SAMU Executive Committee candidates: Vice-President Student Life

by | Mar 13, 2023 | Campus, Education | 0 comments

Voting for the SAMU’s new executive committee opens on March 14 and runs until March 16. This year, two candidates are running for the vice president student life position: Cierra Jacobs and Inder Singh. 

Here are the platform highlights and key goals that both candidates have, if elected. Answers have been edited for length and clarity. 

Cierra Jacobs, vice president student life candidate: 

Why did you decide to run for the VP Student Life position on the Executive Committee?

Being involved in the Students’ Council has ignited my passion for getting students involved within SAMU. I know there are many beneficial services, programs, and events that increase campus morale, and I want to broaden that engagement. 

Also, given my psychology major, I feel the VPSL role is such a great experience that relates to where I want to take my career. Getting involved with the student experience by hearing concerns and building trusting connections will create transferable career skills and benefit the students of MacEwan in their university experience. I believe I can learn a lot and fulfill the role to the best of my ability.

What are the key elements of your platform?

First, as the only female candidate, I aim to represent female voices in politics by amplifying concerns like sexual violence on campus. I also aim to extend this representation in governance to all marginalized student voices by amplifying concerns with racism and discrimination. My plan is to be actively present in events like Anti-Racism week and see how SAMU’s current events can become more inclusive. 

My second priority is that I want to encourage more students to utilize the benefits SAMU has to offer by increasing the promotion for services and programs like The Pantry, Peer Support, Student Groups, and The Breakfast Club. I hope to increase the percentage of use by using transparency to inform students that their SAMU fees are used for these programs, and that everyone is welcome to access them. 

My final platform goal is to update the Student Handbook. A large percentage of the MacEwan population is first-generation learners. MacEwan has so many supports available for navigating the experience, so much that it may be difficult to know where to look first. I think it will be beneficial for the Student Handbook to have a “New Learner Guide” that streamlines where to go for what support, removing the stress and promoting a more enjoyable new student experience.

How will you support students in your position?

Being involved in Students’ Council, multiple committees, and student groups within SAMU, I have had experience with concerns students have during their undergrad education. From the current affordability crisis to the worsening mental health epidemic, I believe I can help students access the supports they need within SAMU, MacEwan, and off campus. I’m looking forward to learning more specific ways I can support students in the moment and tackle issues head on through strategic planning and the VPSL role. 

My passion for psychology lends an empathic approach, and since I’ve been a student at MacEwan for four years, I can relate to the student experience. I see these experiences as valuable assets to my ability to understand students and their experience from a relational, analytical, and empathetic approach.

What goals do you wish to accomplish on the Executive Committee?

I aim to update the Student Handbook, streamline communication for all campus events, host monthly advocacy events to promote SAMU programs and services, and build a trusting relationship with all students so I can represent real, current student issues in governance. 

What are some issues you feel passionately about tackling?

I feel that student representation and engagement are huge barriers we are currently seeing. I believe that if I can work alongside the newly elected EC team to actively engage students within SAMU, we can present a better understanding for where student’s money is going, what we do for the student voice and what students can get out of SAMU. If more students feel empowered to be engaged with myself and the team, a better relationship can be upheld and we can empower marginalized students to be involved or trust that we will represent them in this climate.

Why is it important that students vote in the election?

All students at MacEwan have a chance in this election to voice their concerns and support the change they wish to see. 

I welcome questions and concerns students may have regarding my platform, about EC, or anything else on their mind. I am a student too, along with my fellow candidates, and I hope every student at MacEwan knows that we rely on their vote and their feedback to better the whole student experience.

Inder Singh, vice president student life candidate: 

Why did you decide to run for the VP Student Life position on the Executive Committee?

As cliché as it might sound, I’m passionate about running as VP Student Life because I want to make a significant difference on campus, and I am confident that I can do so. I fell in love with student engagement through my position at SAMU as the Wellbeing Assistant, where I am privileged to interact and engage with thousands of students from all over campus. As an employee, I have learned that we all have different needs and interests as students, and I want to support and advocate for everyone on campus, regardless of their background. One of the biggest challenges on campus is ensuring that all students know the kinds of programs and services offered to them. We have far too many barriers on campus that prevent students from receiving this information. Using everything I have learned throughout my degree, from being a SAMU and MacEwan employee, volunteer, and student researcher, I am confident we can change this.

What are the key elements of your platform? 

My platform includes implementing effective methods to increase student engagement, creating a campus community full of inclusivity for all students regardless of their background or characteristics, and strategizing and promoting new ways of improving the success of program and service promotion on campus to increase resource awareness and accessibility for all. These are my main goals because these are some of the most significant challenges all students face on campus. I am confident that I know what needs to be done to fix this, and I want to put it into practice as the VP Student life to ensure that students receive the respect they deserve.

How will you support students in your position? 

I will support students by talking to them and letting them know that they are being represented and heard by their executive committee. SAMU or MacEwan needs more direct engagement with students on campus. At times, it can cause students to feel unsupported or alienated. I want students to know we care deeply for them because we do. Aside from direct communication, I also plan to create effective channels between staff, faculty, and students to ensure that staff and faculty know student needs and the different things offered on campus. Since professors are often a student’s first point of contact, they should be aware of everything provided to tell their students, instead of relying on the chance that students can see a random TV screen or poster somewhere around campus. Of course, as VP Student Life, I would not be doing any of this alone, so I plan to work heavily with SAMU’s programs and services, other executive members, and external Edmonton services to ensure that this will become a reality.

What goals do you wish to accomplish on the Executive Committee?

As VP Student Life, I want to monitor and increase student satisfaction to better understand if students are satisfied with the programs and services offered on campus. Some of our events and services may have low engagement because some students don’t receive a benefit. The only way we could find out if this is true is if we directly communicate with students, which I will do as VP Student Life. 

I also feel that more collaboration between SAMU and MacEwan programs needs to be done. Perhaps coming from my event-planning brain, there is a lot of lost energy and opportunity on campus because SAMU and MacEwan’s events are primarily separate. Instead of playing tug of war, we should put our heads together to optimize the student life experience. 

This year’s candidates, including myself, all come from very different backgrounds relative to one another, which is essential because no student is like another. We all have unique insights and perspectives that, if combined, could lead to some incredible things happening in SAMU and MacEwan. 

Additionally, as VP Student Life, providing the executive committee with meaningful perspectives from other students across campus would aid in our decision-making process to ensure that the executive committee can best advocate for student needs.

What are some issues you feel passionately about tackling?

I will always preach about student engagement for the VP Student Life position. Unfortunately, many students are unaware of the incredible programs and services offered on campus, including Peer Support, The Pantry, kihêw waciston, OSVPER, and the list goes on. A world where every student precisely knows which service is required for a specific need would be beautiful, which is what I am trying to accomplish. 

Aside from VP Student Life, something else I am deeply passionate about is empowerment. I feel that we can all reach our true potential through self-actualization, and it is a shame that barriers prevent people from achieving this. However, a substantial barrier to self-actualization is lacking a sense of community to support your goals. Creating a sense of community can fix many issues on campus and in the world overall, and we should all strive to take one step at a time to achieve this. Moreover, a community where everyone is included together, regardless of background or characteristics, is something we need to ensure so everyone is empowered to take action and succeed.

Why is it important that students vote in the election?

Students should be aware of who they elect to make decisions on their behalf. The executive committee members act as the liaison between SAMU, MacEwan, and the students, and because of this, they make decisions directly impacting all students on campus. From tuition increases to available supports and resources, students have a direct role in selecting who will act on these decisions. Voting in the election means we can choose who should represent us and who we feel will help us live a better future in the upcoming years of our programs. 

So please, if you’re reading this, I would greatly appreciate you sharing your voice by voting!

Mya Colwell

The Griff


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