Deeming announced as GSA president

Deeming’s knowledge of key partners and her passion for the student experience led her to take on the role

With an unanimous vote, Samantha Deeming was officially announced on February 11 as Wilfrid Laurier University’s president of the Graduate Students’ Association for the 2016-17 academic year.

Deeming began her academic career at Laurier in 2009 as an undergraduate student pursuing a bachelor of science degree.

As an undergraduate student, Deeming was heavily involved in the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union and completed her time as the vice-president of finance and administration.

“It’s a very different student body, but I feel very confident in myself,” said Deeming of taking over as president for GSA.

“I do have a lot of experience at Laurier and I know a lot of the key partners already involved.”

Deeming began her master’s degree in the fall and wasted no time in becoming involved at the graduate level, as she took on the role as professional development coordinator for the GSA.

It was Deeming’s extensive experience at Laurier that encouraged her to run as a presidential candidate.

“I felt that I already had a very good knowledge base, and I felt that I could bring a lot to the position,” she said.

“My passion for the student experience really drove me to want to take on the role.”

Deeming’s win comes at a period of change for the GSA, as they recently approved a two-year pilot project to alter their presidential election process to incorporate hiring procedures.

This new nomination process, which included an interview with a committee formed by the GSA’s board of directors, was implemented in an attempt to both screen potential presidential candidates and increase interest in the position, as it was historically sought by singular candidates.

Despite these efforts, the goal of a multiple candidate race was not achieved, as Deeming was the only candidate to apply for the role this year.

“It’s kind of a shame that there isn’t more interest in a position like it, because there is a lot that you can learn from the president position of the GSA,” Deeming said.

“I would certainly like to see a little more interest in that, but overall I felt like I was a very good candidate, so I wasn’t concerned necessarily about the moving forward of the GSA.”

Deeming plans to approach this role with effectiveness rather than legacy building, as she is realistic about what can be accomplished in a year.

“I think there’s a lot of misconception coming into a role like this saying that you have to accomplish really big things in order to be successful, and I think that there’s a lot of smaller pieces that we could work on right now to better the graduate student experience” she said.

Lastly, Deeming plans to look into funding opportunity programs, such as the faculty of social work.

“I want to look at funding opportunities for programs who don’t necessarily have the funding that other programs have,” she said.

“Starting those difficult conversations I think is the first step, and then being able to actually create an action plan moving forward is really exciting.”

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