There are two candidates running for student-life vice-president: Emy Dunleavy-Lachmann and Kaitlyn MacNeill. MacNeill (she/her) is a second-year journalism student.
Student-life VP duties include liaising with societies and helping plan O-week.
Editor’s note: Dunleavy-Lachmann could not be reached by the time of publishing. Additionally, due to an error, we have to confirm the pronouns and program of MacNeill. We apologize to the reader and MacNeill for the inconvenience.
Q: What experiences equipped you for this position?
A: I’m currently student life VP, I served from around March last year up until now. I’m running again because I really love this position. It was a really great experience for me to meet students and staff from all across campus.
Last year I did all my work online, remotely from my house, so I felt kind of isolated from everyone else at King’s who were all the way in Halifax. Being in my role as student life VP has helped me to interact with students and learn what the student body at King’s is really all about.
One of my favourite initiatives that I did was I actually made an Instagram page that helped students find housing because there was a huge housing crisis during the summer and I know a lot of students came to me with concerns about finding a place to live so I helped a few students connect with each other who weren’t able to find places to live. I helped students who were looking for roommates as well. I had a really great run and I hope to have another one next year.
Q: What do you feel is the biggest issue for students on campus, and what do you plan to do to fix it?
A: Right now I think a lot of students are struggling with interacting with each other due to COVID-19, especially students in residence. There’s been a few different cases of COVID-19 and students have had to self-isolate. One way I might want to solve this issue is by having some kind of online space where students or residents of all the different residences can come together and chat.
I think this would be an interesting thing to do, maybe on a Discord forum of some sort. I think it’s really important to connect all different residences, because I know being residents, especially in first-year, sets the precedent for who you’ll become friends with and what kind of student that you’re going to become, so I really want to give resident students a chance, especially those that are feeling isolated, to be able to connect with their fellow students in a space that everyone can be in together without having to worry about restrictions.
Q: What is one thing you have done at King’s to improve the lives of students?
A: I helped bring a lot of societies back from the dead last year. Obviously, with schooling online, societies weren’t able to host in-person events, and so they had to only host online ones. This semester, I really put my all into helping societies reinvent themselves and host in-person events. There was a new student who was looking to start a…society. I helped him get ratified and everything like that.
Right now, they’re just starting off and I think it’s a really great initiative because I know with isolation a lot of students are really facing mental health issues. Not just because of COVID-19 restrictions and things like that, but just the workload can definitely take a toll on students, especially when it’s done online. I think the mental wellness society is something I’m really proud that I was able to help get started. I think it’s something that will really, really help students this year.
Q: Students in residence feel isolated and not listened to. In your role, what would you do to help connect with students and get them the support they need?
A: I think connecting students, it’s definitely something that the role of student VP is really there for and so I really put my all into trying to connect students to different societies, …some students that have reached out to me [when] they’re interested in certain things and they’ve asked me, “which society do you think would be best for this?” And I’ve directed them to those kinds of things. I feel like interests are a really great way for people to meet and societies and clubs are obviously the best way to do that for students.
So I think helping students connect with other people that share the same interests as them is something that’s really important because I think it’s a vital part of being in university, finding people that share the same interests as you and people that you can really connect with and will help you socially and mentally.
Q: Student life at universities around the world has been stunted by COVID-19. At King’s, specifically thinking about O-Week and societies. What is your plan to re-vitalize student life?
A: Something I really want to do more is have some different online workshops. They wouldn’t be your run-of-the-mill boring Zoom lectures. I want to make them really fun and interactive. I wanted to have a workshop related to travel. By that I mean, I want to do one that will help students navigate the transit system and Halifax buses.
I was hoping if COVID-19 permits, I wanted to have it in person, but should we have to have it online, I definitely want to make it really interactive. I want to invite some professionals that work in the transit department to maybe come in and help students learn more about how to navigate, especially for new students like first-years and second-years.