SAM LAMBERT PLATFORM
READ ABOUT HOW SAM IS ALWAYS PUTTING YOU FIRST!
ALWAYS PUTTING YOU FIRST For as long as I’ve been a Golden Hawk I’ve been unbelievably proud. Proud to attend this amazing school and to learn about the great things its staff and students can accomplish together. It is because of this overwhelming sense of pride that I am running for your Students’ Union President, to strengthen the bonds that make this Laurier community something to brag about. This platform stems from a desire to channel the passion and love I have for Laurier into change that is tangible for each and every student. The purpose of the Students’ Union is to advocate on behalf of students, which is why every aspect of this platform begins and ends with you.
My vision for the Students’ Union is one of strong relationships with internal and external partners, consistent communication and transparency, and a student-first mentality in everything the organization pursues. My goal is to leverage the experience I have in various diverse levels of this university to ensure that the Students’ Union is accomplishing its mandate of representing each and every undergraduate student.
Every student has a right to have his or her voice heard by the Students’ Union. As a student-run and funded organization the major focus of the Student’ Union is to provide the best services and representation for the Laurier student, and that is exactly what I am striving to do.
1) Student Financial Distress Element: To invite community and campus partners in to a part-time job fair at the beginning of the year. This will allow students the opportunity to connect and potentially gain employment with these organizations. In addition, the Students’ Union will reach out to local financial institutions to setup office hours in house for students to help manage and eliminate the financial stress of paying for school. REASON: Students identify financial distress as one of the most relevant problems they face day to day. As tuition fees and living costs increase, so does the debt load of the average university student. A way many students seek to minimize this financial burden is through part-time work, although finding a position can be difficult in the Waterloo area. A part-time job fair to help connect students with the opportunities available to them is an additional resource the Union can provide to help support students further. Managing earned money is also an area that many students struggle with, as there are a number of things the average Golden Hawk has to pay for. Having individuals experienced in dealing with student financial advisory to speak to the basics of banking and financial planning will help to further relieve this burden.
2) Study Space Element: Part of what makes Laurier unique and special is its small size. An unfortunate drawback of this is that during the busiest times, there is a shortage of accessible student study space. The Students’ Union will book out unused classrooms and designate them as common study space. REASON: Often during these peak study periods, there are many unused classrooms across campus. Sometimes, a single student will occupy an entire classroom to him or herself to study. The logic behind the proposed solution is that going forward, a single student will no longer occupy a space that has the potential to be used by over 50. Booking out multiple classrooms and advertising them as common quiet study space (no different from the concourse or science atrium) will allow hundreds of additional students to find usable study space on campus.
3) Campus Safety Element: To introduce more “Celebrity Nights” with Foot Patrol to increase the service’s awareness and overall usage. REASON: Foot Patrol is an incredibly valuable part of our campus. Its volunteers work tirelessly to ensure that there is a safe walk available for those who need it. Unfortunately, there are still many students who do not use or know about the service. This concept involves volunteers from around campus and the community (Varsity Athletes, Firefighters or Police Officers) working with Foot Patrol one night a month to provide an added incentive for students to use the service. The goal is to increase usage and awareness for that one night in hopes that it translates into continued usage by those who were attracted by this initiative.
YOUNION The Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union is like any other organization; there are many things it does well, and many it can improve upon. My goal is to continue with the good, and actively work on the areas of improvement so that your experience only gets better.
1) Financial Situation Element: To continue to provide valuable and necessary services to students while dealing with the deficit and debt issued facing the Students’ Union. REASON: Financial improvement without negatively impacting the student experience is a difficult goal to achieve. It needs to begin with programs and services that are not being used by students as much or as often as they could be. The Student Lifeline program, although beneficial to students, is a large financial burden when compared with the number of students using it. Even though it is difficult to accurately measure the impact this service is having on even one student the financial burden is large enough that I am not opposed to making a difficult decision should the numbers fail to improve. The same can be said for William’s Café on the Brantford Campus, which has long been a financial burden on the Students’ Union. Addressing these large items, as well as implementing a more consistent and practical approach to budgeting for clubs and services will paint a more optimistic financial picture for the Students’ Union going forward. Most importantly, this is an area where I have significant and relevant experience, working with companies to help them through a difficult financial bind.
2) Hiring and Training Element: Revamping the volunteer hiring process to include more training to support the proposed mental health initiatives. Moreover, reintroducing an interview into the hiring process. REASON: The main idea behind the Students’ Union hiring processes and procedures is that they should accurately exemplify a hiring situation in the real world, to prepare students for the reality post-graduation. With the recent introduction of the lottery hiring system for Union volunteers, the desire for a more sound logistical strategy has overshadowed the main goal of the process, and has hurt the student experience. It is my goal to reintroduce an interview, whether in the traditional sense or in a carousel format, to ensure that the best possible candidates are being selected for the positions and that students are gaining real-world experience from the process. Further, more in-depth training is needed for volunteers in the area of mental health. Situational training to help student leaders provide guidance in a peer-to-peer setting is extremely valuable, especially considering the volume of students Counselling Services and other mental health support systems around campus are facing. Student Affairs has indicated a strong desire to improve the training for volunteers to further improve the lives of students across campus, and I definitely share that desire.
YOUNION 3) Communication Element: To implement short, weekly VLOGs from the President and Vice-Presidents to tell students whatâ€™s happening, and to keep them in touch with the Union. The Union should continue to use emerging technologies to connect with students in exciting and engaging ways. REASON: Communication and engagement with the student body are the most important roles the Studentsâ€™ Union plays. It is impossible to represent a group of people without connecting and involving them in a variety of ways. Recent evidence has proven that the most effective ways to connect with students are easy and interesting. Students are much more likely to engage in an online question period than they are to sit and listen to a speech. The current administration has done a good job discovering and capitalizing on this trend, and it is my goal to continue, and take it even further. Weekly VLOGS from management will allow students to passively engage in the organization at regular intervals, all while promoting transparency and accountability.
4) Orientation Week Element: To take the opportunity we have been presented with in Fall Reading Days to change Orientation week for the better, and to ensure that it is providing students with the tools they need to succeed as Laurier students. REASON: Fall Reading Days will undoubtedly change the format of Orientation week, but this change presents an opportunity to improve upon something that has remained stagnant in its makeup for years. I want to gain input from students who have recently gone through Orientation week by facilitating focus groups in Residence House Councils around campus. By asking simple questions regarding what students benefitted from, what they enjoyed, and what they would have liked to see more of, the Union can gain valuable insight into how programming can change going forward to best benefit the students. Orientation weekâ€™s purpose is to integrate students into the Laurier community and set them up for success in university, and the Fall Reading days have provided us a great opportunity to do this even more effectively going forward.
YOUNIVERSITY It is the role of the Students’ Union to work with the University to provide the most enriching experience both in and out of the classroom. As it is difficult for a single student to engage the university, a large part of the role the Students’ Union plays is advocacy on behalf of the student body.
1) Counselling Services and Mental Health Element: To work in collaboration with Counselling Services and Adrienne Luft to improve the impact and effectiveness of mental health training for Students’ Union volunteers, and to work with Student Affairs to help implement more peer-to-peer resources for students to access. REASON: Student mental health has become one of the most important issues facing both students and universities in recent years. Although much is being done to help support students, there is room for the Union’s position to grow and improve. Foremost, it is important that Union volunteers are more thoroughly trained and qualified to address mental health situations. The first step is including more relevant questions and criteria in the volunteer hiring process. The second step is allocating more time during summer training weekends to situational mental health training. These changes will better prepare student volunteers to work through situations surrounding mental health, especially in aiding first-year students with a difficult transition. The second aspect of the mental health platform is similar to the first in that it is also focused around the idea of student peer support. Schools around North America are introducing more and more peer support resources, and finding they have been very successful. Student Affairs is actively seeking to implement more peer support resources for students. The Union is the perfect partner in this initiative as it has the marketing capabilities, and the ability to effectively engage and communicate with students.
2) Comprehensive Student Success Task Force Element: To bring together students, staff and faculty from various areas around campus to discuss student academic success and support, and how we can improve it. REASON: Recently, more than ever, Laurier students have been struggling to succeed academically. Although many people are concerned, there is more that can be done to ensure that Laurier students are supported through a successful academic career at Laurier. By combining the perspectives, ideas and opinions of various areas around campus including the Registrar’s office, Student Affairs, the Students’ Union, Faculty and Staff, Residence Life and others, we can come up with a more practical, long-term solution to help students succeed (similar to what is being done with the Mental Health Taskforce).
YOUNIVERSITY 3) Residence Life Element: Incorporating Residence Education Advisors more actively into the Students’ Union will create a direct link between the services provided by the Union and first year students. REASON: Residence Life and the Students’ Union operate with the same goal in mind – student success and support. These organizations have a number of opportunities to work more closely with one another to ensure this mutual goal is met, and it is my goal to ensure this opportunity is realized. Residence Education Advisors (REAs) represent the programming and campus connection sides of the Don role. They are responsible for programming for residence communities, and to act as the connection between residence and the greater Laurier community. By actively involving the REAs and training them on programs/services and available volunteer or employment opportunities for first-year students, the Students’ Union can more actively engage the student population. Training the REAs on the Student Lifeline initiative, and providing them with programs and information to use with residence communities could have a massive impact on the number of students benefitting from the service. This is just one of many ways this administration hopes to improve and develop the Union’s relationship with Residence Life.
4) Brantford Element: Building on what has been done this year with multi-campus governance, and learning as much as I can about the Brantford campus to best serve YOU. REASON: Managing and maintaining two distinct campuses is no easy task. The Students’ Union represents both Laurier Brantford, and Laurier Waterloo, and I believe that it should strive to develop a consistently amazing student experience regardless of location. I don't know the Brantford campus as well as I know the Waterloo campus, but I am committed to changing that. If elected as your president I will commit to spending at least one day on the Brantford campus every week for the summer. Instead of saying that Brantford students need the same things Waterloo students do, I will learn what you need, and make sure it is always about YOU. From what I can gather, you’re one big family, and that’s the way I want to keep it. I also believe the future of the relationship between the two campuses is much more streamlined, and I am happy to hear about the Union’s move towards a single-reporting structure. I am excited for the opportunity to help move this initiative forward, and to help our two campuses become much closer in the coming years.