By Kristy Koehler, September 6 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.’ We introduced you to the executives, now let’s meet the Faculty Representatives. Faculty of Arts Representative Ayotomiwa Oje tells her story.
The Gauntlet: What do you do in your role?
Ayotomiwa Oje: As an arts representative, I represent and vouch for the best interests of the students in the faculty of arts. Because the arts faculty is so vast and large, there are three other arts representatives so we can better represent all students within the faculty. In this role, I am expected to sit on at least one SU committee per semester and sit on at least one university or faculty committee per semester. This is to ensure that I am involved in the dialogue and conversations that affect students in my faculty and students in the university at large. I am expected to attend as many Student Legislative Council (SLC) meetings as I can in order to report on the things I have done for the week and to vote on legislations the SU will pass. A large part of my duty as an arts representative is to host and create events that will benefit students in my faculty.
G: Why did you run for your role?
AO: I wanted to run for this role because one of my main goals is to make every single arts student proud of their faculty. Instead of running for a position in which I would represent the student body at large, I know the most effective way to have an impact in my faculty is to be hands-on and focused only on my faculty. I wanted to put on events that would be both enjoyable and beneficial to the university experience of arts students.
G: What do you specifically plan to do within your role?
AO: I am currently planning a panel-style event that focuses on Entrepreneurship in the Arts that will take place Oct. 2 at 3 p.m. in the Hunter Hub with local entrepreneurs that have a background in the arts faculty. From talking to students, I believe that arts students feel as if entrepreneurship is only meant for Haskayne students, thus many arts students are not being fully immersed in the discussion of entrepreneurial thinking that is making a wave throughout this university. I am hoping that this event will inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs and an arts degree arms students with specific qualities to conquer new markets.
Another thing I want to plan within this role is to collaborate with the Consent Awareness and Sexual Education club on campus, to push for all syllabuses to require having some sort of reference to sexual violence policy and resources. Because 41 per cent of all sexual violence cases in Canada happen on a campus, I believe that this is a small yet impactful step for raising awareness of sexual violence policy and consequently making campus a safer place for all students.
I also plan on working with career services to create an arts faculty-specific career fair with domestic and international industries tailored for arts and fine arts students because education students have their own career fair and science and engineering students have their own career fair. As the largest faculty, I believe it is only fair that students in arts have the same opportunities for career development and growth.
Lastly, in collaboration with the other arts reps, we plan to put on events that will increase student engagement within the arts faculty and that would create opportunities for students to interact with their representatives, get to know us and ask questions about things that concern them. We are currently brainstorming some events that would be both fun and interactive such as mini doughnuts and hot chocolates and a cotton candy machine.
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?
AO: The Student Legislative Council (SLC) is the highest governing body of the Students’ Union. The Elected Officials (EO) sit on the SLC and come together to address issues that concern all UCalgary undergraduate students. The SLC meets weekly on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. These meetings are open to all students to sit through. The SLC also has committees that represent specific issues such as a Clubs Committee, Nominations Committee, Refugee Student Board and Quality Money Committee. The SLC also votes on legislation that impacts the SU and students at large.
G: A year from now, when you are done your role, what do you want to look back on and see?
AO: A year from now when I’m done this role, I want to look back on what I’ve accomplished and be proud of it. Regardless of if I am able to accomplish all my goals, I want to know I worked hard at accomplishing my goals and be proud of the hard work I have put into this role.
G: What’s one thing that you’ve learned now that you wish you had learned in the past?
AO: One thing I’ve learned now that I wished I in the past is the importance of taking time to ensure that your mental health is in check. Things like anxiety and depression can be extremely debilitating and can affect every aspect of your daily life. In the beginning of my university career, I would have benefitted extremely from seeking proper help that could give me the right mechanisms to cope with mental health issues instead of trying to tough it out myself.
G: How can students get in contact with you if they need you?
AO: Students can get in contact with through my email: firstname.lastname@example.org. This is my private email that no one else has access to. Students can also reach out to my Instagram @tomiwaoje. To reach all the arts reps you can contact us through Instagram @suartsrep and Facebook @ Students’ Union Arts Reps – U of C.