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Who’s Who in the SU: Vice-president student life

By Gurman Sahota, July 22 2019 —

In an effort to introduce new — or even continuing — students to representatives in the Students’ Union and in the Students’ Legislative Council, the Gauntlet is running the series, ‘Who’s Who in the SU.’ The third installment introduces Alisha Gordon, vice president student life of the SU. Elected in March 2019, Gordon began her term on May 1, 2019 and will be in the role until the end of April 2020.  

The Gauntlet: What do you do in your role?

Alisha Gordon: I like to look at myself as an internal advocate for students and for everything outside of the classroom. So anything that has to do with mental health, sexual violence and then finally clubs.

G: Why did you run for vice-president student life?

AG: I really struggled when I first came to university, and I think I saw a lot of my other friends struggling with university as well. It didn’t really seem like university was for me, specifically. As much as I disliked the experience, I saw other people in leadership roles, instead of just sitting back and just kind of hanging out your whole university experience, they really got involved to try and make changes — that really inspired me. And I hope that when my niece is going to university, or my children go to university, they’re going to have a much better experience than I first had. Since getting involved, it’s broadened my horizons. I’ve learned to love this experience.

G: What do you plan to do within your role as VP SL?

AG: I sit on a lot of university committees, so I look forward to being a strong student voice on those committees. In terms of my own special projects, I’m going to be continuing the Stress Buster workshops. I will be working to start sexual violence prevention workshops within the SU. And then lastly, a clubs advisory board. This advisory board will consist of around 20 club executives, who meet four times a year with the clubs committee to provide feedback.

G: For someone who doesn’t know what Students’ Legislative Council is, how would you describe it? And how would you describe what it does?

AG: They are students, and that’s at the base of it. All except executives are full time students for the most part. They’re really feet-on-the-ground, they know what students are going through, they’re talking to their classmates, they’re talking to their friends, they’re talking in the clubs, and they’re really there to give that student perspective. 

And what SLC does is that it’s a decision-making body for the Students’ Union, so any decisions that need to go through the Students Union go through SLC. 

G: You’ve been with SLC for a while now, how has SLC evolved within your tenure here?

AG: In my previous roles, as a senator, you don’t sit on SLC, but you come to the meetings, and you’re like that external person. It’s a really interesting experience for me, going from the outside and delving right into an executive role. 

In my view, I’ve seen SLC become more diverse, we’re having a lot more people who aren’t just the hyper-engaged. We’re able to connect with more and more different students over the past three or four years I’ve been on this campus — that’s been really cool to see.

G: A year from now, when you are done your role, what do you want to look back on and see?

AG: I really hope that I can look back on this role and see that I was a strong advocate for students and that when I’m going to these committee meetings that I’m putting my foot down and representing students to the best of my ability. I hope to engage with as many students as possible, and hear what they have to say. 

But within the SU, I hope the projects that I’m working on are really successful, and I can engage a lot of students through them as well.

G: What’s one thing that you’ve learned now that you wish you had learned in the past?

AG: Looking back on my whole university experience, I wish I got involved earlier. I’m privileged to be in this role, but if I could start my first-year and not have that bad experience, and maybe go to orientation and really join clubs early on, I think I really would have appreciated that.

G: How can students get in contact with you if they need you?

AG: What I like to encourage is to come to SLC on Tuesday. It’s a really good opportunity to see what the SU does, what the SLC does. And there’s an opportunity to ask questions or to talk to us before and after. But other than that, students can definitely come to my office, or they can reach me by email.

For more information or to contact the SU vice-president student life, send an email at suvplife@ucalgary.ca.

Read about all of your elected representatives here.

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