The challenge ahead

Anna Bishop
Vice-President, Communications

Best moment of your year on exec?
“Every time I send out a TWAK is a triumph … But a whole moment? I would have to say the Day of Action; that’s not necessarily related to my position as CVP, but it was pretty awesome.”
Biggest challenge?
“Just making sure that all the little things get done … it’s easy to let those things fall through the cracks if you’re not always being diligent about maintaining them.”
Biggest challenge the CVP will be facing next year?
Bishop notes that students will hear a lot of “speeches with ambition, and crazy ideas, and that’s really good,” but a CVP has to fulfill many day-to-day responsibilities before starting new projects. Another challenge is the pace of technological advancement these days: next year’s CVP will have to involve the KSU in all aspects of social media.
Plans for next year?
Bishop isn’t running for the student union again, but hopes to become Science Rep to stay involved in student politics. She also plans to get involved with NSPIRG (Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group). Building on her year in communications, she hopes to turn a long-standing dream into a reality: “having my own radio show at CKDU.”
Omri Haiven
Vice-President, External

Best moment of your year on exec?
Too many to choose! The boycott, the canteen, the Day of Action, and getting the Boys’ Club, a discussion group for male issues, on its feet. On the canteen: “It was really inspiring to … go from the beginning of the year, when we had really no chance of having student-run food on campus, to now, where it’s only a matter of days until the canteen opens.”
Biggest challenge this year?
“The inaccessibility of education (and of) positions of privilege for students.” Haiven says students should be concerned about the axing of student representation on two crucial financial committees. “You decide what your priorities are in a budget … if students aren’t informing what the priorities are for our school, then we’re at a huge loss.” This will still be the biggest challenge next year, Haiven says.
What’s in store for you next year?
Haiven is running to reprise his role as VP External.
Any further words to students?
Once your reps are elected, “you should push them to do the things that you want them to do.” Haiven urges students to get engaged beyond the ballot box. “Those who make that extra effort … to talk to us about what issues are important for them are often really rewarded with the work that we’re able to help them do.”
Nicholas Gall
Vice-President, Financial

Best moment of your year so far?
When Gall took office in 2010, the most recently completed audit was for 2006-2007. He’s been working ever since to catch up the Union’s finances. Recently, he got back the audit for the fiscal year ending April 2011. To Gall, that was “a pretty significant moment.” He’s proud that he finally brought the Union up to date.
Biggest challenge?
“Learning as I go along.” Gall didn’t get any formal training from the last executive, so he figured things out himself. After two terms, he feels he’s learned a lot.
The biggest challenge facing next year’s FVP?
Gall has a lot to say about this serious topic. Back in 2010, the Union’s biggest expense was the yearbook. Since then, they’ve hired a full-time staff person, created new union-hired positions, and started a business—the canteen. Yet the KSU has only raised student fees with inflation; we now face an “emerging structural deficit.” The KSU needs a more sustainable funding model, and Gall poses a stark choice: either “a huge scaling-back” of KSU services, or (he hopes) increased revenue in some form.
What are you heading on to next year?
After graduating this spring, Gall is heading to Ottawa to work for an industrial lobbying group.
Further words to students?
Gall notes how far the KSU has come in the past two years. No longer providing “illegal secret loans to the Wardroom,” the Union has moved toward “a far more transparent model of financial management.” Despite the ensuing costs, he stands behind the move. “Going forward, it was the absolute right thing to do, and I hope my legacy continues in that regard.” Gall laughs after this remark, but he is proud to be leaving us a more mature and fiscally responsible KSU.
Anna Dubinski
Vice-President, Student Life

Best moment of your year on exec?
“I’ve done such a variety of different things that I never expected to do in this position … One of them will be next week, when we open up the canteen. Leading the Day of Action protest is also high on the list. “It’s an experience I’ll never forget.”
Biggest challenge so far?
“My biggest struggle has been balancing the position and staying an active student, being a good friend, being a good roommate, and keeping up with all of my relationships … The biggest struggle is actually finding a healthy balance for yourself.” Also, says Dubinski, don’t underestimate the power of surprises. With one phone call, all your best-laid plans can just fall away. As with the canteen, “things just come at you and you’re there for them.”
What challenges do you think the SLVP will be facing next year?
The Co-Curricular Record, a new Dal initiative that lets students register their co-curricular activities on their permanent record, will be a lot of logistical work for the new SLVP, who will be setting up the program and encouraging King’s students to register.
What are you moving on to next year?
Dubinski is running for Board of Governors rep. She’s also eager to take advantage of the many rights that every member of the KSU can exercise without a formal position. But the main reason she isn’t running for exec again? She’s missed performing with the KTS “like life itself.” She hopes to make up for that lost time next year.
Any further words to students?
Dubinski wants to express her excitement about the upcoming elections—she’s delighted to see so many candidates. For old hands at the KSU, seeing new faces who “really want to be a part of it” is extremely exciting.
Gabe Hoogers

What has been your favourite moment as president?
Hoogers was inspired by seeing student support for the boycott and Day of Action. He’s also looking forward to the opening of the Galley (“Grilled cheese with Gouda!”). “I’ve actually had so many profoundly inspiring moments … I really couldn’t narrow it down to a single one.”
What has been your biggest challenge?
For Hoogers, the president should facilitate communication between students, faculty and administration. Communication during the transition to a new president (Leavitt) has been “a challenge, but a fruitful challenge.” On the other hand, it’s also hard to communicate with students as much he would like. Still, Hoogers is happy that more students than ever are “aware of the issues (and the) possibilities” to effect change.
What challenges will next year’s President be facing?
Dealing with unforeseen events, such as the canteen. Also, while King’s financial future is being decided, “it’ll be the president’s job to ensure that students remain relevant in the minds of our administrators.”
What are you planning to do next year?
Hoogers will be back at King’s until December, finishing up some courses. “For the first time ever, I’ll be able to do real student things … just doing what I’ve always wanted to do.” He’s considering the KTS, rugby, frosh leadership… “And maybe, occasionally, some class readings. We’ll see about that.”
Do you have any further words for students?
“Being involved with the students’ union has definitely shaped who I am over the last several years, and it’s been absolutely a pleasure to be enabled to do that; I’ve grown, I’ve learned a lot, and I hope I’ve contributed in a way that people see as significant … I want to thank King’s people for that opportunity.”

Nick Stark
Board of Governors Representative

Best moment of the year so far?
Creating an alternative budget for the school last spring—it showed that students understand the financial situation and have a lot to say. “It was met with some pushback by the admin, who were worried that it would actually gain traction with some of the board members, which for us is a big victory … we want to show that we have some different ideas.”
Biggest challenge so far?
“Negotiating a new president coming in with a different idea about the school … and dealing with the financial challenges.” While that is important, at the same time “we want to make sure that students are heard.”
What challenges do you think the BoG reps will be facing next year?
Wrestling with the question of financial sustainability. Also, the opportunity to “re-establish a footing on which we can agree with the administration and move forward in a positive direction.”
What are you heading on to next year?
Stark is running for president and thinks his experience liaising with the administration will be helpful next year. He hopes to help the KSU run smoothly during a year of big projects.
Any further words to students?
If we believe in something, we must fight for it. “We have a lot of power. We should never feel apathetic … We have an incredibly powerful voice.”
Dan Brown
Board of Governors Representative

Best moment of the year?
“The whole thing has been tremendous fun.” Brown relished meeting some of the “characters” who make decisions for the school. His favourite moment was the President’s inauguration. “I have an undying amount of love for the regalia of King’s,” and this ceremony, with so many King’s faces brought together by incredible music, was “pretty overwhelming.”
Biggest challenge so far?
“To reconcile the positions as both a representative of the student body and an active board member.” Brown feels that as a Board, “we’re finally at a very, very positive stage.”
The biggest challenge facing next year’s reps?
Brown emphasises the challenge of ensuring a single vision for the diverse groups comprising the Board. “The Board has incredible talents and incredible intelligence when engaged in the right fashion … Upcoming reps need to be prepared to engage with the Board in a positive, progressive way.”
What are you heading on to next year?
Brown is graduating in the spring. He comments on Halifax’s seductive nature: despite initial plans to leave right after graduating, he’ll spend the summer here learning languages. “You don’t think about it, and all of a sudden you’re a Haligonian … I have so much love for this place.”
Any further words to students?
To future BoG reps he says: “We are part of a greater whole … Look forward to the opportunity of engaging as a single unit in this beautiful functioning mechanism of King’s.” Also, a good BoG rep will ensure students’ ideas are raised. “Students have excellent ideas and innovative ways to help repair our school, given the appropriate forums to do so.”

By David J. Shuman

David is the current editor-in-chief of The Watch and writes on student issues and events. Find him on Twitter: @DavidJShuman

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