New USSU President aims to engage students
While the tuition issue is unlikely to disappear completely during his term, the incoming president of the U of S Students’ Union (USSU) hopes to focus students’ attention in new areas over the coming year.
“I’m expecting a year of trying to engage students to care more about what’s going on on campus and what’s going on in the province,” said Evan Cole who will replace Gavin Gardner as president May 1. Cole said developments like the New Learning Centre deserve attention because they speak to the quality of education at the U of S, “and at the rates of tuition we pay, we have the right to expect a better quality of education.”
Cole, who is vice-president of academic affairs, may be best known for breaking solidarity with the USSU executive and running a “No” campaign during last year’s referendum on joining the Canadian Federation of Students. The third-year education student who is also completing a math degree was elevated to the office of president in student elections March 1-2. That election saw 2,832 votes cast which is only 15.5 per cent of the student body, but Cole said the turn-out was relatively high “considering there was no referendum included with the election.”
During his term, Cole said he will take the maximum number of classes allowed, which is four – two during the summer and one in each of the 2006-07 terms. “I learned my lesson this year, trying to take two classes in each term and I ended up having to drop one in each term.” That said, he has no concerns about delaying completion of his studies in order to participate in student government.
“I’ve been around campus long enough that I’m ready for a bit of a break”, and the interpersonal and diplomatic skills he has acquired – “soft skills that you wouldn’t learn in the classroom.” – have made his time so far with the USSU “the best learning experience of my life.”
Also elected to the USSU executive for 2006-07 were: Ashlee Smith, a second-year political studies student, as vice-president student issues; Brad Flavell, in his third year of history, as vice-president academic affairs; Cody Lang, a third-year Commerce student, as vice president operations; and Alice Collins, who is in her second year of international studies at STM, as vice-president external.