Monday, December 11, 2017

Policy changers and government lobbiers: Getting to know the newly elected Camosun College Student Society representatives

May 11, 2016 by Pascale Archibald, student editor

Lobbying government to create change that impacts students; working with Camosun to change policy that impacts students; throwing parties that… impact students? Sure, sounds good: the Camosun College Student Society (CCSS) does all of that and more, and they do it with the help of elected student representatives.

The CCSS recently held their 2016 student elections. Among those elected this round were student representatives to sit on the Camosun College Education Council and Board of Governors. Zachary Snow, Sukhdeep Kaur, and Emara Angus are now on the Education Council; Meagan Greentree is now representing students on the Board of Governors.

That’s not to mention student reps in positions as varied as Financial Executive, Women’s Director, and Students with Disabilities Director. And there’s more; read on to get to know some of your recently elected CCSS student reps. Find out who likes the outdoors, who’s returning to their position feeling more confident than ever, and who loves their sweatpants.

Chris Marks – Financial Executive

Where did you grow up?

Vancouver Island, mostly along the north island. Then I spent lots of time up the coast, commercial fishing on vessels. I’ve been in Victoria for about 10 years.

What are you studying at Camosun and how long have you been here?

I’ve been here over six years, working on a business degree, mainly at Interurban but sometimes at Lansdowne.

What was the motivation behind running in the student elections?

I’ve been running in the student elections since I started at school, and it’s been good. It’s been nice to learn about what the student society does and what the college does, and it’s a good way to give back and just keep stuff going. When I’m involved in an experience, I like to immerse myself as much as possible.

Do you have any ideas about what you would like to do in the Financial Executive position?

In the time I’ve known the student society we’ve been collecting money for a building fund, but we don’t really have enough yet to do the building. Buildings are expensive and we would probably have to build two eventually at each campus, so we are nowhere near there yet, although we have over $2 million in the fund. So the student society is in an extremely strong financial position, courtesy of 25 years or so of existence and careful management. I am also advocating giving back to students, because that is where that money and those resources came from. This year at Camfest we had some food trucks, which were a bit of an expense, but I think it went over well; I’ve always voted in favour of giving back to students as much as possible. Like I said, the student society is in a strong position, but they have maybe not spent as much money as they have taken in every year. That’s good, but now we have hundreds of thousands of dollars, which sounds like a lot, but it’s not in certain circumstances. Rather than socking it away, I’m more about just giving it back to students and programs.

What do you do for fun?

I play with fire. Next week I am taking a flame effects workshop for working with liquid propane and stuff for making flame proofers and fire art. I’m also a licenced pyrotechnician.

Sarah Lindsay – Interurban Executive

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Scotland and then I moved around the States for five years or so; I’ve been in Victoria for almost 15 years.

What are you studying at Camosun and how long have you been here?

I’m in the Bachelor of Business and Administration program for the accounting major. I officially started in the fall of 2013. I did a year of random courses before that and took an Accounting 110 course and I was like, “I love this, this is great, I will be an accountant!” Before that I did a welding certificate straight out of high school, and then I realized it was actually really dangerous.

What was the motivation behind running in the student elections?

I’ve always wanted to be involved in my school community. I’m in the degree program; I’m going to be here for a while. I want to feel attached to my school, I’m not good enough to play on any of the sports teams, and I’ve always wanted to be involved with building community on campus.

Do you have any ideas about what you would like to do in the Interurban Executive position?

I want to promote the clubs program, and I want to have on-campus events. I want to build more awareness around the student society because I feel like there is a disconnect between us and the general student body and people don’t know we exist, or what services we have to offer, and so I’m hoping to build a newsletter via email. I want there to be more awareness of what we have to offer so that people can take full advantage of what we provide.

What do you do for fun?

I watch a lot of TV. Just lots of happy, comedy shows; nothing that exercises my brain. I also like to hang out with my friends, and I love my sweatpants.

Rachael Grant – External Executive

Where did you grow up?

I moved here when I was nine. I’m from Ontario, but I’ve mostly grown up here in Victoria. We moved around a lot; I was born in St. Catharines, but I lived in Ottawa, I lived in Hamilton, just all over the place in southern Ontario. When we were growing up my family just moved a lot, just within the same area; we are just nomadic for no reason. Victoria is mostly what I know. It can be a really common story; a lot of people here are from Ontario.

What are you studying at Camosun and how long have you been here?

I’m studying in the Community, Family and Child Studies program. I started here at Camosun when I was still in high school, doing a dual credit course that was available; that was a really cool introduction to Camosun while still in high school. And I have been here on and off since fall of 2008, taking breaks now and then, doing part-time study, doing full-time study, depending on health and work and other factors. So I’ve been around for a while, but not always as a constant.

What was the motivation behind running in the student elections?

I think a big part of it is that I’ve done a term as External Executive before; there is a really steep learning curve involved in the position, and the last time I did the term it kind of felt like I was learning how to do it as I did it. The term was a year long. When I had two months left of the term, I felt like I was doing really well and knew what I needed to know to do the job to the best of my ability without being too stressed out about it or trying to learn skills as I was applying them. What I wanted to do was do a full term where I was just in my element and knew exactly what I was doing, so I’m really excited to do a term where I already have those skill sets developed.

Do you have any ideas about what you would like to do in the External Executive position?

Oh, totally. A big part of the position is advocacy, so I would like to really look at how the communication between the general student body and the student society can be strengthened and use feedback from students as to what issues they see on campus and off and really applying that to tangible advocacy and campaign work; really strengthening that student connection and applying it to some quality campaign work. We hear a lot about students not knowing that the student society exists, or they don’t know much about what they should access with the student society. We do need to look more thoroughly at how that gap could be connected a little better. So that’s kind of a broad-scope intention for the upcoming term for me.

What do you do for fun?

I’m a very artistic person, so anything that gives me a bit of an artistic outlet I definitely love. Right now I paint a lot and I love photography, I love to write. Just anything artsy, I just go for it. I love creating, so that is kind of what I do for fun right now.

Melanie Winter – Women’s Director 

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Brookfield, Newfoundland. I came to Victoria in 2013 to work as a dental assistant; once I got here and realized what a college and university community it was, I started feeling like I was missing out on the experience. My dentist at the time said, “You would be good in business,” so I went to school for business.

What are you studying at Camosun and how long have you been here?

I’ve been here since January 2013, and I’m doing my Bachelor of Business Administration in human resources.

What was the motivation behind running in the student elections?

I took a huge interest in mental health and then I realized that the school… I don’t want to say that they lacked it, but I feel there wasn’t lots of awareness. I wanted to get involved in the student society to get more student involvement, engagement, and awareness. Then I saw there was a Women’s Director, and I thought that’s a powerful position to be a part of. I want to be a part of community and school culture, and to be able to bring awareness.

Do you have any ideas about what you would like to do in the Women’s Director position?

I would really like to like get more involvement from students. We don’t have an on-campus culture the way I think we could, because we don’t have residences. It would be nice to really get people involved in trying new things for their well-being.

What do you do for fun?

I like going out and exploring the island, whether it’s hiking or day trips. I work for a non-profit and so I get to go out into the community and be involved in all these different activities. I like that because my job is a lot of serious stuff but also a lot of play.

Kimberly Banfield – Students with Disabilities Director

Where did you grow up?

I grew up here in Victoria; I’ve lived here my whole life.

What are you studying at Camosun and how long have you been here?

This is my third year at Camosun, if you don’t count all the semesters I had to drop because I was sick; I’m in the Applied Chemistry and Biotechnology program.

What was the motivation behind running in the student elections?

I’ve been on the board for about 18 months. I was always involved in a lot of school clubs in high school, middle school, and, apparently, elementary school—I just found a bunch of certificates in leadership skills from fourth grade. So I like being involved and I like putting on the events; I like just trying to make the school more fun for other students. Because we have such a small school, sometimes it’s hard to get those events going and bring attention to issues, but we’ve actually made such a big impact on student life over the last 18 months; it’s pretty incredible.

Do you have any ideas about what you would like to do in the Students with Disabilities position?

The Disability Resource Centre is opening a new place, so that will be fun and hopefully bring awareness that mental health is important. Not a lot of students recognize when they are falling apart, or breaking down, or when they are crying in the bathroom. I mean, go to the Nursing [department] floor—any time around exams there’s always someone crying, and people need to recognize that that is where taking care of your mental health comes in. Also, to try to stop the stigma around disabilities—I hate that word—is something really near and dear to my heart. They are not disabilities; they are different abilities, diverse abilities, and extra challenges. I think it’s really important to give students information so if they do find themselves in that position, they can get the help they need. A surprising number of students don’t know that we have counsellors at the school—like, a shocking number. It breaks my heart because I see friends that are close to me going through school and not making it because they can’t cope emotionally or otherwise, so they just drop out, and then they go to see a counsellor that they are paying. Meanwhile, at Camosun, they had no idea that they had access to counsellors that whole time, and by then it was too late.

What do you do for fun?

I love kayaking, I used to horseback ride, and I love painting and singing.

Anthony Pica – Pride Director

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a town called Orillia in Ontario. It’s just north of Barrie, and it’s a small town; when I was growing up there, there were about 30,000 people. It was this really cute town. Me and my whole family moved to British Columbia about four years ago, then I moved to Vancouver Island.

What are you studying at Camosun and how long have you been here?

I’ve been at Camosun since September [2015], and I’m in the Associate of Science degree program. I took pre-med because I want to pursue it to be a doctor but who knows where that’s going to go; it could change at any time, really. I’m going to UBC after I’m done at Camosun; I’m going to be taking a program called Natural Resource Conservation, and my major is going to be in global perspectives. I really want to save the world.

What was the motivation behind running in the student elections?

I thought it would be great to get involved with the school, get to know what’s going on, and have a say in the matter. I thought it would just be a great idea to get to know people and for people to know who I am. I thought it would just be good community building.

Do you have any ideas about what you would like to do in the Pride Director position?

To be honest, I don’t. What I thought about it was basically just helping those in need or giving comfort to those who may be just coming out, or maybe giving them different perspectives. I’ve thought of the position more of like a support team, and I am really into that. My mom is a spiritual counsellor, so I kind of took after her with the whole counselling thing. I am really good at listening—it’s basically my best trait—but I’m also good at giving advice; at least I think I am. I think the ideas will come as I get more comfortable with the position and see what I’m allowed to do and what I’m not allowed to do.

What do you do for fun?

Right now, I’m camping; that is what I do for fun. I also love to hike and bike, and kayaking is probably my favourite water sport. I go to the gym, usually—if it’s not exam week—every day, Monday through Friday. I love being in shape and fit. And hanging out with friends. And, honestly, I do love school, so I love being in school as well. School is really my grounding spot on Earth.

Shauna Nedeler – Sustainability Director

Where did you grow up?

I’ve lived here all my life.

What are you studying at Camosun and how long have you been here?

I just started this year, and I am doing the pre-medicine program; it’s a mix of biology, chemistry, that kind of thing.

What was the motivation behind running in the student elections?

Through high school I became really into the environment, and I’ve always had a pretty environmental family; I’ve always had to bike to school and that kind of thing. So I just wanted to have an opportunity to make a change and have some sort of position where I could organize events for the school and make people aware and participate in helping the environment.

Do you have any ideas about what you would like to do in the Sustainability Director position?

I would like to start doing beach clean-ups. It’s amazing how much junk you find at the beach. I would also like to do a weekly bake sale for a non-profit. I participated in the Ready, Set, Solve program this year, so I would love to do that again. It was quite a challenge, but it was definitely a rewarding experience I think a lot of people would enjoy. Maybe try to put on a monthly event; maybe try to have a documentary club about some sort of environmental cause, sort of like a book club, but for environmental stuff. We could have a guest speaker come in for some topic around the environment, sort of a fun get-together, a chat. Give everyone a chance to show their opinions.

What do you do for fun?

I’m a gym person. I’m always at the Camosun gym; people kind of know me from that. Cooking, baking. I always enjoy a good book or a TV show. I’m getting back into Game of Thrones, but I’m trying not to get too addicted because I have spring classes and I don’t want to be watching TV every night.

Wyatt Matthew – Lansdowne Director

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Victoria in Gordon Head.

What are you studying at Camosun and how long have you been here?

I am a University Transfer student, but all of my focus has been in business. This past year I have been studying business and general studies.

What was the motivation behind running in the student elections?

I wanted to be able to have a voice within the school board and to make sure that I did in fact bring any kind of positive change that I possibly could to the student society.

Do you have any ideas about what you would like to do in the Lansdowne Director position?

The first thing that I primarily wanted to take a look at is the autonomy that the student society clubs have. I am a big part of Camosun’s DECA business club right now, and I’ve noticed that that club—along with, very possibly, all the other ones—could use more of a voice within the student society board.

What do you do for fun?

I love anything to do with the outdoors, so I love climbing, biking, swimming, hiking, travelling… anything to do with the outdoors, I am absolutely in love with.

To find out more about your student society, head to camosunstudent.org.

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