FSU presidential candidates address plans for stronger communication, student engagement
Credit: ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF EMILY STEWART
FSU presidential spoke of their platforms and answered questions from the audience in Forwell Hall on Oct. 3. Pictured below are Julia Brown, Ben Clements, Amanda Meunier, and Keren Nanneti.
Following speeches from both presidential candidates and potential directors for the Student Administrative Council (SAC), the floor was open for questions for Julia Brown, Ben Clements, Amanda Meunier, and Keren Nanneti. The speeches and Q&A were streamed to the FSU Facebook page and the Downtown Campus Amphitheatre.
Interrobang asked how the communication between students and the FSU will be improved, as the presidential candidates and some SAC director candidates said they wanted to implement stronger communication.
Clements talked about his survey initiative, which he also addressed in his speech and when answering about changes he’d like to bring to Fanshawe. He said it would the first thing he’d do if he were elected and would ensure the FSU and the students are on the same page.
“I think it’s important for everybody to get involved with the culture and the community of the school,” he said.
Nanneti said she has thought a lot about communication, and that she would have more class representative meetings and possibly include the reps in other FSU meetings.
“The representatives from each class can be involved in the meeting and all of the problems or anything that every student face can talk to the class reps and they can come to us,” she said.
She would also like to train volunteers who can speak on behalf of the FSU to students.
Brown also said she’s thought about communication often and said it’s a multi-faceted approach. She spoke of what she called “coffees and chats”, where she’ll sit at a meeting spot for students to come chat with her about their concerns. She agreed with Nanneti about having trained volunteers speak on behalf of the FSU.
“We need to properly train our volunteers to be able to represent us like having a thorough orientation,” Brown said. “So that we’re not just, again, throwing them out on a shift and expecting them to be able to answer the questions that they will inevitably get, because they are our frontline.”
Meunier would like to implement having an online platform for student discussion.
“I know that it’s not easy for a lot of students to physically reach out, come see me in the hallway or see me in the library,” Meunier said. “So I hope to have a digital accessible area for you guys to be able to email me or some sort of live area where you can ask me the questions and I’ll be able to answer them, even if I’m not necessarily here or in an accessible location at the College for you.”
A student in the audience asked how the London South Campus, which has been part of Fanshawe since September, will be involved.
“I think it’s just about getting out to the students, you know, in ways with electronical means, utilizing FOL, and then first and foremost by getting out basically into those campuses and getting in touch with the students,” Clements said.
Nanneti said she’ll increase the London South Campus events and their accessibility, while also encouraging the students from Fanshawe’s newest campus to come down to main campus events.
“As I already said in my speech, I really care. I really do care about all of the campuses out there,” she said. “So every person in every campus has the right to access every facility that FSU provides, as well as what Fanshawe provides.”
Brown said that the FSU is still working on communication with the London South Campus. She noted that since there are currently no poster boards on that campus, FSU events and services are promoted to students via social media only.
“Frankly, it’s a little unacceptable. There have been deadlines missed because they weren’t aware of them for scholarships, for FSU events, for tickets for things,” she said. “Like we need to do a lot of work to be able to engage the South Campus. I’m fully committed to doing that.”
Meunier said that she wants to advocate for London South Campus by hosting events on the campus and being present there at least monthly. In her speech, she mentioned she’s lived in Strathroy, Ont., a small community about 40 minutes away from London, for the past decade.
“With South being a smaller school and being from a small community, I know that fostering a sense of community at that school first is what’s going to help us get to the bigger step of getting those students more ingrained in our programs here right at main.”
The candidates were also asked about changes they would bring to campus and how they would talk to students about climate change. All candidates said they would engage with the student as part of their initiatives for environmental awareness.
You can vote starting Oct. 7 until Oct. 10 at 2 p.m. via Fanshawe Online (FOL). The FSU by-election results will be announced in The Out Back Shack at 3 p.m.
Visit fsu.ca/elections to find out more about the candidates for FSU president and the SAC Board of Directors.