LSPIRG still in period of change


Photo by Jess Dik
Photo by Jess Dik

Laurier Students’ Public Interest Research Group has had a year of growth and change and will see more changes in the upcoming months.

Katelyn Murray, administration and development director for LSPIRG, will be leaving the organization upon completion of her one-year contract at the end of April.

She said she isn’t leaving LSPIRG with “any form of distaste” and will be around in the summer months to assist the new hire and the organization.

“It’s all sort of a positive decision for many reasons. I’ll still be around to assist the organization,” she said. “On the LSPIRG level, I think it’s a really good opportunity to give this opportunity to someone else. These jobs, though they can last a couple years, aren’t meant to be forever jobs and are meant to provide opportunities.”

Murray said LSPIRG has hired her replacement, but cannot comment further as contracts have not been signed.

LSPIRG recently restructured many different components of their organization, including their branding. Under three full-time staff members, which include Murray, communications and community director Lakyn Barton and office assistant Taylor Marlow, LSPIRG has been working to make their mark at Laurier.

Barton explained this has been a positive movement for the organization to find their place.

“I think LSPIRG struggled for a bit to have a concrete brand and to really stand out. And now through our marketing and our new brand we’ve established, [people are] recognizing our posters, they’re recognizing our events,” she said.

This brand includes their marketing strategies as well as the direction of the organization in how they approach campaigns. Most notably, Murray and Barton said their consent campaign garnered a lot of attention from the Laurier community.

Murray said the next step is to create a three-to-five year strategic plan and garner more support around the internal policies.

Staffing changes also occurred midway through the year. Allison Leonard, the former communications and community director, was hired in May 2014 but left the organization at the beginning of September. Barton was hired in her place.

“I don’t think [Leonard leaving] put us back,” Murray said. “Everyone makes choices for their personal reasons. If a job isn’t for you, if you have another opportunity, if you want to do something else with your life.”

“Lakyn transitioned in so great and Allie was great transitioning her in and we all work together so well.”

Murray said with only three staff and pushing the new foundation LSPIRG is trying to achieve this year has been overwhelming, but that isn’t unique to LSPIRG.

“Regardless of how many staff you have, anyone can feel overwhelmed in student services at different points of the year,” she said.

But Barton said that the small staff was a good base to start with.

“I think for this year, it was important to have a smaller staff base to start that foundation and to create a cohesive message we wanted to create. I think having less allowed us to focus more.”

LSPIRG will be looking to increase their staff size in the future with potentially a few part-time positions, but no decisions can be made until the board is notified and votes on the changes.

Their focus is now on organizing their annual general meeting on March 25, where they will be hosting a breakfast.

“We’ve set a strong foundation this year,” Barton said.

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