Office hours stalled for Board of Directors

Director McLean proposed the idea to implement office hours to reach out to students. However, they are waiting to gauge student demand before following through. (Photo by: Will Huang)

Director McLean proposed the idea to implement office hours to reach out to students. However, they are waiting to gauge student demand before following through. (Photo by: Will Huang)

At a board of directors meeting held at the end of August, the idea for directors to hold office hours for students was brought to the table.
Office hours may be implemented to improve the connection between the board of directors and the Students’ Union’s shareholders: students.

Matt McLean, a director on the board, proposed the idea. According to McLean, every year the board of directors finds different ways through which they can engage with the student population. In previous years, students were invited to attend board meetings if they had any concerns. But McLean believes that the setting is intimidating.

“Students came out to board meetings, and I thought that this is a good way to get them engaged, but it’s not always practical for students with their schedules. With the questions they had, maybe it’s too intimidating of a setting to engage with,” he said.

McLean then came up with the idea of providing a setting in which the directors are allocated different time slots and students can express their concerns in a one-on-one meeting. The reception of the idea from the board was mixed due to problems such as its implementation for both campuses. McLean hopes that the Strategic Plan Survey will provide more information.

“Even if one student within the entire year comes and engages with this service and they gain more knowledge about the [Students’] Union, then it’s worth it,” said McLean.

Jordan Epstein, chair of the board of directors, said that it is a priority for the Board to engage with students and to answer questions they may possibly have.

“The more students know who the board is and what the board does, the more feedback we can get,” said Epstein.

The demand for office hours will be based on the results of the Strategic Plan Survey, which will be released during the second or third week of November to obtain student feedback. The survey will contain a question about office hours and if students react positively, office hours will begin in the winter term.

Genevieve Abalajon, a second-year student at WLU, doesn’t believe that office hours are something she would access, but believes it is a good idea for those who may have concerns.

“I’m not as concerned with politics or decisions about the school, but other friends or other people who are more involved and want to be more educated with the school probably have more to say. I think it’s a good idea because it allows people to have that outlet to ask questions if they don’t know who to go to,” said Abalajon.

Second-year student Rebecca Paddock said that she would use the office hours with the intent of getting to know more about the Students’ Union.

“I believe that having office hours is a really good idea. I feel that students aren’t really aware of all that board of directors does with WLUSU and I feel like it would be a great opportunity for students to ask questions and for people to learn more,” said Paddock.

As for alternative options, Epstein said that if the idea does not follow through, there will be other alternatives that meet the need of addressing student issues, such as feedback and outreach events.

“If students are willing to use office hours and would ask questions, then 100 per cent. If not, we still need to figure out a way to be involved with students,” said Epstein.

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