‘Encourage their personal growth’
President-elect Muller hopes to increase recognition of GSA services
On Jan. 28, Wilfrid Laurier University’s Graduate Students’ Association announced the acclamation of their new president and CEO, Ian Muller.
Muller was the only candidate put forward for the position.
Although he is acclaimed, Muller said having elections is a value for candidates to bring ideas to the floor.
“I’m confident in the experience that I have with the GSA that I can know I’m aware of where the organization has been in the last couple of years and where we need to go,” said Muller.
Patrick Schertzer, the GSA’s chief returning officer, said the organization is happy to have a full board of directors and a president who have worked previously with the GSA, acclaimed or not.
“I don’t see it as the problem as well. We’re very happy to have full involvement and have great people involved at the same time,” he explained.
Schertzer believes the reason for the acclamation depends on the students interested in working with the GSA. Last year GSA also did not have a campaign period, as Robert Bruce was acclaimed as president.
Muller thinks hiring a president with the help of an elected board of directors could be the solution for the lack of competition in an elected position.
“There’s definitely been some feedback that they could attract more candidates if there was a hiring process rather than an election process for the president, so that’s definitely a conversation that could be worth having,” Muller continued. “I think the possibility of a hiring process could increase more candidates, which would be healthy for the organization.”
Muller’s plans for his new position include better communication between the GSA and undergraduate students. He will be the first GSA president to work under the new structure and will only be required to work 25 hour weeks instead of 35.
“I definitely want to continue to work to make it better known and to provide more outlets for students to become more aware of the things we provide.”
He also wants to implement a strategic planning process from the board of directors that will make the plan shorter, going from five years to two.
“Rather than a president like myself coming in each year with a few big projects that I want to do, you have an engaged board of directors that is interested in strategically planning things over the course of a couple of years,” Muller explained.
This way, the board will be able to make decisions according to the priorities of the GSA more easily and the president can execute their plans on a professional level.
“Hopefully that would then increase the engagement and people will be more interested in becoming a part of the board of directors because there would be a definite connection in their own personal development in terms of participating on a board and having some strategic leadership.”
Muller said his one simple goal would be for Laurier students to recognize what the GSA does and the services they provide on campus.
“Our goal as an organization is to allow [graduate] students to succeed and to complete their degree in anyway that we can help them to do that and encourage their personal growth and academic growth,” said Muller.
Muller’s term will begin on May 1.