New student council hopes for improved EdCon, collaboration between undergraduates, graduates
Student council ‘gives you the opportunity to leave a lasting impression’ says newly elected Senior Stick
The Faculty of Education’s newly elected senior stick, Scott Hardman, along with Gabriel Alves (vice-stick external) and Megan McManes (vice-stick internal) did a Q and A recently about their plans for the 2015-16 school year.
Why did you want to run for student council?
Scott Hardman: The position of senior stick appealed to me because I wanted to represent a faculty that I feel very deeply about. Many of my best experiences at the University of Manitoba have been through the Faculty of Education, through my peers, the great faculty members, and the amazing environment that can be felt throughout our program. As a first year member of the 2014-2015 student council, I felt that I could be a beneficial addition to the 2015-2016 student council in the role of senior stick through the experience I gained by working closely with John Wren, the 2014-2015 senior stick. I am very pleased to know that my fellow first year council members, Megan McManes and Gabriel Alves, will be accompanying me in this venture of giving the 2015-2016 student council a strong foundation of experience to build upon.
Gabriel Alves: I wanted to be a voice for the student body. I also wanted to help continue on the tradition of student council and what it represents. I have always been an active member of student councils in the past and it only makes sense to continue on the tradition.
Megan McManes: I am the Early Years Stream Rep for the 2014-2015 Education Student Council (EdSC), and I have loved being a part of the council so much that I knew I had to come back. I originally ran for EdSC because I wanted to get involved in the faculty as well as have a voice in the decisions that affect my cohort. I also thought it would be a way to meet some great new people in the faculty (which it has been).
What would you like to accomplish during your term?
S.H.: The 2014-2015 council made many great changes over their term. I hope to follow their legacy and leave a lasting impression. A few big things that I feel could be accomplished by our student council are to continue to try to improve Program Days and collaborate with the University of Winnipeg with regard to the Education Conference & Career Fair. I would hope that we might be able to find ways to improve on the amount of choice and the amount of interest from students for Program Days coming in the 2015-2016 year. One idea that has been brought to my attention is to have a day where undergraduate and graduate students could get together and discuss current research students are completing or ideas for research. Collaboration with the University of Winnipeg for EdCon will allow more opportunities for students. If the U of M collaborates with the University of Winnipeg, school divisions will not have to choose which conference they would like to attend. Therefore, students will be able to access every school division they wish and we would foster a beneficial professional relationship with U of W.
G.A.: There are many things I wish to help accomplish this year; EdCon was a huge success this year but it did conflict with the UofW’s event. I would like to see the event moved to a less time conflicting period. The Program Days were also a huge success and I would like to help build on those sessions by having a larger selection of guest speakers/presenters available for students to select from. As previously stated, I would also like the student body to know that they too have a voice and their voice is heard through the people they elect. I wish to see an increase in voting and an increase in candidates in the upcoming elections. I will work diligently to get the word out and increase awareness of EdSC and how students can be a part of council.
M.M.: I want to make sure that students in Education get the most out of their time here. As part of being vice-stick internal I want to make sure that we continue to have quality PD sessions that are informative and relevant to the needs of our students. I also want to build off the Program Monday that EdSC organized this year to try and expand the number of options available to students. I would love to look at sessions that address issues not directly covered by our curriculum, such as addressing mental health issues in the classroom. I also plan to look into more options for improving out student lounge, such as adding some artwork to the walls.
Are you planning any new events or activities for next year?
S.H.: One thing that I feel was a great initiative that the 2014-2015 council tried to implement was non-alcoholic socials. We held a bowling social this year and it was a rousing success. I would like to start more initiatives like this for next year. I have been thinking about movie night socials where the Education students would vote on movies they would like to see and then they could view them at the Education building in the evening with their friends. Another idea I am contemplating is a regular trivia night, which would be run similar to a 50-50-ticket sale. Lastly, I would also be interested in bowling, skating and sport/game tournaments that we could run throughout the year.
G.A.: I would like to plan more social events. Specifically, I would like to have more icebreakers in the beginning of the year that help students create a community within each cohort. I would also like to create more awareness of distinct disciplines within each subject and the importance that they bring.
M.M.: I would love to see some more social events that are accessible to students with families and work commitments. We ran a bowling night this year that was quite successful, so I would like to look into more events like that. I would also like to look at expanding Spirit Week to include some team competitions that would get representatives from each cohort out to participate. The goal is to build the community within the faculty, especially between different streams.
What might you change in terms of EdSC events or activities next year?
S.H.: I wish to improve Program Days so that students feel more rewarded by attending. Whether this will be enacted through more choices for students or through some other means is yet to be decided, but I hope to have students feel that their experience at the Program Days is enlightening, educational, and satisfying. One recommendation the 2014-2015 senior stick has suggested to me with regard to panellists is to fill the panels with more representatives to gain more differing views and advice.
G.A.: I would like to see the date of EdCon changed. I would like to see an increase in the panel of speakers. I would also like to see more out of province opportunities showcased as well.
M.M.: I would like to build off of the Program Monday that EdSC organized this year. I think that EdCon was organized very well this year, but I would like to see if there is a way that we can arrange the date so that it does not overlap with the UofW’s event.
Why do you think it’s important for students to get involved in student council and council activities?
S.H.: Council activities are a great way for people to interact, network, and, most of all, have fun. The student council makes every effort to create events that people will thoroughly enjoy and will allow solidarity and a sense of belonging in, not only your cohort, but in every sect of the faculty. Along the lines of solidarity, I plan to bring back Baking Wars. It was a great way to get the entire faculty involved in a common goal of fundraising through a bit of friendly competition. In fact, we may create a Breakfast Wars event.
G.A.: Student council is an opportunity for students to learn the skills of leadership during their schooling. Team building, utilization of resources, prioritizing tasks, and confidence building are all leadership skills students can learn while being on council. These skills will translate from their academic career into their professional career and practical life as well. Inspiration can be a key reason why students join council. I joined because I knew that I could make a difference.
M.M.: The sense of community. Student council attracts great people, so it’s a fabulous way to make connections and have a good time while doing it. I’d say the same thing about student council events. The more people we get out to these events, the more fun everyone will have. I also think that getting involved in EdSC gives you a real say in some of the things that affect your cohort and your education. As members of the Faculty of Education we need to take responsibility for our own education if we hope to have a say in the education of children in the future. Finally, I think that the experience of working with your peers and having the responsibility to organize and plan faculty-wide events is really valuable for your future career.