Experience Where It Matters

It′s interesting how MSU experience is being marketed as a hot commodity in this campaign. You′d think that with such insight for how an organization works, revolutionary thinking would certainly follow. This would be reflected in continuous and grounded platform points that capture student needs while pushing the organization forward.

I don′t see that in the campaigns of those more “experienced”. I hear a lot about working knowledge and diminished learning curves, but I don′t see that experience amounting to a ground-breaking platform or an inspired vision for the MSU.

On the other hand, I look at my platform and I see intentionality and tangibility. I see a website for my residence students who don′t know how to get involved. I see exam upgrades that my IntroPsych students needed last semester. And I see off-campus safety as a priority for my friends who walk home after late night shifts on campus. While a platform only speaks to a fraction of the MSU President′s role, it is a good indicator for what their focus is and how they think.

Prioritizing MSU experience over experience with students highlights a fundamental error in logic. The MSU President must be a relentless advocate for student needs. They must, at every opportunity, look for ways to draw into true society all students at McMaster. Who better to do this than a person with on-the-ground experience with students?

To assume that less time on a given committee or governing body catastrophically impedes one′s ability to do the job is over-simplistic and reflects a superficial understanding of leadership. This is not to antagonize or undermine the efforts of those working on various advocacy initiatives, services or committees of the MSU. Indeed, the work these groups are doing is integral to promoting the student voice and improving the student experience. My point is that these aren′t the only ways.

Over the past 4 years I have taken on projects that pull people up, that make them feel like they′re a part of something bigger and that establish a sense of community in the process. I haven′t been talking about student issues, I′ve been dealing with them. I haven′t been promoting leadership initiatives, I′ve been driving them forward.

My platform, rightfully so, has been identified as “ideas based”. This is absolutely true and was intentional. I believe that an MSU Presidential candidate should be elected on the grounds of good ideas that have student support. From there, they should work tirelessly for a year to see these initiatives through to completion.

My hope is that voters see through the over-emphasis on MSU experience and come to challenge what different types of experience actually mean. I am confident that I am ready for this position and I′m excited to move forward with a focus on community.