Student life: Bryant aims to improve activities, athletics, academics

Student life vice-president candidate Alex Bryant. (Photo: Jacob Baker-Kretzmar)

Alex Bryant is gearing up for a second term on the KSU executive. This time, Alex wants to take on student life vice-president, a position he believes being financial vice-president has prepared him for.

Bryant is currently hoping to improve three main sectors of student life including activities, athletics, and academics. Bryant says he is making the switch so he can better communicate with the societies he was passing the cheque to in his term as financial vice-president.

The Watch: How do you hope to incorporate day students into campus life?

Alex Bryant: It’s got to start with the Day Student’s Society. We haven’t done much work at all with the Day Student’s Society which has been really disappointing. Whether there’s a formal relationship there or not, all day students are members of our student union and the majority of our students union membership is our day students. If we’re first not programming things that are accessible to day students then we’re failing them [and] if we’re not encouraging them to come out and be involved in their union that they’re also paying for then I think we’re failing them too. This is a sentiment that I’ve heard from our DSS reps on council that sometimes day students feel super neglected by the kinds of activities that we run because so many of them happen in the evening. It’ll start with working with the people that organize the day student society next year but also just bringing more people into our office and getting people on our end organizing events that will run when day students are going to be around.

Q: What will you do differently than what is already being done to open up the conversation about access to education?

AB: This is important and also difficult. I’m not sure I would do things differently. I think what Michaela (Sam) is doing with the academic committee and enrollment planning committee is so valuable. I would just like to continue doing the work that I’m seeing happening right now and try and look for opportunities to do more of it. It would be neat to have that conversation going on the whole year. … I’m also really frickin’ broke. So something that I hold close to my heart is being able to have students attend King’s when financially they’re going to have difficulty doing it. This is where the relationship to the CFS (Canadian Federation of Students) happens because the federation that we’re a part of has done so much research and so much lobbying to do with reducing tuition fees and lobbying for better financial assistance.… It’s exciting – it’s not exciting to be broke, but it’s exciting to work on stuff.

W: Through acting as financial vice-president, did you find the passion to take on student life?

AB:   Totally. This was my M.O. in high school, I did a lot of ‘behind the scenes’ work on theatrical performances and student council. That put me in touch with a lot of things that I really like to work on outside of that world. It put me in touch with social movements that I really care about now. It’s not like I hate doing the FVP job, it’s that every time I do the FVP job I want to have a conversation with the society we’re giving a cheque too and say, ‘you’re doing such cool things. How can we help you?’ … When I sat down with the outdoor society after going on a hike I said, ‘this is the coolest thing. You should do this in a bigger way.’ And if we can help them do that, great, but I don’t get to do that as my full time work if I’m running around doing paperwork 30 hours a week. So I’m really excited if I get elected to start doing that work full time rather than just making sure the books are in order all the time.

W: Do you feel like you’ve accomplished everything you could out of financial and it’s someone else’s time to take over?

AB: Absolutely. I think this year the vibe in our office has been that we are fixing a lot of things. I think I’ve started a lot of things that the next financial vice-president is going to have to pick up on and finish, and if I get elected I’ll be there to help them finish that work too. A lot of the ‘behind the scenes’ work has to do with updating our registration with the registry of joint stock companies or finding all of our budgets for the past 30 years or finding our financial statements and making sure they’re all up to date. It’s been a lot of cleaning up so I don’t feel like I’ve finished with this stuff but I think I’m going to leave it in a better place. It’s kind of like if you’re renting a cottage or something and you want to leave it cleaner than you found it. If I can leave the FVP side of things better than I came into, that’s a bonus. If we can leave them having accomplished the things I’ve been worried about all year – bonus. It’s a lot of things that the membership will not see. They don’t need to see that stuff but it’s very important to how the union operates, like preparing our year-end statements with our accountants and our bookkeeper which I’m so relieved are actually happening but also like, no one’s going to know and even if they do know they might not even care. So, have I accomplished what I wanted too? Getting there. Do I expect more things to need to be done next year on top of the regular work?  Yes. This is the issue of changing over every year, too. So you’re always handing off projects that you’re three quarters done.

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W: How do you see your future in the KSU?

AB: The union really sucks you in. Especially in an executive position suddenly it becomes 30 hours a week and 50 hours on a busy week. Like, you’ve come to school to study and you’re doing more work on the union than you are on your academics. I’m still unclear about what’s going to happen after this election because I really love the school work I’m doing. I hate seeing that suffer. Maybe I’m sucking at time management right now but I want to graduate. The best expression of a lot of the things I’m studying in class comes out in union work. So that’s a difficult thing too. It’s not like I don’t love every second [of being on the KSU] – save for a few seconds where I’m swearing a lot in the office because something messed up – but I love doing union work a lot and I love doing my school work a lot, and if there were to come a time when those things came to oppose each other I would really have to think. I think I’m finding a balance right now between those two things and if I can this can keep going on, if I can’t then I’m going to have to really think about it. It’s hard to lobby for education if my relationship to school is that I’m only doing student union work.

This interview has been abridged.