Transitioning into presidency

Photo by Will Huang
Photo by Will Huang

Tyler Van Herzele’s transition into being the next Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union president has been anything but normal.

Considering that Van Herzele, a fourth-year concurrent education student, started his teaching placement just one week after the election ended, this has been an especially unique transition.

“This is definitely not a normal transition, but it has definitely been enjoyable,” he said.

“I have enjoyed what I’ve learned so far and I would have to say that different meetings with different members of the university has been something where I’m learning a lot. I’m happy that I’m able to gain exposure to those groups and to those people.”

While working, Van Herzele has credited current president Olivia Matthews with doing an “amazing job” when it comes to keeping the lines of communication open and assisting in making his transition as smooth as possible.

When asked whether or not being a student from the Brantford campus has had any hindrance in his transition, Van Herzele said aside from driving an hour, nothing else is out of the ordinary.

“I don’t think it really gives any positive or hindrance other than the fact that I’m travelling. We’re representing 17,000 students across both campuses, that doesn’t change when you win. You still have to do that. It’s been a unique learning experience.

As for the student perspective, when we talk about a Brantford issue, yeah I have more of an insight to that. I’m getting comfortable with conversations from both ends for sure.”

Van Herzele wishes to continue fostering the relationships with campus partners in regards to student issues that Matthews established throughout the year.

Keeping a strong connection with the student body is also one of the factors Van Herzele emphasized in his platform during elections.

Improving methods of feedback and being available to answer any questions is at the top of his list of implementations.

“The president’s council, which involves our faculty representatives, and asking for feedback. I’m looking forward to having a question segment. Outreach gives me the ability to talk to students and get those questions live from the membership of the Students’ Union, so that we can better address those situations. I want to hear from the student body.”

By the end of April, Van Herzele’s team will be participating in a week-long transition period, where they will have the ability to discuss the strategic plan for the coming year as well as get adjusted to working with one another.

With his start date scheduled for May 1, Van Herzele will be relocating to Waterloo in order to accommodate for travelling.

“I’m really looking forward to it. Olivia and her team have been incredible so far [and] I know they will continue to be helping my team get accustomed to some of the practices and how we operate within the Students’ Union. I am looking forward to having that open conversation with everybody at Laurier.”

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