William Matheson (nova_one) wrote,
William Matheson

candidate profile preview

Name: William Matheson (candidate, VP External Affairs)
Faculty: Arts
Major: English (Hons.)
Year: Honours Equivalency Certificate (also 2004 graduate, B.A.)

What has been your greatest accomplishment at Saint Mary's?

- I think my lasting contribution to SMU was the S-T-U-D-Y Hard chant. It’s something that galvanizes a lot of people, and after traveling halfway around the world and back for two years, coming back this year to find it still going was immensely gratifying. Of course, the chant itself only took about two minutes to come up with; I’m personally prouder of my time spent with the SMU Drama Society and the great roles I’ve been able to play. Participating in anything like that really sharpens your time management skills, as I hope most of you have been able to experience through your own academic, societal, and campus work commitments.

Describe a situation where you showed leadership.

- It’s not something you want to do often, but sometimes you need to stand alone on an issue that’s really important to you. These days we’re more open to discussion and compromise than ever before, but I vividly remember being the only person in my rural P.E.I. school who favoured the construction of the Confederation Bridge. In the ensuing mock-plebiscite, I was downed 66-16, but I got a lot of people talking. And now you can hop in a van and go to Charlottetown for $50.

What previous experience qualifies you for this position?

- When I participated in the Canada Corps e-governance pilot project in Ukraine, I helped coordinate group activities, organize community events, and assisted with fundraising – this required careful planning as well as some linguistic legerdemain! I’m experienced in writing proposals, public speaking, and communication. I also have the requisite insider’s perspective on student government from my time as SRC Frosh Rep as well as my experiences as a frosh leader.

Why are you the best candidate for the job?

- In my time spent working in Halifax, travelling elsewhere, and volunteering on international exchanges, I’ve learned a great deal about people and human relations. The position of VP External Affairs requires significant technical ability, especially when you’re representing the interests of thousands of students. But this position also requires an uncommon degree of adroitness and a healthy supply of communication skills. Of course, I think we all have these qualities, but I’ve had a unique opportunity to put mine to the test (not to mention that I’m asking for another opportunity!). I also demand of myself that I be a positive contributor (as I know you’ll demand if I’m elected!), and that if I see an opportunity to go the extra mile, I must take it. I know from my post-university experience that I can give you 100% 100% of the time, and, more importantly, I know how I’m going to do it.

What is the most pressing problem/situation at SMU that you intend to solve/improve?

- This will come as little surprise, but I think SMU’s most pressing problem is the cost of university education. It’s not only hard on us current students; it’s driving away new students altogether! This isn’t only SMU’s problem, and it partially boils down to the economic malaise of the Maritimes and the priorities of our governments. We need to get the message across that education is not only a terrific, but a critical investment for students, governments, and taxpayers alike.

List up to five main campaign goals:

- I think we need to do a lot more to accommodate the needs of off-campus students. I’ve been bussing it in here for five years now, and it’s still almost as much of a pain now as it was then. More online-only course offerings may be part of the solution, but web/brick hybrid offerings and web-conferencing solutions would more flexibly meet student’s needs.

- We’ve got to get out and lobby for lower tuition! We should even contact the leaders of other provinces where tuition is lower and ask how they’ve been able to set an example. I believe that tuition should cost something, but the current state of affairs is absurd. The students of more progressive European nations are going to have an enormous economic advantage over us if we don’t do something fast.

- This is going outside of my proposed jurisdiction, but I think we need to encourage the university to spend some of its new capital on directional signage! There are still people who can’t find their way through McNally, and it’s the physical and administrative nexus of the school. SMUSA’s role could be to sponsor and promote a design contest.

- Saint Mary’s is justifiably famous for its co-op programs, but there are few options available for those outside commerce and the sciences. I’m not suggesting that History and Classics majors would make better software development interns, but they need to be considered, too! I would like to help build a school where people can chose any faculty and any major and be confident that we’ll find a creative way to get them on the path to career and personal success.

- I really think that our Tim Horton’s outlets should have coffee-only lanes. How many times have you been late for class because the coffee lineup was stalled by people ordering specialty teas and doughnuts? I rest my case.
Tags: campaigns, elections, profiles, questions and answers, school, smusa, vp external

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