In Focus News Profiles

President: Goessaert and Sam race is fresh blood versus experience

Thomas Goessaert has never served on the KSU, but says that his outsider status would offer a fresh perspective. Michaela Sam’s been with the KSU every year she’s been at King’s.

Thomas Goessaert (Photo: Jacob Baker-Kretzmar)

First time KSU candidate Thomas Goessaert says that his “involvement in King’s is similar to any student.”
A second-year student, Goessaert served as a frosh leader, attends CUBE intramurals and has attended academic advisory council meetings.
Last year, he was involved with the end of year FYP review, which he says gave him insight into financial systems and admissions into FYP.
Goessaert has never served on the KSU, but says that his outsider status would offer a fresh perspective.
The Watch: Why do you want to serve as KSU president?
Thomas Goessaert: I would never start this question by saying that I (think) that the current KSU president is doing a bad job. I think the hours she’s put in are phenomenal, and I think that things that they’re doing are in some ways useful… (But) the reason I want to is because the method that the current KSU is using to deal with serious issues like, especially where the large sections of your tuition dollars are going … (I think) isn’t how it should be dealt with. I think there’s a lot of animosity between the KSU and the board of governors right now, and I feel the way I want to deal with it is, to be, not necessarily more friendly towards the board of governors, but more to build a better working relationship with them. And when I say that I mean I want to build compromises between issues that suck up a lot of your tuition dollars. For example there was this $200,000 ad campaign that came up, and the KSU didn’t respond to it as well as I had hoped they would, and they didn’t even attempt to compromise in the same way that I would … I would ask, and hopefully strike a deal with them, that they would bring out at least maybe a quarter of that money so that they could bring something that current students could be proud of, and I don’t think that the current KSU is doing something in that kind of style. I think they’re a little too aggressive towards where the tuition dollars are going, and I think that a good working relationship is absolutely necessary.
Q: What experience do you have that you think will be useful for the position?
TG: This has been a big question of course, because I haven’t been in previous political things at King’s … My lack of experience for me seems to be a little bit more helpful to me in the sense that I am hoping that people can see that the current KSU is quite a tight knit group of people that I wouldn’t say is a bad thing, because they work very well together, but there is a very small amount of dissenting opinion within the KSU. And I think that having a new perspective and a new face and somebody who hasn’t had the time to be socialized into these, into the politics of it, of everything around King’s, could provide a new and fresher perspective on all the goings on of the KSU. That might not be necessarily conducive to all the members agreeing, but I don’t think that all the members of the KSU should always agree. And I think that it’s important to have somebody new, and somebody who hasn’t been doing this for as long as other people might have been.
Q: Since it is your first time running, why is it the role of president that you’re running for, rather than one of the VP roles, or something else?

More candidate profiles
Student life vice-president
Financial vice-president
External vice-president
Communications vice-president
BOG reps

TG: I thought I was a very good social face to have, for the KSU and for relationships with other schools. I’m very good at working with, directly with people, in the sense that I can be professional, and I can also be a friend to a lot of different organizations… The president is really, after all the dust settles, they are the person who is going to get thrown under the bus, or you know, they’re going to be the person who’s praised. And, I can handle both the negative aspect of that, and the positive aspect of that. I can handle it with a certain amount of dignity and grace.
Q: Is there anything that people should know about you?
TG: It’s very difficult for me to get angry about things, like, on a personal level. I’m very capable of being a professional person in a professional environment, and as soon as I’m outside of that professional environment, be the same social creature as everyone else. But, I’m obviously going to maintain the image of what the KSU president has to be.
Profile by Sarah MacMillan

Michaela Sam (Photo: Jacob Baker-Kretzmar)

Michaela Sam’s been with the King’s Students’ Union every year she’s been at the university. The third-year Early Modern Studies and History student started off as first-year representative, then was elected as the communications vice-president and is the current student-life vice-president. This election season she’s campaigning for the top job available.
 She’s done the math and says she’s been on over 20 committees and attended over 36 council meetings. No doubt she’s a familiar face around campus, but is it enough to win her votes?
The Watch: Why did you decide to run for president?
Michaela Sam: It took me the longest time to decide because it is such a big job… I’ve watched three different people go through this, and it’s grueling, and it’s difficult, but what I realized is that all of the work that I’ve done thus far has made so aware of how special our students are and how important they are and that’s come through the hours and the things that you can’t put into words about how proud you are of what our students do. And when you start to realize that, when you start to do this kind of work, it seems like you’re doing it because you love King’s, but I’ve realized why I love King’s is because of what our students make it and what we create our community to be. So I decided that I think that I am best fit, with all the experience that I have, with all the connections that I have, and with all the work that I’ve done thus far and would hope to do, to be able to run this union.
Q: And why have you dedicated your entire undergrad to the KSU? Why not stop after first year?
MS: I think that there was always something that I felt like I owed to the community and I think that’s why a lot of people do so much of the work that they do at King’s… And for some reason because I felt like King’s had given me so much when I was in my first year, knowing that if I’d gone to another university my experience would not have been the same, I felt like I had to give something back. But that changed every year that I’ve run, because you don’t run and start a campaign not thinking about the work that you’ve done and not reflecting on the work that you’ve done and what you would do differently.
Q: What makes a good president?
MS: I think first and foremost, it’s ensuring that your team is ready to go once frosh week hits. And I think that there are a lot of conversations that go into that and being aware of how one another works and that’s the thing that makes or breaks. When you see the union being really active, it’s because we’re a good team and that means supporting each other as a team and each win you have is a win for the team. I think that’s a big part of it. But I think also, being able to be receptive to feedback is really huge, and then being able to understand what conversations need to be had… Being able to have those conversations and invite the right people into the room and invite anyone who wants to be in on those conversations in the room, having the ability to have that vision and being able to be not only accountable but accessible to your members all the time, in every way. And that means you need to ensure that this university is accessible in the first place, through its tuitions fees, that means that you need to be able to hold open town halls… You need to be able to be accessible in the way that you lead and in the way that you are at council and the positions that you take. I think all of those things are some of the most crucial things that go into being president.
Q: If you don’t get elected how will your role change in the school?
MS: There are a couple of projects that I would still be working on because when you get elected to a committee sometimes you get elected as a student representative of your particular position and sometimes you get elected as a human being so I would still carry on work with the strategic planning process. That means the academic plan and the enrollment plan, work that would carry through the end of the year. Otherwise it would mean that I’d just be writing my thesis next year, slamming out the 80 pages of a history thesis.
Q: What are you proud of?
MS: I’m really proud when I get to see people that wouldn’t think to be involved get involved in a way that is exciting for them and in a way that makes me really, really proud. Like proud mother yelling at a soccer game kind of proud. And not the kind mother, but the one that brought the oranges and is elbowing the other team.
Profile by Allie Darwin

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

2 replies on “President: Goessaert and Sam race is fresh blood versus experience”

I didn’t find Goessart’s first point to be incoherent at all. In fact, it made a lot of sense to me. The KSU has been promoting a powerful ‘us against them (whoever they may be)’ mentality in this past year and I think a change of attitude is precisely what is called for.

Leave a Reply