Monday, January 1, 2007
In volunteering with the CSA Human Rights Office this past year I’ve had the opportunity to participate and initiate coordinating campus events and campaigns. I’m really grateful for these experiences and value how they’ve allowed me to make important connections between the University of Guelph campus community and wider provincial, national, and international issues as well as further developed my skills as an effective organizer. I would like to extend these experiences and skills to engage with Canadian Federation of Students and the University of Guelph student population in order to further the University of Guelph’s vision to be “Canada's leader in creating, transmitting and applying knowledge to improve the social, cultural and economic quality of life of people in Canada and around the world”.
What are your priorities for next year?
With an upcoming provincial election, my first priority as External Commissioner is to ensure that post-secondary education is recognized and engaged with the importance that it merits. I also look forward to collaborating with student unions in Ontario to put pressure on upcoming provincial elections, identifying that students and potential students constitute a major proportion of the vote
- supporting students
- making it easy to get involved and give direction to the CSA
Who would win in a fight: Robocop or Terminator?
This is a really tough question. I’ve been polling people on this all week, and the vast majority seem to think that the Terminator would win. That is, if it was T100, how could Robocop possibly defend himself against liquid metal? Polls suggest that Terminator that Terminator has got this one in the end. He is not only more versatile – using brute strength to turn just about anything into a weapon, whereas Robocop has only a gun- but Terminator was up against a higher level of competition, so he must be able to take on Robocop. I’m going to have to go with the Terminator (also a much more intimidating name). Interestingly, these two have a lot in common as half-human, half-machine programmed for a single purpose.
How will you work to promote educational issues in this fall’s provincial election?
The provincial elections this fall is an important opportunity for voicing the significance of educational issues. The recent and steady rise in tuition fees is a serious barrier to accessible education and is happening while the quality of education is dropping, with less labs, I will actively network and collaborate with other Ontario universities through the Ontario Federation of Students to make political participation in this process accessible to students who are busy being students. In 2003 a tuition freeze was achieved through a strong student voice that demanded a priority on accessible and quality education through petitions, demonstrations, letter writing, and other initiatives. I am committed to being a strong voice for these issues and working my hardest to extend and amplify our rights as students.
If they named a sandwich after you at the Bullring, what would be on it?
It would definitely be a choose-your-own-adventure sandwich, with as much locally-sourced produce and meat as possible, with kosher, vegan, and gluten-free options. On my version of this sandwich adventure I would choose a toasted tomato on whole wheat with a fried egg, salt, pepper and thyme.
What’s your strategy for working with the CFS?
I plan to work with the CFS proactively and collaboratively. Through my training on the OPIRG board of directors, I have valuable training and experience in making decisions in large groups of diverse opinions. This experience has shaped me to be an active listener and an active participant in addressing important issues that effect students. Getting feedback, direction, and input from the student body is important to this process and given the chance, through open forums, short online questionnaires I will do my very best to both communicate my process and take direction from students here at Guelph.
Why are you qualified to represent the U of G on the provincial/national stage?
In my work representing students on the board of directors of the Ontario Public Interest Research Group I have developed important skills. Consensus decision-making and group facilitation experience has furthered my abilities to effectively communicate in a spirit of collaboration, within an anti-oppression framework. Through organizing province-wide speaking tours and large-scale events I have been able to build strong networks of support while maintaining a strong stance on issues that I represent.
Harper, Dion, Layton, Duceppe or May, who would you vote off the island?
How external can you get?
I’ll get so external that there will be no boundaries to my office, but not too external…I’ll maintain a strong connection to what’s happening locally and issues affecting our campus. I’m enthusiastic about creatively applying myself to draw the connections between local and global through events on campus and campaigns that demonstrate the interconnections between students, our human rights, Canada’s responsibility towards human rights, and how we are connected processes beyond our campus community.
Anything else that you wanted to add?
Students have achieved a tuition freeze before. We need to have more dialogue and more open and collaborative discussions that can bring students towards positive action on the issue of accessible education. It’s important to me to draw together the important connections between international and national issues and how they effect us as people living in Guelph and as undergraduate students shaping our direction. This process starts with having a safe and inclusive campus community where political participation is supported by a pro-active and energetic CSA. For more information on who I am, what I’m about, and what I can do for you as CSA External Commissioner visit my website and please feel free to stop me to talk anytime!