KSU Election 2021: BOG Rep Candidate Overview

Editor’s note: this article is a part of a series of candidate interviews. The Board of Governor’s representatives are responsible for sitting on the Board as voting members, representing the interests of students, and reporting events that happen at the Board to KSU Council.

Naomi Puddicombe

Naomi Puddicombe (she/her) is a first-year student pursuing a combined honours in Philosophy and Law, Justice and Society. Although she is new to King’s, Puddicombe belonged to societies in high school including Yearbook and Cheetahs for Charity, a volunteer club.

She currently volunteers for the Halifax Humanities Society, which enables lower income students to study classic texts with university professors who volunteer their time for free. Puddicombe was also the captain of her volleyball team, the Sackville Sonics, and now plays for the King’s volleyball team.

Puddicombe said struggles she had with her mental health in high school helped teach her about the importance of community. She said she wants students to feel validated.

“I never want to make someone feel like I’m not actually hearing them,” she said.

As a teen, Puddicombe said she often feels overlooked and unheard by adults and authoritative figures. She decided to run for a position as Board of Governors Representative to offer the perspective of the absolute youth at King’s and to speak up for others.

“I think that it would be a very good opportunity for me to use my skills and communication to make sure that the voices are heard at each level of the King’s students in each level of their degrees,” she said.

What does she want to do in the role? “What the students want.”

Puddicombe says that while she has plans to address her own issues, she’s committed to listening to students.

“I want to hear what the students feel are the problems, because it’s not me who’s there for me, I’m there for everybody else,” she said. “I want to be a listener.”

In terms of her own plans, Puddicombe wants to address equality issues by spreading awareness and developing strategies. She said she thinks that equality education, in terms of gender and race, should be mandatory for staff and faculty at King’s.

“There is still so much discrimination, whether people are aware that they’re doing this or not,” she said.

Puddicombe says transparency is a crucial step to informing students. To ensure that meeting reports are accessible to all students, Puddicombe says she wants to provide a second copy of each lengthier report that highlights the main concerns. She says she also wants to create an Instagram page or dedicate a section of the KSU’s page where meeting highlights can be posted for students who don’t have time to read the entire report. She also wants to ensure that reports are accessible for students with visual impairments or learning disabilities.

Next year, Puddicombe will be living five minutes away from King’s. If elected, she plans to have office hours when students can contact her. If possible, she’ll meet with students in person. If not, she plans to be available through social media platforms. She’s also planning to have an anonymous form of contact through Google Docs.

Tessa Hill

Tessa Hill (she/they) is a second-year student studying towards a combined honours in Contemporary Studies and English. Last year, she served as the King’s Students’ Union’s Arts Representative, which she said helped her learn how the KSU works as a whole.

Hill is also a student representative on the Sexual Violence Policy Implementation and Advocacy Advisory Committee at King’s.

From 13 to 18 years old, Hill engaged with advocacy work concerning school sex education and the importance of youth having a say in it. Through her advocacy, Hill said she was introduced to the “adult world of how things work and how conversations go,” which she said has prepared her to engage with student advocacy at an institutional level.

“You come with your ideals and then the other side comes with their ideals, which are entirely different, and usually speak entirely different languages. And walking into that space is about finding common ground between those two languages,” she said.

Hill said she’s always been interested in the Board of Governors Representative position. She learned more about it from two of her friends who held it last year. She credits her interest in the position to her ability to find common ground with people.

“It really is about collaboration and communication,” she said.

Hill wants to have a collaborative effort with the other Board of Governors Representative and the general student population.

“It’s not up to the BOG (Board of Governors) rep to go into that space as their own idealist with their own agenda,” Hill said. “It’s about figuring out, ‘What does the King’s community need right now?’”

Hill said that administration and its decision-making bodies can be inaccessible to the general student body. She also said that the institutional language used in lengthy documents doesn’t make information easily accessible. For her, translation is integral to the Board of Governors Representative position. She said she plans to understand and interpret information at meetings and then debrief it for students.

“You’re trying to hone in on what it is that the King’s community needs to know, what’s important, what’s relevant, what’s urgent, and what’s helpful in terms of how it connects to every other issue,” she said.

Next year, Hill will be studying about eight minutes away from campus. She plans to be accessible to students by email, social media and office hours.

Miriam MacQuarrie

Miriam MacQuarrie (she/her) is a third-year student pursing a combined honours in Gender and Women’s Studies and Sociology. She works as a student liaison for the Sexual Violence Policy Implementation and Advocacy Advisory Committee at King’s.

In high school, she took part in Model United Nations, in which she debated, spoke publicly and prepared arguments.

Last summer, MacQuarrie began advocating for various causes via her social media platforms by sharing and commenting on content. She said she wanted to counter hatred and ignorance she observed in her community.

“I saw that there was a real importance to show my position and give the right information to the people that were following me,” she said.

MacQuarrie began receiving DMs from people in her community responding to the content she shared, initiating conversations.

MacQuarrie said that leaving a toxic community and coming to King’s brought her to a sort of “social awakening.”

“I’ve been so privileged as a white woman in an affluent family in a good city to not face a lot of the common problems that women start to face from day one. But now I’m here and I’m away of it and I’m starting to face it personally and see it around me.”

Within her role on the Sexual Violence Policy Implementation and Advocacy Advisory Committee at King’s, MacQuarrie said she learned to stand up for what students want, a skill she said transfers to the position of Board of Governors Representative.

“A lot of the time, it’s talking to administration and being like, ‘No, we know personally, this is the best thing for students.”

MacQuarrie is focused on student help advocacy and student culture building. She wants to build easy pathways for students to lead initiatives, skill share and organize student activities on campus. She also plans to advocate for issues including mental health resources, sexual health resources, menstrual health resources, safe substance use resources, health insurance clarity, dining hall meal decisions and food sourcing.

MacQuarrie is currently pursuing a research certificate in her sociology class. She plans to gain student feedback in various ways including student accounts, large surveys, questionnaires and interviews. 

To make information accessible to students, MacQuarrie wants to create a Google Doc that prioritizes non-authoritarian language that students can access.

Next year, she’ll be studying about five minutes off-campus. She plans to be available to students through office hours and by email.

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