What is the role of the FSU president?

An image of the Fanshawe Student Union office. The message on the wall states: Students Serving Students CREDIT: HANNAH THEODORE
The President should be a role model, a person committed to their studies with a goal set of being successful, dedicated to their peers and to their success.

Fanshawe Student Union (FSU) elections are coming which means it’s time for the student body to choose a new FSU president. But why even bother? Does it really affect students?

The biggest misconception about the FSU is probably that all we do is organize events. While events are a big part of what we do, we also represent students and advocate for them. As Finance Coordinator for the Student Union this last year, I have been able to act in the best interest of the students and really care about them. I believe that is what our positions are for. I had the opportunity to know two great presidents and student leaders whose focus was the students. As a Fanshawe student and soon, alumnus who is now aware of the role’s importance, I feel concerned about who will represent us. That’s why I’m writing this article.

The president’s role is of great importance; it is our president who represents more than 20,000 Fanshawe College students, more than five per cent of London’s population. The president is the person who we decide will act and speak on our behalf. There is a misconception by many, that the president is just someone whose pictures and face will be all over the place and on every cover. Many think that becoming the president is about being present at events, giving out swag or free tickets. In reality, the president has so many things to do, that they barely have the energy left to go to most of the events. This role demands the person be energetic, relentless, and resilient in advocating on behalf of any Fanshawe Falcon.

The Fanshawe College Student Services and Here For You logos are shown. A young woman is shown sitting at a desk. Text states: Supoort comes in many forms. Experience flexible services that support you where you are. myfanshawe.ca/hereforyou

But who is the president? In my opinion, the president is the person setting the standard, not only representing Fanshawe students but also Fanshawe alumni. The president should be a role model, a person committed to their studies with a goal set of being successful, dedicated to their peers and to their success. They can do this by just getting to know the students, listening, and being there when they would need support. The president will be regarded as the Fanshawe Golden Standard, and if we think about it, depending on our selection, that person will open or close the doors for students and alumni, opening or shutting opportunities in the job market too. The person that we elect should be looked up to and admired, not just as a figure, but for their value.

Fanshawe is a diverse community, with students representing 119 citizenships. The president should act on behalf of every Fanshawe student without bias. However, the proposals should take all of us into consideration, and that includes alumni. The president should have the best interest of the students in mind before any personal agenda. This person should be willing to let their own obsessions go for the community's benefit and act for what the students actually need and want.

Any person can also make fake promises. We understand how this goes. There should be no lies or cheating, the process should be fair. It is not a masquerade show, where the candidates change their appearance just to get votes. It should not just be about whose face you see the most on social media, at times, even taking opportunities away from students to achieve their own goals for their own personal success. The president should be a person of truth, understanding that the value is not in the clothes worn.

Many believe that being president will provide connections for their own future, which is partially true, as the position attracts many people who need the students’ representation for validation. However, it is on that person to actually use these contacts to make a change for the students and not just the president’s own interest. It is important for us to vote, and choose carefully, a person who is already of value without the title or new clothes or image, as it may just be a mirage.

In my ideal world, the best candidate may be the one that was working until late, committed to helping others, willing to listen to our problems, and concerned with the willingness to bring them forward and find a solution. Perhaps, we haven’t been able to see that person on social media or at any events because, for that person, life is more about others and common success.

In my personal opinion, leaders should guide by example. There is no room for imposing personalities in the role who believe that people will be under their command. The FSU president’s position should be in line with the values of the FSU overall: focused on student servitude. After all, the Student Union is a non-profit that has more than 20,000 members, with a board of directors and a president who serves all of us.

The presidential election should not be a popularity contest where we vote depending on our country, region, gender, or skin colour. It is not about who we met at events or who gave us things, who is best dressed and best sells us the masquerade. It should be about who best represents us, who actually deserves to carry our banner and who we feel can better represent us in the community.

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.