Over the past two years, I have been a representative on Science Society. As a first-year representative, I voiced first-year students’ concerns and suggested several events and initiatives to continue to build a strong sense of community during a challenging time. These included leading the organization of Speed Friending, launching the First Year SciSoc Study Squad, creating the Science Through Adversity Award, suggesting doing Professor Spotlights on Instagram and hosting a Research Week. This past Fall as a Biology Department Representative, I spearheaded the creation of an open letter to the Faculty of Science regarding Winter 2022 course delivery formats with a team of fellow representatives. This letter brought much-needed attention to students’ perspectives on the changes. Over 295 students signed the letter which was presented to the Executive Council of the Faculty of Science and Senate Student Caucus. Before my involvement in student government at the university level, I was a Student Trustee at the GECDSB. There I represented 36,000 students, chaired student senate meetings and successfully passed a motion for providing menstrual hygiene products freely in all primary and secondary school washrooms. This motion received unanimous support and was a step towards improving equity in education within the school board. I am incredibly passionate about creating fair and equitable policies. I am also hardworking and willing to voice student concerns even if it feels uncomfortable to do so. My experiences clearly demonstrate this. A vote for me is a vote for you.
The pandemic has radically changed the way we’ve been learning for the past 2 years. It has changed the way we connect with each other, access services and utilize our professors. Most of all the pandemic has exposed the wide variety of personal and institutional circumstances that intersect to influence student success. I understand that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to any problem and will advocate for academic policies that are reflective of our diversity. Multiple paths to learning material should be valid, our education should be accessible to every student and our curriculum should be representative and inclusive of our diversity. A key aspect of representing students’ voices is being visible and subsequently accessible to students. To increase awareness about Senate, I would recommend adding a section regarding academic advocacy to the UWSA website so any student who is struggling with an academic concern can easily find information regarding their options and seamlessly access resources. Additionally, I would re-launch the “Coffee with a Student Senator” program. While meeting minutes and agendas are available for Senate meetings, most students do not have the time to sit and comb through the minutes to decipher what happened. Let’s be real, for most of us, Senate business is a little too far removed from our daily lives to go and seek out information about it. As a link between students and Senate, I will propose releasing monthly “Senate Recaps” on social media platforms to strengthen the connection between students and Senate.
Respect, communication and trust are the foundations of any relationship. To be effective as an organization it is important to have healthy internal relationships and a strong relationship with the members you serve. To build positive work relationships within the UWSA Board and UWindsor administration, I commit to treating my colleagues with respect even when we have opposing ideas. I will work towards increasing transparency within the UWSA and Senate to build public trust. Lastly, I will strive to be prompt in communications and easily accessible to any student who has a concern.
The UWSA provides representation to students in large-scale university forums, facilitates events to improve the student experience and provides several services to support students mentally, physically, emotionally, socially, and financially. The scale at which the UWSA functions is important in the sense of community our campus has that stretches beyond individual faculties. As with any large organization, the UWSA is not perfect and has room for improvement year to year. I believe in the mission and vision of the UWSA and want to work to better our services and representation of students’ voices – to bring the UWSA closer to upholding its ideals.