Students’ Union board, president and chair under review

(File photo by Nick Lachance)

(File photo by Nick Lachance)

In comparison to board meetings in previous years, this year was rather calm and collected.

The meetings ran efficiently and stayed on schedule under the leadership of the Students’ Union chair and CGO, Jordan Epstein. Most directors conducted themselves with professionalism and there was significant improvement in their attendance from last year with five meetings actually having all 15 directors present.

There was also more transparency overall with Epstein’s commitment to reduce the number of in-camera sessions and to provide minutes subsequently where appropriate.

However, the engagement on behalf of directors tended to come from the same handful of directors. While the lack of tension at the table can be considered an improvement from last year, it also reflects the fact that the board could have been more effective in their roles.

Many directors lacked the confidence to voice dissenting opinions or raise questions during board meetings, instead opting to abstain from voting or letting others speak on their behalf.

While the board overall had a good term, it could have been more effective in its critical engagement.

 

Photo by: Cristina Rucchetta

(File photo by Cristina Rucchetta)

Annie Constantinescu
President & CEO of the Students’ Union

With little prior experience with the Students’ Union going into the role, Constantinescu has managed to navigate a fairly smooth term as president and CEO. Her strength was clearly in engaging students, as she successfully organized multiple ‘Ask Me Anything’ sessions on Reddit and State of the Union events. She also made strides in terms of multi-campus governance, creating a strong presence for herself on the Brantford campus. It’s evident that Constantinescu makes an effort to be available to the average student at Laurier.

The year wasn’t without its challenges, though. Constantinescu was faced with the School of Business and Economics Students’ Society seeking secession from the Union, which resulted in ongoing mediation and tension within the two parties.

Additionally, there was the need for action to mitigate crowds on Ezra Avenue on St. Patrick’s Day and a need to respond to allegations made against a Foot Patrol volunteer through The Cord’s ‘Dear Life’ column. These challenges were worked through with few complications, while setting the guideline for these discussions for future years.

The strength of the individuals surrounding Constantinescu were, in many instances, the enablers of the smoothness of her term. She had a strong set of VPs who motivated many of the initiatives that were taken on, such as the push for Fall Reading Days. Roly Webster, executive director and COO, was also a visible presence in helping Constantinescu with decision-making.

Overall, while Constantinescu had a fairly effective term as president and CEO, substantive changes to the Union as a whole during her term were minimal.

 

(File photo by Nick Lachance)

(File photo by Nick Lachance)

Jordan Epstein
Chair and CGO of the Students’ Union

As a long-time Students’ Union volunteer, Epstein’s knowledge and experience definitely benefited the Union during his term as Chair and Chief Governance Officer (CGO), especially considering it was a strategic planning year for the organization.

Epstein should be applauded for his efforts in keeping the meetings more transparent than been in the past by limiting the length and number of in-camera sessions.

Meetings were consistently held in an organized and timely manner. Furthermore, Epstein has refrained from making opinions or exerting his influence during board meetings as any solid chair of a board should.

By being the chair and CGO of the Students’ Union, Epstein has an interesting perspective as he’s able to see both the policy and operational sides of the organization. He has been able to maintain a fair balance in both sides of his role, and is aware of how he should present himself depending on the context.

However, Epstein is a bit behind on completing all the necessary aspects of the upcoming strategic plan for the organization, a process that may extend into the next academic year.

Epstein is an honest and hard-working individual, and those traits are clear in his role as chair and CGO.

He has added a level of structure to the board and a sentiment of comradery among his directors. Epstein has made his mark on the organization as chair and has set the standard for the board in upcoming years.

 

These reviews were written collaboratively by Campus News Editor Marissa Evans, Senior News Editor Lindsay Purchase and Editor-in-Chief Justin Smirlies. They are based on observations from board meetings and interviews with directors, chair and president.

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