Gabriel Goodman hails from the West Coast, recently moving east to take on the Foundation Year Programme. He since has gone from participatory democracy in Occupy Vancouver to Robert’s Rules at the King’s Students’ Union. Now he’s your first-year student representative.
It’s only by 11 votes that he got the job at all, narrowly squeaking by Emma Morris, in a race with five contenders. But Goodman got it, and says he’s jumping right in.
The Watch: What made you apply for the First Year Rep position?
Gabriel Goodman: Well, I had always been interested in the idea of union, and coalition, and being a part of a large unit. And joining the student body of King’s, it made sense that I would then join the Union of the student body of King’s, because if I wanted to be a part of a larger organization that represented myself and represented others like me, then joining the student body and the other organization that represented them made sense.
W: Did you have any previous experience in politics, or coalitions, or larger bodies?
GG: This is similar to what I said in my speech, but I was involved in Occupy Vancouver, which was an experiment in participatory democracy, and I was involved in the student government at my school, which wasn’t elected, so there were very few politics involved. But I was involved in organization of a larger body of students.
W: How do you plan to deal with your bias in regards to residence and day students?
GG: I think the most important thing in this is that the day students are just as much a part of this school as anyone else is. I just happen to live on campus and they don’t. They live elsewhere. They also have advantages that I don’t have… On the down side, I think it’s terrible that they don’t have anywhere to eat food. That it’s a chore for them to stay on campus because of the cost. That they have nowhere really comfortable, other than the Wardroom. And that they don’t hold any particular special standing in the meal hall, for example. I think we should come to some sort of agreement with the meal hall about having day students be able to get a couple of meals a week. They don’t need more than a lunch a day, three lunches a week would be enough. They could now eat with students, they could now eat with everybody. They don’t need to be isolated for part of the day.
How do I plan on dealing with my own bias? Communication. Dialogue. I’m a representative, not a figurehead for these people. I need to meet with them, and I need to find out what they think is best, and then push those interests and not my own.
W: This naturally leads into the next question, which is what are your goals for this year? What would you like to see changed or implemented?
GG: Rip up the damn quad. Sod it over. I want grass. None of this terrible cement, first of all. I’m very passionate that we need to have a green quad. And that all those people who drive cars can suck it. Which might be a bit of a residence bias, but I really doubt it because I don’t think any of the day students drive cars either, it’s only the profs that do… But I think we need a green quad. We have a new president this year, so maybe things will change. I’ve heard this issue has been raised in the past, but perhaps circumstances are right to make some progress on it. I’d like to see progress on the day student meal hall issue; I think that’s a great place to start.
Another thing is that I’m a first year. I’m coming into this community. I’m not a leader in this community yet, and my position within the first year reflects that, I’m a representative not a leader. So, I think that’s also true for the first year (representative), but it’s true for us as a whole as a student body. All the first years are coming into this.