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 Faculty Representatives. Faculty of Arts Representative Rayane Issa tells her story.
The Gauntlet: What do you do in your role?
Rayane Issa: As an Arts Representative, my role focuses on advocating for students within the Faculty of Arts. A lot of my role is focused on addressing issues that Arts students might be facing and work towards making their University experience both worthwhile and fun.
G: Why did you run for your role?
RI: When I enrolled in university, I had one plan and that was to get in, get my degree and leave. It was never a part of the plan to get involved in student politics. This all changed after talking to several students in my faculty about what we think are some pillars that need to be improved within our faculty, whether it was education, infrastructure or health-wise. Then, those same students encouraged me to run on these exact platform points. Having that kind of support and realizing what our faculty lacks sparked a passion in me.
G: What do you specifically plan to do within your role?
RI: My platform consists of three major projects that I will be working on during my term as an Arts Representative. The first one focuses on Arts Opportunity. I am hoping to expand relationships between the faculty and students by hosting interactive events. I am also looking at engaging students and understanding what some issues are in the faculty that matter to them, from job opportunities to co-op as well as scholarships.
My second initiative focuses on Arts Infrastructure. There are a couple of projects and applications that I am working on that are concerned with improving the Arts buildings and student study spaces in order to improve the students’ overall experience.
The third project that I am working on comes from the utmost need for more mental health programming on campus. This should be an internal priority for everyone here on campus, and I intend to push for better mental health programming not only for my faculty’s students but for all students.
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?
RI: I believe that it is extremely crucial for all students to know the role of the Student Legislative Council (SLC). This council is made of students, for students. The council is made up of 19 faculty representatives, four in which are Arts, and five executives. This council meets every Tuesday during the academic year and periodically over the spring and summer. Those meetings take place in the evening and are open for all students to attend. When SLC does meet, we discuss issues and topics that are brought forward to us. The meeting aims at understanding these issues, and planning steps that can be taken to address these issues to ensure that the student voices are heard.
G: A year from now, when you are done your role, what do you want to look back on and see?
RI: Having this opportunity to represent the amazing students in my faculty is something that I plan to honour throughout this year. My aim for this year is to interact with as many Arts students as I possibly can and spread awareness about our role. The students voted for us, and we are here for them. When I look back, I want to be able to see the impact that I had on the students — regardless of how big or small — that have possibly improved their education and quality of life on campus.
G: What’s one thing that you’ve learned now that you wish you had learned in the past?
RI: When I was elected March of 2019, I had no idea how this role would affect my life. For the past couple of months, I have been working hard on achieving the goals that I have set for myself — goals that were brought to my attention by other fellow students. One thing that I have come to realize is that, as elected officials, we have the capability of changing students’ lives if we are truly passionate about the role that we were elected to do. In a way, I wish that I learned about the true role and ability that we as representatives hold, and I look forward to spreading this realization with the rest of the students.
G: How can students get in contact with you if they need you?
RI: Students are more than welcome to reach out to me anytime and anywhere. I am always available by email at email@example.com, by phone, also on social media, @rayaneissa4. My goal is to reach out to as many students as possible during my term, and I would love it if it was a two-way road.