KSA Hires New Executive Director

Benjamin Newsom is the former Student Services Manager for the KSA, and is now the Executive Director for the time being. (Braden Klassen)

A months-long search for the Kwantlen Student Association’s next executive director concluded with the hiring of Benjamin Newsom in December. Newsom had already been performing the duties of the position since July 11, when the interim period following the resignation of the former executive director, Jeremy McElroy, began.

Newsom has years of experience with different roles in the association, such as helping to negotiate the B.C. U-Pass program, developing the KSA Multipass Program, and serving as the Manager of Student Services.

Prior to working for the KSA, Newsom was employed with the Capilano Student Union from 2005 to 2007. He also gathered experience working with the B.C. Government Employees Union from 2011 to 2012.

Newsom says that one of the things he would like to focus on in his position as executive director is encouraging student involvement in the organization.

“The things that you can do while you’re here can give you an edge for practical experience once you leave here,” he says. “Student associations or student newspapers are examples of organizations that can help students recognize that they have more abilities than they think.”

He also says that he would like to provide more resources to students to help them succeed within the KSA.

“The reason that I am here is because of the opportunities I’ve been given,” he says. “One of the things that I’m trying to encourage us to do here is to work better as a network of groups, so the individual departments can feel like they are able to operate on their own, and whenever possible, to try to have more student inclusion.”

The president of the KSA, Joseph Thorpe, predicts that Newsom is “going to do a really good job” as the new executive director.

“He understands the students really well. He understands the organization really well, so I think the KSA is in really good hands,” says Thorpe. “He advocates for students getting experience and developing themselves, so I think for future execs and council, he’ll be someone who they’ll really appreciate.”

“Especially in Student Services, whenever possible, if someone wanted to be involved in something, I’d always offer [the chance],” says Newsom. “Various projects that we work on here that are big ideas—I always want to have a student that’s involved to work on that, because it’s a big thing. How many times in your life are you going to be able to say that you did that? Maybe just this one time.”

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