By Kristy Koehler, November 26 2019—
In an effort to introduce new — or even continuing — students to representatives in the Students’ Union and in student government, the Gauntlet is running the series, ‘Who’s Who in the SU.’ We introduced you to the executives, now let’s meet the Senate Representatives. Senator Raquel Jackson tells her story.
The Gauntlet: What do you do in your role?
Raquel Jackson: A Senate Student-at-Large Representative is responsible for representing the undergraduate student voice on the University of Calgary Senate. This is done so by attending all Senate meetings, being directly involved in decision-making, and later reporting to the Student’s Legislative Council. The purpose of the role is to advocate for undergraduate students on the Senate and subsequently keeping students informed regarding events or initiatives that directly concern them. I also sit on the Senate’s Engagement Committee which works to better connect the University with the external community. This committee provides mentorship opportunities for different student groups on campus.
G: Why did you choose to run for Senate?
RJ: Once I decided to get involved on campus, the number of offices and organizations students were able to be directly involved with amazed me. One of those was the University of Calgary Senate. When I discovered what the Senate was and what they did I was incredibly interested in finding out why I knew so little about them and how I could change that for students. I ran to continue my work of advocacy for undergraduate students and to foster the engagement of our campus community. I ran so that in the next general election whoever decides to take over this role doesn’t have to ask students if they know what the Senate is before they discuss their platform goals.
G: For someone who doesn’t know what the Senate is, how would you describe it and what it does?
RJ: I understand the Senate to be an independent organization who serves as the liaison between the University of Calgary and the broader Calgary community. It is composed of diverse community leaders and different representatives who aim to support and showcase the growth and development of our University to all external communities. The Senate is responsible for building support for the University. When you see the advertisements for Lectures of a Lifetime showcasing the incredible work done by leading scholars at our University, the Senate hosts them. When you graduate and you hear one or two inspiring speeches that will motivate you to go off and accomplish things, the Senate selected and awarded them with their Honorary Degrees.
G: A year from now, what do you want to have accomplished in your role?
RJ: A year from now, I want to have connected the campus community with the Senate. That could look like clubs more deeply involved in the Senate Mentorship Program, students attending a Lecture of a Lifetime or simply the student body being aware of who the Senate is and what they can do for them. At the end of my term I want to have provided students with the same opportunity they provided me by hosting an event that would allow students to directly engage with senators.
G: What’s one thing that you’ve learned now that you wish you had learned in the past?
RJ: I wish I learned how getting involved would improve my student experience. The first two years of my degree I spent in class and on the train not daring to spend an extra second at the University if I didn’t have to. Through lots and lots of encouragement, I did it, put 150 versions of my face up all over campus and got involved. Don’t worry that’s only one out of many ways to be involved, there are so many diverse opportunities on campus. I would recommend trying one or two and seeing what you discover.
G: How can students get in touch with you?
RJ: Students can directly email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns. I can also be found on Facebook or Instagram @Raquel_Jackson. Please feel free to reach out, I am in this role because of you, and for YOU.