Meet Your KSA Candidates: Constituency Representatives

Mature Students Representative (1)

 

Zahid DossaKSA_Candidates_Spring2017_07
Previously Students of Colour Rep.
Major: Political Science, minor in Policy Students

This is your first time running for Mature Students Rep, but you’ve served for a few months now as Students of Colour Rep. Why the change?

I ran in the by-election [last October] uncontested, and won. I found it really rewarding, got to work with a lot of cool people. I got so much more out of it than I thought I would have, and I’ve got the chance to speak with a lot of people. So I wanted to leave this position open because, with the constituency positions, as long as you self-identify with the position you can run for it, so I’ve been trying to encourage a lot of people to get involved with your school. I don’t like the thought of KPU being a commuter school or transfer-out school. So I was hoping that someone else would’ve run for the position.

And I’m coming to the end of my time at Kwantlen, so I wanted to run for the mature students position.

In the next term the Students of Colour position will be empty. What do you make of that?

I’m a person of colour, so if I’m elected as mature students representative, being a student of colour, I will always be there advocating for people of colour.

What would you hope, in a mid-term election or in next year’s election, someone else might bring to that role?

The same amount of excitement, eagerness, energy, and passion that I brought to it. More, hopefully!

What do you think that mature students want from their representative in the KSA?

It’s not that I take issue with the definition of a “mature student,” but KPU and the KSA define a mature student as anyone who’s 19 or older. I didn’t feel mature at 19, I didn’t feel like the oldest one in the room at 19. But looking back on my first year at Kwantlen, I’m 23, 24—you really do get a sense of “I’m the oldest person in the class.”

There are a lot of matures students here, whether you’re 22, 42, 62, and so I hope to, with the programming on campus, foster a sense of community. You are not the only old person in your class. There is stuff for people who are not 18-20 to do.

What are some events or activities you’d want to make mature students aware of?

I’m really interested in skill-sharing, whether you’re 27 and you’re super good at Excel, and there’s someone maybe in their mid-50s who’s come back to school, and maybe who needs help with Excel. Or there’s someone who’s good at crocheting or knitting, and—hey, I need a hobby, I’m a student. I need something that keeps me sane. Maybe I wanna learn crocheting?

You’re running against Kayla England, the current Mature Students Rep. Is there anything you feel the KSA is currently doing exceptionally well with regards to mature students, or something that you feel needs improvement?

I think there’s always room for improvement. I know she’s made an effort to get in contact with the mature student community at Kwantlen. I haven’t been able to attend the meeting that she scheduled as I was in class. But going forward, whether she gets elected or I get elected, I hope there’s a larger sense of community, a sense of unity, within the mature students constituency.

Are there any hurdles that you think mature students face at KPU?

It’s uncomfortable or awkward being the 25 year-old in your class. Not to say that 25, 35, 45 isn’t young—but when you’re surrounded by people straight out of high school it’s awkward trying to join a club, trying to run for student office. But it doesn’t matter. We need to put ourselves out there.

Is there anyone you’ve been working closely with in your time as a councilor?

Right now, as students of colour rep, I’m working on Black History Month activities. Being new to planning student life activities, I’ve been working closely with [VP Student Life] Natasha Lopes. She’s been a really great mentor.

Any ambitions in running for the exec team?

No.


 

Kayla EnglandKSA_Candidates_Spring2017_16
Running for Re-election
Major: Policy Studies

You were elected Mature Students Rep in the by-election last fall. Is there anything you’ve been able to achieve in that position in the short amount of time you’ve held it?

Since being elected I’ve been able to start up the Mature Students of Kwantlen group. I have the paperwork in on that, so hopefully in about a week or so that group will get official club status, and then come February I can hit the ground running and organize another meeting.

What do you believe the constituency you’re currently representing is looking for from their student representative?

I don’t think they have a voice. Right now mature students don’t have a way of connecting with each other. They tend to have full-time jobs, they tend to have children, they tend to have other activities going on. Therefore the resources that they need are going to be different, and they need someone they can talk to, someone they can approach who can have those issues or those barriers removed for them. Now, more than ever, they need someone who can integrate them into the Kwantlen community.

Are there issues with the KSA you’d like to address in your next term as councilor?

Specifically one of the issues with the mature students I’ve talked to is that they’re only on campus in the evenings, and the KSA offices are closed in the evenings. Of course, there’s member services, and I’m so happy that they’re open until, I believe, 8 or 9 in the evenings. But it’s about the ability to connect with other students, because they are only here in the evenings and a lot of the events take place in the day.

Do you have specific ideas you’d want to bring to council to address that problem?

That’s what I’m hoping to get out of the mature students group I’m starting. There are a lot of unknowns, and I will fully admit I don’t have all the answers. My job as Mature Students Rep will be to get those answers.

Do you have ambitions of running for the exec team?

Yes I do.

Which position would you want to get?

I would love to run for the Student Life position. I really believe i have the outgoing personality that I believe has been missing from the past student life execs. Natasha was great, as an organizer she’s fantastic, she knows the job inside out and backwards, but I think there’s a little bit of the fun aspect of the student life position that has been missing. That’s something that I’d bring to the position. An outgoing personality able to talk to students, able to get out there and connect.

Are there any other aspects of the KSA that you’d want to see improved upon in your next term as councilor?

I’d like to see more outreach to the students. During the semester there’s really no “get out to know your representative” initiatives out there. There’s no “this is who we are, we represent you, come out to meet us!”

Are there KSA councilors or candidates who are running in this election who you see yourself working closely with in order to achieve these goals?

I’ve worked a little bit with Murdoch [de Mooy] in the past. He’s a great guy that I look forward to working with again. Same thing with Kim McMartin, I’ve worked with her for quite a number of years. And Tanvir Singh, he’s an amazing council member too, and he’s done an amazing job as exec. I know I’m leaving a lot of people out, but they’re all fantastic. I have no problems with the council we have now.


 

Students with Disabilities Representatives (1)

Landon CharneyKSA_Candidates_Spring2017_06
Running for Re-election
Major: Undeclared

What have you accomplished in your first term as Students with Disabilities Representative that you’d want to continue working on in your second term?

Well, I made sure that all the motions we’ve passed in council will benefit disabilities students.

What sorts of things?

One thing that I find very interesting is that, finally, the renovations in Birch building are going ahead. I also like the fact that there will be other motions next year, I heard, in other committee meetings that will be going ahead if I get elected next year, which will be beneficial to disabilities students.

Are you doing anything about the Services for Students with Disabilities office?

Ah yes, I did hear back from them. Basically, they can’t tell me how many disabilities students there are in the school, though I did ask them. I don’t think they even got my email to be honest. I’ve heard that a lot of students are still having problems, and I heard recently that they hired someone new for it, so I would be happy to meet with them, if I could arrange a time.

What needs to change about the office?

I would say, [clarify] what you need to do to qualify as “disability.”

They’re pretty vague, they need to be more specific. Like “you need this, this, this and this to qualify.” Because sometimes I wonder if there are students in the school who could qualify for disabilities students, how come they can’t get it? Maybe every single student in the school qualifies as a disabilities student, but how can they get it? I don’t really know, it’s too vague. It’s not specific enough.

What do you offer over Kim McMartin, with her KPIRG and DAMN experience?

I would say more experiences. I understand what it’s like to be a disabilities student, I know what it’s like, I suffer from a lot of stuff myself. I’m trying to change our bylaws and regulations, and I think there’s a lot of stuff in there that might benefit disabilities students, like more representation on council next year.

What do students with disabilities at KPU want?

More representation, and I know that some students don’t know that the KSA even exists. Some students with disabilities, even though there’s a disabilities student on council, some students don’t even know that there’s a council that represents them.


 

Kimberely McMartinKSA_Candidates_Spring2017_04
Ran Previously, Held the Position 2015/16
Major: Anthropology, with a minor in Criminology

What would you plan to accomplish with the position?

Better communication with the Services for Students with Disabilities [office]. We have been working with DAMN [Disabilities Action Movement Now] in order to do a disability policy review committee, which me and Kathrine Kruger both sit on. We want to get that started because we have been waiting for the new director of the SSD to come in. I want to maintain the standards that I created when I first came in. I want to make it more inclusive, more accessible to reach students to get you the support you need to continue on.

How?

Since I left the KSA in the last election I have met with one of the KPU admins in monthly meetings to discuss student returns. I have created a new standard of accessibility within KPIRG, I have done, with DAMN, an event which brings students and different resources together. So I’ll continue those types of events. I’ll continue the relationships I have with other third party organisations such as NEEDS. I’ll bring in different workshops that people can do to understand a person with disabilities’ way of life and why it’s so hard.

What do you believe your potential constituents at KPU want from their representatives? How do you plan to deliver?

Transparency, communication, feedback, collaboration. We also want better communication with SSD. I can say from experience that when I was in term I had a 24-hour response. Even when I was on vacation I continued to communicate with students. I will be continuously meeting with students because it’s not just me being represented. It’s people with mental health symptoms. It’s people with learning disabilities, physical disabilities. People with all kinds of disabilities need to be represented and constantly consulted with.

What aspects of the KSA do you believe could be improved?

Thinking about accessibility. Thinking about inclusion. A lot of the stuff that I have to sometimes remind them on is physical accessibility. One of the things that I implemented with appointments was opening up the dialogue for asking “what does a person need? How can we make things more accessible?”

Also, we need to have more opportunities for students to notice what the KSA is. It’s very much, “We’re going to have a poster here and here and it’s going to be on the website.” Well new students coming in don’t know about the website. People don’t know that there’s a Facebook account or a whole bunch of social media. They don’t know about the website or they can’t really navigate it. So that’s one of the things that I think we should work on.

Do you have ambitions of running for the executive?

Nope. Because I’m planning to run again in the KPIRG elections. I feel that KPIRG and the KSA can benefit again from collaboration like we’re trying to do right now.

What have you accomplished so far?

Better communication and accessibility with appointments as I mentioned before. I did all the research and pushed for the scent-free policy. I worked closely with DAMN and brought all their concerns to the KSA. Working with peer support on almost a weekly basis on how to better support students. I’ve received peer support training and I also have facilitator training with the positive space campaign.

Why do you think you didn’t win in the last election?

Maybe people wanted a change. Maybe they wanted to try something new. To me it was very baffling. I felt like I had two years below my belt and that I represented people adequately. I felt that I was very transparent. I thought I was very outgoing. I tried to educate myself as well as possible so I don’t really know. I can’t look into people’s minds.


 

Women’s Representative (1)

Caitlin McCutchenKSA_Candidates_Spring2017_09
First Time Running
Major: Political Science

What would you plan to accomplish with the position of Women’s Rep?

I’m really excited about the Birch space. When it finally opens there will be a women’s centre there so my focus is going to be on making that an inclusive environment where women or anyone who identifies as a woman or even guys can go. I want it to be a collaborative environment where people come together and share ideas. I want to have the women’s centre reach out to the communities around KPU so it’s not just women helping women at KPU. I want it to be KPU students helping women in the community as well.

How would you go about accomplishing this?

I want to be talking to anyone on campus and getting their ideas and seeing what they want to get out of it. It’s not just my ideas and goals. I want it to be anyone’s women’s centre.

I’m already part of the women’s collective and I’ve seen that it’s very small as it is, and I want it to keep growing. I think the women’s centre is going to play a fundamental role in that. I look at other women’s centres at other institutions and I see so much involvement and so much positivity coming out of it, and I want that for KPU.

What do you believe your potential constituents at KPU want from their representatives? How do you plan to deliver?

I think they want women’s issues addressed and I think they want events and information that pertains to what’s going on in their lives. I know the consent campaign is something that I will continue next year, as well as addressing sexual harassment and sexual assault. Women just want representation and an understanding of the issues they are facing

Do you have ambitions of running for the executive?

I do. I’d like to be VP External.

What experience do you bring to the role that you feel is relevant?

As senate rep I do sit on the KSA council. I’ve been doing work on the consent campaign. I helped the current Women’s Rep review the sexualised violence policy. I’m doing work on the 2017 provincial election campaign.

What have you learned from working with the current Women’s Rep. [Natasha Lopes] that you would bring to the position?

We’re just starting to work together. I’ve been doing the consent campaign and she’s been planning for succession and I’m learning how to plan events and seeing more what other events and campaigns from the outside into KPU.

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