Meet Your New CSA Executives

Friday, February 13, 2015


Written by Caroline Elworthy


The race concluded this past Friday and the new CSA Excretive Council for the 2015-2016 has been solidified. These five members will actively affect the direction that your student union will head in, and will work tirelessly to uphold Guelph’s commitment to accessible education for all.

The campaigning period lasted a gruelling four days, where candidates were busy dawn to dusk, engaging students, giving class talks, visiting residences and generally being as extroverted, involved and excited about voting as possible

“During campaign week I slept for about three hours per night because there was so much to do”, says Asia Barclay the newly elected Commissioner of External Affairs.

“Campaigning was something I had never experienced before and felt outside of my comfort zone for most of it.  It can be tough talking to so many people and feeling you have to sell yourself in such a limited amount of time” Matthew Campbell, the newly elected Human Resources and operations Commissioner says.  

“It was definitely worth it” Campbell concludes.

“A flood of encouragement came in from so many people—professors, peers, friends, family, employers, TAs, even strangers—that it all felt worth it even if I didn’t win the election. I learned that I am extremely resilient and that I have genuine support from more people than I’d ever imagined” Barclay says of her campaigning experience.

It is no secret that voter turnout is a problem with student populations across Canada. In order for the CSA Elections to be considered valid, the number of voters needed to reach quorum, meaning that the number of votes cast accurately represented the undergraduate student population.

And so, for the upcoming 2015-2016 school year, your undergraduate voice will be represented by: Peter Miller as Academic and University Affairs Commissioner, Sonia Chwalek as Communications and Corporate Affairs Commissioner, Asia Barclay as External Affairs Commissioner, Matthew Campbell as Human Resources & Operations Commissioner and Scarlett Raczycki as Local Affairs Commissioner.

However, these important sounding titles sound a lot more complicated and confusing then they actually are. Let’s  break down these titles into how they directly affect your undergraduate experience.

Academic and University Affairs Commissioner; the primary job in this position is to protect your rights as a student, advocating for lower tuition rates and sitting on a variety of university decision-making boards to input students concerns and needs.

Communications and Corporate Affiars Commissioner: Within this position, the main responsibility is to act as the main communicator between the student body and the CSA, letting students know how to get involved within their union and campus.

External Affairs Commissioner; This position is all about defending the undergraduate student rights at a provincial and federal level, facilitating campus campaigns and building relationships with various advocacy groups to promote social justice on campus.

Human Resources & Operations Commissioner; The individual within this position is primarly concerned with the everyday functions of the CSA, ensuring that the union is running as smoothly and efficiently as possible, including creating a clear and transparent budget for student to refer to.

Local Affairs Commissioner: This position is concerned primarily with anything involving or directly relating to the community of Guelph. The indivudal within this position acts as a liason between the city and the university, looking for ways for students to become more connected while monitoring issues such as student bus passes, municipal elections and politics and various housing issues.

The various positions within the CSA’s Executive staff are all evidently distinctive, yet all contain the similar values of providing an exceptional undergraduate student union devoted to protecting student rights and integrity.

            Within the 2015-2016 CSA Executive Staff, there are two returning members, Peter Miller and Sonia Chwalek and three newly elected members that will get their first taste of what its like to directly work to defend students right at a municipal and provincial level.

“It was really awesome to be able to connect with so many students, it felt really empowering to be confident in your platform, and then use that confidence to kind of force yourself out of your comfort zone” says Scarlett Racycki, the newly elected Local Affair Commissioner.

“I found myself speaking to so many people I would normally be intimidated to approach, but it paid off” Racyski admits.

The newly elected Executives bring to the CSA a strong background of social justice and student involvement, and a passion for U of G. When asked what they are most excited to begin working on, the Executives were bursting with ideas.

“I’m eager to begin working to engage our campus community in the upcoming federal election and strengthen our presence on that level” says Barclay, the new External Affairs Commissioner

“I’m looking forward to working on our CSA campaigns for equity and justice. I’m excited to meet and collaborate with students to tackle current issues that have surfaced on local and global scales” Barclay finishes

“From the beginning of elections I've been ecstatic about everyone who was running, so I can't wait to be working with such wonderful people. I'm super excited to work with local businesses to foster a stronger, more accessible relationship between the students and the city, and I'm also really ready to throw everything I have behind the Pay More Get Less campaign to fight the unjust education system we have been so quietly accepting” says Raczycki of her plans for next year’s academic term.

“My platform was to increase funding for CSA campaigns and clubs, further promote mental health/safety and advocate for more student controlled space and I hope to address all of these issues during my term” says Campbell, the newly elected Human Resources and operations Commissioner.

“Campaigning really messes with you” says Raczycki

“There was a constant nagging feeling of "you could do more," like when you were walking, you could have been running, while doing a class talk, you were missing so many other class talks.. All of the candidates worked hard.

“ I'm just so pleased to know so many students are passionate about making this student body happy, safe, and engaged’ Raczycki concludes.


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