The Griff

Students get the opportunity to step into the shoes of an executive

Campus

Students get the opportunity to step into the shoes of an executive

SAMU initiatives make a difference in your life at MacEwan, even if you don’t get involved with the association. ‘Executive for a Day’ is an opportunity for students to see what goes on in the life of executive committee members through observation of their daily activities. Students are given a chance to ask questions and discuss the electoral process with executives at a roundtable discussion.

“Given (that) every student pays their fees and helps to run the association, everyone should get out and vote because it directly affects… the long term experience at MacEwan. It only takes a couple of moments,” President Danika McConnell says on voter turnout in elections.

Through activities like this, SAMU ensures transparency in their work, and emphasizes the student-based aspect of the association. It is a valuable opportunity for students thinking of running in the March election.

Despite SAMU’s contributions to quality of life at MacEwan, not everybody keeps up with the events and objectives undertaken by the association – and fewer consider running for an executive committee role.

McConnell chalks this up to students’ busy schedules, but she encourages everyone to get involved, as at a small institution every vote makes a difference.

“Just consider how little time it takes, and how much impact comes from the vote… there are some really tight races,” she says.

McConnell herself once won an election by a mere twelve votes.

“The basis of what SAMU is all about is enriching the student experience. We represent over 19,000 students, and to say that any one of them are alike would be incorrect. I think one thing that really inspired me to get involved was the opportunity to bring forward a lot of ideas and initiatives, and try to better the experience for as many students as possible,” she says.

The workload associated with these roles is significant, requiring executives to take no more than one class per semester to accommodate their eight-hour — or longer — workdays. A role on the executive committee may seem daunting; however, such roles can be an asset to one’s university experience, providing exposure to a professional setting as well as boosting resumes.

“An appreciation for diversity and different voices (is necessary)… the best leadership quality I ever get to see in others is people’s capacity to challenge one another,” McConnell says on the topic of success in the executive committee.

“The best thing you can do as a leader is consult and collaborate. It’s all about listening, and trying to understand (the needs of students).”

As such, communication within the committee and with the greater student body is fundamental to SAMU operations. Volunteers at every level help make SAMU initiatives a reality.

“(Volunteers) really are the bloodflow of the association. I think it’s really incredible to see people who are so different in so many ways… be part of an association,” says McConnell.

The executive committee operates on a year-long term, with elections for the five positions held in March.

Campaigning requires dedication, resilience, and most importantly, discussion with students on what they envision for the future at MacEwan.

“Just get out there. Social media is fantastic. Your posters can be immaculate, but what’s really going to resonate is talking to students, because it allows for organic conversation,” she says.

“The reason you’re here is to be a student, so talk to the people you care about.”

Campaign platforms must be feasible, so it’s important for candidates to do their homework on SAMU policies and speak to executives.

Students have until Feb. 13 to submit nominations for the executive committee election. Many candidates will be working to make their presence known on campus during the coming weeks, and every individual can contribute to the MacEwan community by learning about candidate platforms and making an informed decision in March.