New Feds execs take their seats

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The beginning of spring term marks the new group of Feds execs taking over the offices in the SLC and starting their tenure.


The four new executives, Danielle Burt, Ben Balfour, Maaz Yasin, and Stéphane Hamade, have begun work in the positions of president, vice-president, operations and finance (VPOF), vice-president, internal (VPIN), and vice-president, education (VPED), respectively.


Each inherits various projects from their predecessor, and some have already been thrown a few curveballs,  like Hamade, whose first few weeks have been consumed by the provincial election, which was announced May 2.


“It has some way shifted the priorities because getting students out to vote is obviously really important,” said Hamade.


Hamade’s platform during the campaign period centred around a fall reading break — an issue that was discussed at the March general meeting where students demanded a referendum for the upcoming fall term.


Burt hit the ground running in her first few weeks with her goal to change the attitude towards Feds, “Feds optimism,” as she calls it.


“I don’t think that the optimism is very high when students look at our organization,” said Burt.


When asked what she wants to accomplish this year, Burt said, “Just change the perception to be optimistic.” Burt said she is well aware that changing everyone’s attitudes is unrealistic, but she plans to make the changes in council and smaller groups on campus.


Burt inherited many projects from her predecessor, David Collins, but she said they won’t affect her campaign promises. The Feds’ long-range plan, governance review, sustainability committee, and mental health committee — which is still in its research phase — have all carried over from the previous term.


“I think the biggest challenge would probably be around the theme of mental health because it’s such a vast topic and there are so many different opinions on where it should be, priority-wise,” said Burt.


Each exec said the first few weeks have been heavy on learning — everything from who is responsible for what to where the paper clips are. “It’s almost too much,” said Balfour on the amount of new info coming his way.


Balfour inherited the problem of what to do with the space in the SLC. His predecessor, Natasha Pozega, oversaw a space audit of the building during her tenure and passed along the data to Balfour. He has since hired a co-op student to turn that data into “usable information” so Feds can start making changes.


“The SLC is going to be a theme throughout this year in terms of improving our management procedures of it,” said Balfour. Feds is entering its second year of management control of the SLC.


The recent Feds GM in March handed Yasin a new priority as VPIN with the clubs library — an issue that has been highly contentious over the years.


“We’re looking to move on from it as quickly as we can,” said Yasin of the library.


He said their next step is forming a committee to determine the logistics of the project. He said the project should be a reality “in the next few months.”


As a team, the new execs are tasked with creating an executive action plan — a job that took the previous execs the entire spring term. Yasin, however, said they hope to have theirs done by the end of this month.


All four discussed an open door policy and said they look forward to meeting with students.


Exec emails can be found on the Feds website, and they each operate active Twitter accounts.