By Kristy Koehler, November 26 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 Nursing Representative Candace Cho tells her story.
The Gauntlet: What do you do in your role?
Candace Cho: I would describe my role as two-fold. I think first, and arguably the most important, is being available to connect with students and provide an access point to any questions or concerns that may come up during their post-secondary education. Many times, university can be very overwhelming, sometimes you don’t even know who to ask your questions to or where you can ask them. Though I most often won’t have the answer for each of these concerns, I think I am able to ask on behalf of students and lead them on the right path to getting the answers.
The second piece is more about representation to the faculty, and to the University. The role of the Faculty Representative is super fortunate to have a seat on a variety of university councils such as the General Faculties Council and Faculty Council. Sitting on councils and committees are not only limited to university and faculty, but also available to representatives from the Students’ Union. The Nominations Committee, Quality Money Committee and Clubs Committee are a few of the committees that are available for elected officials to sit on as a part of the Students’ Union.
G: Why did you run for your role?
CC: To be perfectly honest, I hadn’t heard very much about the Students’ Union before I decided to submit my name for this position. But, I think that was precisely the problem, the Faculty of Nursing is not only geographically on the outskirts of campus by Professional Faculties, but the rigor of clinical hours off campus can often lead students to be less interested in on-campus activities.
I heard that my predecessor was graduating, and with a few days leading up to the deadline I saw that nobody had showed interest in filling the position. When I shared this concern with my fellow peers, or faculty, the common sentiment of ‘Yeah, it’s really difficult to fill that position,’ seemed way too easy. So, I decided to put my name in.
I didn’t know much beyond that I wanted nursing to have representation, and that I had a passion for improving student life and the student experience, and hoped that my commitment and eagerness to learn would help guide my transition into the role.
G: What do you specifically plan to do within your role?
CC: As this is my second term, I hope to focus more on the social community within nursing this time around. Last term, I was able to successfully receive the Quality Money grant to bring the ASIST (Assisted Suicide Intervention Skills Training) program internally into the Faculty of Nursing. This time around, I want to host more social events as de-stress events for Nursing students, and as a way to further build community.
Another goal of mine for the upcoming term is to publish and release a newsletter to help centralize the most important information for different terms of nursing students. A lot of information is available through different channels like D2L, Instagram or through student email, but I think a centralized newsletter could be helpful for students looking for information on upcoming events, or possible ways to get academic help.
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?
CC: The Students’ Legislative Council (SLC) is a team of Elected Officials, five of whom are executive members of the Students’ Union, and the rest of whom are elected Faculty Representatives. Meeting weekly during the Fall and Winter school term, SLC provides a space for all elected officials to advocate for their students in their home faculty on a variety of different changes. A few notable ones from the past include changes to MacHall, Bermuda Shorts Day, the myUofC portal. SLC meetings are open to public gallery members, as are the agenda and minutes, which are available online.
G: A year from now, when you are done your role, what do you want to look back on and see?
CC: I want for my position within the Students’ Union to be one that is widely shared throughout the Faculty of Nursing. Over the past three years of having been in this faculty, I certainly know that there isn’t a deficit of motivated, eager and willing student leaders that would not only enjoy this representative position but excel in its role as an advocate. Rather, I think the problem comes from the role not being shared amongst the faculty. A year from now, I want to look back to see more than one candidate interested in the General Election position for the Nursing Representative. I would like to see the expectation of the role being acclaimed or vacant shifted to one of greater interest among the student population.
G: What’s one thing that you’ve learned now that you wish you had learned in the past?
CC: One very valuable lesson that I’ve learned has to be to listen to understand, not to respond.
Listening to the people around you can showcase an incredible wealth of knowledge, and is another crucial piece of effective teamwork. Being kind to everyone, willing to listen and willing to learn are three characteristics that I believe are integral to building meaningful relationships. I think always remembering that everyone has a reason for what it is that they are doing, serves as a consistent reminder to exercise being in someone else’s shoes and is also integral to producing good work.
Learning your own limit and acknowledging what skills and projects you can best contribute to, and selectively focusing your time on those endeavors is the best way to maintain your own personal wellness, and thus be available to assist others who may ask for it. With that, being honest with yourself, sometimes in a harsh way is a necessity in preserving and reminding yourself of your “why” and moreover provides honest check-ins with how full your plate is, and how content you are with it.
G: How can students get in contact with you if they need you?
CC: Very easily! I’m quick with my emails, at firstname.lastname@example.org and my socials include the SU Nursing Instagram, handle @suuofc_nursing, or my personal Instagram, handle @candace_cho for a more informal channel of contact.