2022 SU General Election Full Supplement

Photo by Eric Hilbrecht

SU elected officials highlight the importance of keeping up with student politics

By Sophia Lopez, January 25 202 ––

The University of Calgary Students’ Union (SU) general elections are approaching and the current elected officials are eager for students to get involved. With candidate pre-orientations going on later this week, VP Academic Renzo Pereyra discussed how engaging with the SU can benefit students no matter what year they’re in.

“The Students’ Union is the official voice for all 26,000 undergraduate students at the University of Calgary,” said Pereyra. “Whether students have an academic concern, need support or are simply looking to build meaningful connections, the SU can be a home for them. The earlier they engage with us, the quicker they will have access to these really great programs and information that will undoubtedly have a positive impact on their undergraduate experience.”

In his position as VP Academic, Pereyra has made an effort to support students and their academic learning, especially during the pandemic. As a student himself, Pereyra understands the concerns and issues students may face during their university experience, and wants to help make that experience a more positive one.

“I wanted to run for the position in which I would have the greatest influence towards making student academic lives easier, because I know first-hand how hard it is to get through university when you do not feel supported,” said Pereyra. 

Although he said his position at the SU isn’t an easy one, Pereyra reflected on how rewarding it has been to make a difference in the lives of students, and he recommends that students get involved in such fulfilling work.

“I love doing work that makes a difference,” said Pereyra. “The prime responsibility with any SU position is the students. For students looking to get involved with the SU, let me tell you –– it is worth it.”

Faculty of Science representative Chaten Jessel commented on how the SU is an excellent resource to bridge the gap between the university and its students.

“SU is the bridge between students and admin. Admin at our university is always trying to push the university forward, but sometimes forget that a majority of people here are students. The SU are the ones that make sure that students aren’t forgotten.” 

Jessel reflected on his past two years of being a Faculty of Science representative, and discussed how the opportunities he has gained in his position are ones that cannot be replaced.

“The one thing I would like potential candidates to know is that, just like anything in life, your time in the SU is what you make it,” said Jessel. “You will be offered a million and a half different ways to get involved, and I would suggest trying to take as many of those opportunities as you can.”

Overall, Jessel wants to inform students that making a big difference is more possible than it seems, and similar to Pereyra, he encourages students to get involved if they have a vision they wish to see for the university.

“I have gotten the chance to lead projects related to Open Education Resources that have won over $500,000 and are set to save students over $10 million in the next 10 years,” said Jessel. “Those numbers still don’t feel real to me, but it makes a real difference for students. If you choose to run for the SU you’ll learn the same thing I have — that you are capable of making a truly meaningful difference in the lives of others.”

Pereyra encouraged all students to voice their ideas for what the future of our education could look like, and if anyone is interested in getting involved they should reach out to the SU and sign up for the candidate pre-orientations. 

“Take a chance on yourself. If you have a bold idea or vision about what you would like our campus community to be, don’t be afraid to act on that vision,” said Pereyra. “Don’t be afraid to reach out to the staff to learn more about the organization. After all, this is your SU. Candidate pre-orientations are right around the corner, so if you have that urge, I encourage you to sign up.”

Candidate pre-orientations take place from Jan. 26–28. To sign up, and for more overall information on the SU and how to get involved, visit the SU’s website.

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