by Richard Wu
Just off the top of your head, list five people who you think could create positive change on this campus if given the opportunity. I really do hope you included yourself onto that list, because I truly believe that the only thing required to generate meaningful change at Waterloo is a desire to better the undergraduate experiences of you and your peers.
Perhaps meaningful change sounds far too daunting, but on campuses like ours, even the tiniest of changes can go a long way. If you told me in my first year that I would eventually have the honour of serving over 30,000 undergraduates as an Executive with the Federation of Students, I probably would have chuckled, brushed it off, and walked away – I honestly didn’t think I was “right” for the job, that I would be “qualified,” or that I would ever have ideas that were “good enough.” As a Waterloo undergrad, you are already qualified. Whether it’s something “small” like advocating for the official Waterloo goose mascot, or something “big” like implementing bystander intervention training, one of the most important things in making all of these things happen, I’ve discovered, is passion – and I know there’s some in everyone.
I challenge you to tap into some of that passion you already have and explore how you can make change on our campus this year. Don’t know where to start? Luckily, a perfect opportunity is right around the corner: Feds Elections. You can choose the level of involvement that you’re comfortable with – whether you sign yourself up to run for one of many levels of student government, or research your candidates and vote for the one that represents your interests, the important part is getting involved.
Curious what positions you could run for in Feds Elections? Keep local to your faculty and run for Students’ Council, where you can shed light on the needs and challenges specific to your peers. Looking to sit at the table with some of the highest representatives from across the University of Waterloo? Consider running to be one of the undergraduate representatives on the University Senate. Or, perhaps you’ve got some (#)innovative ideas of your own and want to run for an Executive position to start your own projects, and to voice student concerns to decision-makers at the University, Queen’s Park, and Parliament Hill. Nominations are open now at vote.feds.ca until January 17 at 4 p.m.
And whether or not you decide to throw caution to the wind and nominate yourself for a position on Students’ Council, the University Senate, or as an Executive, speaking up, participating during the debates, and voting for the representative of your choice can have a huge impact. Simply voting (or declining your ballot) is an incredibly powerful tool to have your voice heard, and as we’ve seen in the news, several votes either way can make quite a difference. Ask the tough questions, get to know your candidates – any involvement is good involvement. Feds Elections voting opens February 5 to 7.
Two of the most valuable things you bring to the table are your unique experiences as an undergraduate student and the desire to help your peers get the most out of their Waterloo experience. You don’t need to have an internship with Google or a start-up on your resume to prove your worth on this campus. You simply need your passion, experience at Waterloo, and a sprinkle of confidence to help give a voice to students.
If you have any burning questions on how you can get involved in this process, or even if you just want to chat, email me at email@example.com. I hope to see you all at the (virtual) polls (vote.feds.ca!) on February 5 to 7!