Election candidates: Martin Straathof

Monday, March 7, 2011


Name: Martin Straathof

Running for: External Affairs Commissioner


1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Martin Straathof and I am a 4th year student studying International Development with an area of emphasis on Rural and Agricultural Development.  I have been actively participating in student organizations since my first year and now I am running to be the External Affairs Commissioner for the CSA.

2. Why do you want to represent students on the CSA Board of Directors?

I have experience and a commitment to representing my fellow students in a number of campus settings where and elected student rep s extremely important.  I fell that the CSA had done an adequate job, however it is my belief that the CSA could still improve.  I will connect more with student groups to ensure their views are being represented.  I will bring a strong voice to student issues by connecting with other organizations that have similar values to Guelph students.  As well I will connect our students to the administration and government organizations on important issues such as tuition, student space and quality of education.

3. What experiences or skills do you have that make you an ideal candidate for your position?

I have been on the Board for the CSA as the CSAHS Student Alliance representative and with that I have learned how the organization operates.  As the CSAHS Student Alliance president for the last two years I have gained an understanding of the importance of student consultation for proper representation.

As a BA student senator I have learned how to work with administration on university issues and engage in the integrated planning and budgetary process.  I will be able to take these skills to the External Affairs position when defending the rights and interests of University of Guelph Students at the federal and provincial levels.

And as a newly elected Board of Governors representative it is my obligation to be engaged with tuition rates for our campus, and it will be my goal to ensure accessible, quality education for you. 

4. Can you outline some experiences that have given you knowledge of CSA policies and the way things are run?

I have sat on the CSA Board of Directors and have learned and worked with the policies and bylaws.  I have also experiences firsthand the inefficiencies of the CSA, and I know what needs to be done to overcome and improve on these.  Students collectively pay over a million dollars to the CSA and I will ensure that there is an efficient and appropriate use of this money.

I have also sat on the Student Help and Advocacy Centre Review Committee and have helped ensure that this new service that students pay for goes back to benefit the student population.

This year I have also recognized that a collaborative approach is required to have a successful executive committee.  My experience as President of the CSAHS Student Alliance has taught m how to work in a team and to keep student issues at the forefront of conversation so that we continue to improve the student experience on campus. 

5. What goals do you have for your term?

First and foremost, in the absence of the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) it will be my goal to find a better way to connect undergraduate students to both the provincial and federal governments.  For instance I have been proactive and already reached out to speak with our MPP, Liz Sandals, about current and upcoming student related issues. 

I will utilize my role on the board of governors to achieve accessible tuition rates and quality education. 

And finally, I also hope to have the CSA executive work efficiently as a team so that we may improve the services the CSA offers.

6. The undergraduate student body is large and diverse; how will you ensure you represent the interests of students?

We are lucky enough to have a variety of student groups representing the diversity of students we have here on campus.  Collaborating and consulting with these various groups, including college governments, student senators, peer helper units, special status groups, athletics and intramurals, Interhall Council and first year students will be the focus of my term.  It will be my promise to never put a personal view over the view of the students I represent. 

6. (a) The External Affairs Commissioner is often expected to network with provincial, national and international organizations, some of which may not be familiar with the CSA. In your opinion, what strengths does the CSA bring to the table when partnering with external organizations?

The CSA has a great opportunity next year in that we are without CFS.  We get to have a fresh start with how we network and connect with local, national and international organization, including federal and provincial governments.  We now have an opportunity to better utilize our political affiliated groups on campus in order to gather a variety of student voices and opinions.  This is extremely beneficial for the CSA and more specifically it will give myself as External Affairs Commissioner a strong and proper voice for students.

7. Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Students require proper student representation in the Central Student Association.  I bring experience and skills through my various leadership roles, where I have proven my commitment to improve the quality of the student experience on campus.  This might seem cliché because every other candidate will tell you the same thing, but this vote is extremely important and I hope that from March 14 – 18 you vote Martin Straathof for your External Affairs Commissioner.  Thank you!

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