How Ryan Reynolds Became an Honorary Member of the KSA

What started as a joke has led an A-list celebrity to become KPU’s unofficial mascot
Jesse Pottinger, Contributor

Ryan Reynolds (Alyssa Laube)

Ryan Reynold’s birthday bash is celebrated with balloons, banners, Reynolds movies, and a life-sized cutout of the man himself in Grassroots Cafe on Surrey Campus on Oct. 23, 2016. (Alyssa Laube)

At the Kwantlen Student Association’s annual general meeting on Mar. 30, students took to a vote and appointed Ryan Reynolds as an honorary member of the KSA.

“It just started as a joke,” says Landon Charney, the councilor who initially put forward the motion. “We already endorse the guy. We’re already going all out with it…Just get it done already.”

When it came up at the AGM, several students took the chance to voice their concerns, with comments like “does Ryan Reynolds know about this?” and “I really think celebrity worship is kind of creepy.”

One of the opponents of the motion was KSA Students With Disabilities Representative Kimberley McMartin. She argues that, aside from his short time at KPU, Reynolds has not been involved with the school or given back in any way.

“I feel that a garbage can has contributed more than Ryan Reynolds to KPU,” says McMartin. “He’s done no policies, no legacies to go by. He hasn’t contributed back to KPU in any way, shape, or form.”

McMartin also believes that there are many others who are more deserving of the title.

“We have a very healthy alumni association,” she says. “Why are we so involved with Ryan Reynolds, who hasn’t been involved with us?”

The last honorary member to be appointed to the KSA was the late Margaret Westerman, a teacher and volunteer who sold a large portion of her land to Kwantlen College in 1982. Her land would later be developed into the KPU Surrey campus, and when she passed in 2014 she also donated her residence to the university, which will become KPU’s first student union building.

Westerman was made an honorary member of the KSA in 2008, a distinction which made her feel “humbled” according a report from the Kwantlen Chronicle.

“Those people who give their heart and soul to this institution—we deserve to love them back, and to show that in every way we can,” says McMartin. “It’s an honorary membership. Are we honoring ourselves when we give it to [Ryan Reynolds]?”

Natasha Lopes, the outgoing VP Student Life, fully supports the appointment of Ryan Reynolds as an honorary member of the KSA. Lopes has promoted Reynolds throughout her time on Student Council, with events like the Ryan Reynolds movie marathon and birthday party, to create some fun and light-hearted traditions for KPU students.

She says that KPU didn’t have many traditions to engage students, and Ryan Reynolds was a silly way to give back and keep students happy.

“In my view he has given back to the students, even if it’s his cardboard cutout and a giant red velvet cake. I feel that he’s given back because he’s helping students with stress, he’s helping break up that monotonous cycle of school, work, school, work.

The KSA’s new VP Student Life, Jay Reedy, is neither completely for nor against the new honorary membership, but agrees with points made by both sides.

Reedy and Lopes both recognize that there is validity in the argument against Reynold’s honorary membership.

“It’s definitely something to be discussed—the idea of merit behind an honorary membership,” says Reedy. “Going forward we will definitely be looking at better candidates for honorary membership.”

He says that having a symbol to rally behind helps build up culture in any organization, and while KPU used to have Kwinten the Eagle as the school mascot, the university has been lacking a representative as of late.

When asked if the KSA hoped to see Reynolds get involved with KPU in the future, Reedy added, “We’re always open to the possibility…This is something we secretly hope for, with muted expectations.”

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