Meaghan Hourigan

Monday, January 1, 2007

Why are you running?

In my four years at university, I have worked with and seen CSA administrations that have been innovative in their ideas and supportive of student concerns. Unfortunately, I have also witnessed CSA leadership that has been invisible, uninspired, and alienating. I want to bring a fresh perspective to the CSA; one that is free from partisan politics and truly supports the interests of the student body.

What are your priorities for next year?

I firmly believe that extending my education beyond the classroom and participating in extracurricular activities has been the most important and fulfilling part of my university experience. I want to spend my time as Communications Commissioner encouraging other students to get excited about campus involvement, and I will fight for a way to get student’s participation in extracurricular activities formally recognized by the university.
One of the best ways to increase enthusiasm is to make sure that the university is truly connected to students. I will ensure that the CSA remains dedicated to student concerns and is the most visible and active connection students have to the campus community.

Who is your daddy and what does he do?

I’m my own sugar mama, but thanks for asking!

What’s the best thing to ever happen to you at Guelph?

One of the best things that I’ve experienced has been the opportunity to participate in a semester exchange; in Winter 2006, I studied at Lund University in Sweden. Going abroad allowed me to gain a fresh perspective on campus life and a newfound respect for Guelph’s diverse atmosphere. I am fortunate to have been given the chance to view our university from both outside and inside standpoints, and I feel that this advantage would serve me well in the Communications portfolio.

What innovative ideas do you have to communicate what the CSA does?

I believe the best way to peak students’ interest and awareness in the CSA is to start the year off right and have the CSA be an increased presence during orientation week. I want us to program fun, diverse activities and work in conjunction with other university groups so that students are aware of the CSA and its services from the moment they arrive on-campus.

I also think that the CSA needs to take more advantage of burgeoning online communication technologies like Facebook which many students - especially those in first and second year - use daily.

What creative strengths would you bring to this position?

In my extra-curricular involvement I have gained extensive experience in forging relationships with, and making connections between university organizations. I have been a Peer Helper for 3 years, a former VP Academic of the CSAHS Student Alliance, an executive of the International Development Society and a Public Relations Office for Interhall Council during my time in residence. These positions have given me a wide range of skills, from event planning, to promotions, to public speaking, to liaison work and more.
Also, I’m miraculously able to survive for weeks on Ramen noodles and almost no sleep – very handy for those crunch times!

What do you feel is the most important message that the CSA Communications Commissioner should be getting across to students and the community?

The CSA needs to communicate to students that it is a positive and supportive voice for their concerns. It needs to go beyond just identifying student interests; it is essential to follow-up with action.

More importantly, the CSA needs to operate in a collaborative fashion; nothing is gained by being divisive and isolated. Students and the campus community should be receiving a message that the CSA is an open-minded and non-partisan organization that doesn’t engage in petty politics or backroom decisions.

What CSA services do you feel need more exposure, and how do you plan to accomplish this?

The CSA offers many essential services to students, but I think the ones that often get overlooked the most are its most simple: affordable alternatives to everyday services, such as ink cartridge refills, photocopying, vending machines, and eco-friendly lightbulbs.

More than being passing mention in a planner or handbook, these services deserve a full advertising campaign so students – often strapped for cash or in debt – can become aware that the CSA is more than just the recipient of their fees; it can put some of that money right back into their pockets.

Speaking of communicating, have you ever painted the cannon and what did it say?

I am a proud repeat cannon painter! I’ve painted it for Peer Helper recruitment and as part of a residence team.

Anything else that you wanted to add?

As I wait to graduate and look back on my years at Guelph, I’ve come to realize that the connections I’ve made with other students have shaped my best memories here. Let me make next year, a year of connection for the CSA. Let me make next year, a year when you can identify with your student representation. Let me make next year, a year when your voice is not just heard, but listened to.

I support student rights and interests. I support collaboration and interaction. And, I support education that goes beyond the classroom. If you’re looking for student representation that supports your interests and turns them into action, vote for me in the CSA Elections!

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