Exploring the presidential transition period

Photo by Will Huang

The Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union is once again electing a new president and CEO.

The purpose of the Students’ Union president and CEO is to be the voice of the students, as well as give students the tools to attend events, start a club, join a club or use the resources available on and off campus.

The president and CEO of the Students’ Union oversees all of the daily operations, as well as communicates with university staff and community personnel to articulate the students needs above all.

The transition period of a Students’ Union president involves a lot of training and hands on prac-tice. Tyler Van Herzele, current president of the Students’ Union, explained the process of transitioning a new president and his plans on training.

The process begins from the moment the president is elected until they start their role on May 1, giving more or less a three month period to transition.

“Within those three months, a lot has to get done. Last year, I described this role, as I have said, [as being] two sides of the same coin. The president, which is the representative body of the students, and the CEO, being the management side of the Students’ Union [and] dealing with the full-time staff and the student staff — things under that umbrella,” said Van Herzele.

Van Herzele also expanded on his own personal experience as president.

“It is a lot to take on, but it also requires a lot of focus from the president to ensure this can hap-pen. I, myself, was not very easy to transition as I was in a program that had me in a practicum for eight weeks out of the 12 I had to transition.”

It is ultimately up to the current president to transition the newly elected president.

The board of directors, which is elected as well, does not assist in transitioning the newly elected president, although they have a large role in the president-elect’s time at Laurier.

“The board does not transition the president, the board oversees the president. With the election night also comes a new board,” Van Herzele explained.

“On May 1, the president will report all of the operations to the board and the board [will] set the perimeters in which the board can operate under. So our governance structure means the board cannot operate on an operational level but oversee the operations by having the president report to them.”

Van Herzele explained that it is very important for the presidential candidates to develop their vision over the election period.

“I don’t want to influence whoever the president may be. The beauty of student elections is that [if] someone doesn’t like what happened the year before, there is an opportunity for change. What I will do during this transition is work with the new president [and] find out what their goal is and vision.”

Van Herzele also explains that he wants to stick to his visions and goals until the completion of his term. According to him, there are things he wants to complete while transitioning the president-elect.

“It’s in my job description to remain neutral when it comes to everything to do with student elec-tions.”

Van Herzele expanded on the importance the president has in accommodating the president-elect during the transition period. However, it also depends on who the president-elect may be by the end of January and their schedule.

“If they are not on campus, it is still up to me and my team to make sure that them and their team receives the proper transition that they need from the people whom are in the job,” said Van Herzele.

“We need to make it work for those who are coming in.”

Leave a Reply