The faces of change for the 2018-19 Students’ Union

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On Feb. 1, Tarique Plummer officially became Wilfrid Laurier University’s newest Students’ Union president and CEO.

Plummer ran on a campaign platform of “community cohesion and helping others” — committing to different series of initiatives which aim to change the way students interact with the university.

Winning the election with 52.35 per cent of the votes, Plummer is committed to following through on his campaign initiatives — ones he says were put forward by the student body.

“When I was developing my platform, the ideas that came about are not essentially mine,” Plummer said.

“They are the students’ who said ‘Tarique, this is what we want to see the Students’ Union do.’”

Working alongside Plummer is the new Chair and CGO of the Board of Directors, Adam Kovacs.

Both Plummer and Kovacs have begun working hard in the summer months — getting comfortable in their new positions and preparing for the upcoming academic year.

Plummer reports that his summer has been spent on “building key relationships within [their] team; the campus partners doing preparations for September; and also working on platform initiatives that [they] know [they] can accomplish during this portion of [their] time.”

Kovacs also reports a similar plan for the summer.

Moving into his new role, he plans to orient himself and jump right into work.

“I’ve been in the office every single day practically. Talking to the staff, seeing what they do, talking to the former chairs — just seeing exactly what they did and getting to know the people in the office,” Kovacs said.

In his message to the student body, Plummer lists the fifteen initiatives put forward to enhance the student experience at Laurier. In regards to which of the fifteen will be at the forefront of the fall semester, Plummer says there is no simple answer.

“What I’ve done so far is delegate different platform initiatives based on nature to each vice president,” Plummer also said.

“Certain initiatives can only be accomplished at certain times.”

Plummer noted that there are three major pieces he is looking forward to: accomplishing what the students elected him to do, building relationships with fellow students and the uncertainty that awaits him in his new position and the entire organization. Coming into his new position, Kovacs says that he is most excited for the board.

Looking forward, an initiative like the integration of the Wellness Centre will be put in motion later in the year — Plummer hopes it will be brought to the students around next year’s election period as a referendum question.

Currently, Plummer reports that the Student Ambassador Program is already in the works and has opened up for executive positions.

Overall, Plummer plans to release a monthly report to the student body, keeping track of the changes and programming that will come.

“What will happen is that at the beginning of each month, I’ll be making a release to the students to say ‘Hey, this is what we’ve accomplished so far — this is what we have done according to the platform you elected me on, these are the additional things we have done as well, and you’ll hear from us again in the next month.’”

When asked about his own priorities as Chair, Kovacs says the elections are his main focus.

“I’m starting early. I’m thinking about what exactly we can do and how we can increase our voter turnout,” Kovacs said.

On May 12, the Students’ Union held their first official meeting with Plummer and Kovacs in their new positions.

Both Plummer and Kovacs were happy to report that the meeting went extremely well.

“I, as a two time board director, former director, and former chair of the board was thoroughly impressed with the level of professionalism, with the keenness of the directors and with the quality of the questions that we asked at that table,” Plummer said.

Kovacs also noted the quality of discussions and questions brought forward in the meeting, and that the overall experience was indicative of a great year.

“It was a very quick meeting,” Kovacs said.

“We’re all on board, we’re all on top of what we need to be done and we were just able to whip through it.”

When asked about the recent exposure Laurier has received regarding various students and clubs, and the tough conversations the school has had to have, Kovacs and Plummer gave insight into how the new leaders within the Students’ Union will be moving forward.

“We should take this as a learning experience and see what systems we can look at and address to see how best we’re sending important messages to the students and to see where in our culture we can modify.”

When the beliefs and opinions on campus vary greatly, Kovacs states the role of the Students’ Union is to remain neutral.

Moving closer to the academic year, Laurier’s new leaders express what they are most excited for.

Plummer noted that there are three major pieces he is looking forward to: accomplishing what the students elected him to do, building relationships with fellow students and the uncertainty that awaits him in his new position and the entire organization.

Coming into his new position, Kovacs says that he is most excited for the board.

“It’s a great year because we are all fresh out the gate, everyone is getting along, everyone’s excited and we’re having a lot of fun. Our goal this year is to help the student body, and we are going to make sure that happens,” Kovacs said.

 

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