WUSA Feature

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  1. How does it feel to be elected as a WUSA Executive?

I’m very excited for my coming year serving students as VP Operations & Finance! It’s been quite a journey to get here between my time at MathSoc, WUSA, and elsewhere, but I’m so thankful for the background those experiences have given me to approach this role. I hope that my time at WUSA will create as much value for students as possible, and demonstrate what our student association is capable of.

  1. What is the first thing you will do when you start your term?

The initial task of the VPOF is prepping WUSA’s budget for the coming year so I’ll likely have my hands pretty full from the get-go, but I’m also very excited to hit the ground running on concerns students expressed to me throughout the campaign, including improving student reimbursements, implementing a 24-hour response time to student concerns, and other issues that aren’t hugely flashy or glamorous but are vital to WUSA’s mission to effectively support and serve students. 

  1. What are you most excited about?

I’m very much looking forward to building relationships with stakeholders and members across the organisation. It’ll be a little harder than usual seeing as we’re all still online, but the people that make WUSA work are some fantastically driven and motivated individuals, and I can’t wait to start pushing the organisation forward with them and my team.

  1. What is something you will do differently this year compared to last year?

One of WUSA’s long-term weaknesses for many years has been maintaining and enriching our relationship with our student membership. It is my very honest opinion that WUSA provides immense utility to our student body and adds significant value to undergraduate education at the University of Waterloo, but I also believe that we haven’t done the best job communicating our value proposition or providing avenues for our members to engage with leadership and voice their concerns effectively. Increased “town hall” events were a great addition by the previous exec team, and I’m looking forward to extending that as I promised during the campaign to more proactively report WUSA’s operations, situations, and opportunities to the membership. That means going to the places students like to hang out—Reddit, Instagram, or elsewhere—and having meaningful dialogues about issues with students care about, rather than just being reactive to student concerns.

  1. Will you be working remotely? If yes, how do you feel about it?

For the foreseeable future, I will be working remotely. While this presents a challenge and I’d of course prefer opportunity to work with the fantastic people at WUSA in-person, I’m appreciative that I’ll get to work under the same circumstances as the students I represent, and that through working and studying from home now, we get to enjoy a healthier and safer future campus. I have some perspective on my own strengths and weaknesses regarding remote work from my time as MathSoc President, and I definitely look forward to the chance to do the best I can under the circumstances.

  1. What is something you would like to say to the student body?

While I know some will consider the fact that I was elected unopposed to be a limiting factor in my tenure and mandate as VPOF (and I very much understand and appreciate this perspective), I also see it as a testament to the difficulty students are facing learning and working online, and how weary we all are from it, myself very much included. I’m very excited to take on this role, but I also take very seriously the responsibility I have as caretaker of vital student services including healthcare, transit, mental health supports, and others. I will have a lot of power to fundamentally improve the student experience at this university, as well as to severely damage it, should I make mistakes. 

I want my time and effort to be in the category of improving the student experience as much as possible, and for that I need your help. I have a lot of different experiences and perspectives as a student, person, and citizen, but I don’t have yours. If there’s something you think I or others should, shouldn’t, can’t, or need to do, I want to hear about it. If there’s something wrong or right in your student experience that could be improved, I want to hear about it. I’m here (and paid) to work for you, and if you’ve something to say, you can reach me at matthew.schwarze@uwaterloo.ca, or vpof@wusa.ca once I start serving you this May. Thank you so much for your confidence and support, I’m really looking forward to the coming year with you!

 

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