Meet your CSA Election candidates: Shaun Karey-McKenna

Monday, March 7, 2011


Name: Shaun Karey-McKenna

Running for: External Affairs Commissioner


1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Shaun Karey-McKenna, and I am a 4th year Math student.  In the past 10 years I have been a Lifeguard, a swim instructor, a manager at a pizza parlour, a bus boy, a server, a baker, a research assistant, a paper boy, a damp proofer, and a bottle collector.  I have worked jobs where 14 hour days were the norm, and I have worked jobs where I would be lucky to have an hour and a half shift.  I have volunteered heavily with and through the boy scouts of Canada, learning through experience to Share, to Do My Best, to Be Prepared, to Always face a challenge, and what service truly means.

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

I have a vision for what the CSA can be.  In my time at Guelph the CSA has not been as effective as it could it, nor has it been held to an acceptable level of accountability.  I want to change the CSA into an effective voice for students.  The Executive level is the best place to spearhead this change.

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

I am skilled problem solver.  I consider a problem from all angles until I can find an elegant solution for it.  A large part of this position is dealing with MP’s and MPP’s.  I have volunteered for a number of election campaigns, since before I was old enough to vote, and so have experience dealing with politicians.  I have emailed and spoken with both Liz Sandals and Frank Valeriote on issues that I felt were not being addressed.  Though disagreeing on a number of topics, I was able to maintain a respectful discourse.  The ability to get along with people you disagree with is extremely important for the External Affairs Commissioner, and it is one that I have.

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

I have read the policies and bylaws of the CSA very thoroughly, and spoken at length with many commissioners, both past and present.  I am also the Vice Chair of the University Centre Board, and last year I was the Chair of the Finance Subcommittee of the same board.  While I do not have a great deal of personal experiences with the machinations of the CSA, I consider this an asset.  My goals are to change the way the CSA functions, and as an outsider, I will not attempt to cling to an outdated way of working, simply for traditions sake

5. What goals do you have for your term?

My immediate goal for my term will be to bring the upcoming provincial election to Guelph students, through having all candidates meetings on campus, polling locations on campus, and making sure that all of the candidates are aware of the major student issues.  My long term goals will be a major restructuring of the CSA.  A hierarchy will provide accountability, and allow for a clear direction.  By giving each executive a staff to work with, it will ensure that commissioners are able to execute the vision that they are elected for. The position of External Affairs Commissioner is ideally suited for this role, as it is a position largely lacking a portfolio, since leaving the CFS.

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

First of all, I will still be a student while serving as Commissioner.  I don’t believe it is possible to empathise fully with students unless you are in the same boat, worrying about assignments, midterms, and finals.  I will also promptly answer all emails.  It is unacceptable to take more than a week to respond to a simple email inquiry.  Students will have access to my phone number, so they may text or call me if there is an urgent matter I need to deal with, and of course, I will hold regular drop in office hours.

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

The strength of the CSA is in the number of students it represents.  There are almost 20 thousand undergraduate students here at Guelph, and when passionate about an issue they will not be silenced.  For proof just look at what happened with the CFS.  They attempted to silence us, and our response was overwhelming.

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

If you are unhappy with the way the CSA is being run, if you feel that it is ineffectual, and that the Commissioners are unaccountable.  If you would like to see a major overhaul of the current system, vote for me.  I will change the CSA into something that efficiently represents the interests of all students.

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