Students’ Union’s board of directors elects chair and vice-chair for the 2019-2020 school year

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Photo by Jackie Vang

The newly elected board of directors for 2019-2020 held their first meeting last Thursday Feb. 7 to elect their new chair and vice-chair.

Current vice-chair Owen Bourrie was elected as the incoming chair and CGO of the 2019-20 board, while Sameed Hussain was elected as the incoming vice-chair.

Bourrie has been planing to run for the chair and CGO position since he first became vice-chair, hoping to gain the necessary experience and knowledge to put him in the position he is in now.

“I’m thankful that there’s 11 people on that board who are confident in my abilities … I’m here for them and I’m here for the organization and I want to do everything I can to ensure we have a successful year,” Bourrie said.

Although elections will be a focus for Bourrie in the future, training will be a big first focus for the incoming chair.

“The reason I advocated for having the chair and vice-chair elections so soon … instead of doing it at the beginning of April like last year is that we’re able to develop … a comprehensive training plan for the directors to use and go through,” Bourrie said.

“It’s gonna be really beneficial to them so they can learn what they’re supposed to do so they’re not learning on the job.”

Bourrie plans on implementing realistic and practical training for directors this year.

“The best way to do it is hands on, engaging with the material,” Bourrie said.

The training will teach directors the knowledge they need to know, such as Robert’s Rules, the constitution, etiquette, etc. but will then allow them to apply the knowledge in a mock board meeting in which potential real life scenarios will be brought forth.

“We’ll take the policies … apply them to those exact scenarios so when and if they come up, they know how to deal with them,” Bourrie said.

Bourrie hopes this method of training will help prepare directors for a strong start to their tenure, unlike last year’s board, which had a slower start to their year due to the fact that all 12 directors were brand new to the board.

This year, in addition to Bourrie, Osman Alwi and Sameed Hussain are also returning to the board from this past year, adding some prior knowledge and experience to the group.

The new incoming vice-chair, Sameed Hussain, is excited to step into his new role and plans on using his prior experience that he has gained on the board this past year to his advantage.

“I want to continue to advocate for the things I advocated for during elections, which is transparency, accountability and multi-campus activity,” Hussain said.

Being that Hussain is from the Brantford campus, he hopes being vice-chair will allow him to better advocate for multi-campus approaches.

“The chair is from waterloo and I’m from Brantford so that’ll be a good dynamic for us,” Hussain said.

As well, Hussain hopes to make the board more accessible to students.

“I have been talking to full time members about this,” he said.

“Board documents are not accessible to everyone such as people with disabilities … such as being blind or deaf.”

“Having documents that people can read easily or that read aloud would be helpful.”

Hussain was one of five candidates to run for the vice-chair position. Other candidates included Thomas Hamilton, Andrew Dang, Ty Thomas and Devyn Kelly.

“It takes courage to put your name forward and running for a position like this,” Hussain said. “It shows that all the board members are prepared and ready.”

Bourrie also doted on the board’s engagement, reiterating that the large participation demonstrates the incoming director’s eagerness and willingness to be present.

“[I think it] speaks to how engaged our board already is and is going to be so I’m really excited for that,” he said.

As for Bourrie and Hussain’s relationship, both are excited to begin working together and building on their already established relationship.

“I’m in a unique position because I get to mentor him as the past vice-chair,” Bourrie said.

“Me and Sameed have had a good relationship … I’m thankful that I do have someone with prior board experience … with upcoming tuition cuts … there’s a lot of work to be done. I’m glad I have a strong second-hand to work alongside … I’m really thankful the board put their trust in him.”

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