Sunday, April 13, 2008

Many thank yous

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to thank you all for all your support before, during, and after the election and campaign. I couldn't done it without you. I really appreciate all the extra campaigning, the help with the video, putting up and taking down posters, tell your friends to vote, putting up with my stress, etc. I am really excited to start working in May, and I look forward to serving as your VP Academic for 2008-2009. Thanks again,


Sunday, February 3, 2008

Lowering text book costs

We pay a lot to go to school. It is even harder when you find out the class you just registered for has a $120 text book too. I will work with the book store and professors to ensure students are getting the best value for their dollar. Hopefully, we can also increase the number of books bought back by the bookstore.

One reason text books are so expensive is because professors get other products with the books that they may never use. These add-ons include made-up test questions, presentations and other resources on CDs. Many times, profs don't end up using these things, but the cost is passed on to the students in the class who all have to buy the text book. One thing I will work on is educating the profs about these costly resources, and hopefully pass along the savings to students.

Online Book Exchange and Online Professor Review

If elected I will increase usage of SMUSA's Online book Exchange and Online Professor Review.

The book exchange is a great tool for students to use and find cheap text books. If you are looking to get ride of a book you no longer need, chances are there is someone out there looking for your book. I will work to make this service more user friendly, increase advirtising and usage, and make sure students are getting as many used books at a good price as possible.

The Online Professor Review system is a place where students can make objective reviews of professors and classes. This site is much better than I will work to increase the number of students using the site, as well as the number of classes and professors reviewed. The main way I will do this is to promote the site during peak times when students are looking to review a prof, such as the end of each semester.

More study space

A big problem on campus for many students is finding a place to study, quietly do work, or access a computer. This gets even harder late at night and during midterms and exams. One of my goals, if elected, will be to work with the university and library to increase the number of places available to study after hours and during peak times.

Solutions to this problem could be to open up a wing in Loyola for late-night studying, as well as an extra 24 hour computer lab. The library also closes earlier than most people like. While it may not be financially feasable to keep the library open late every night, it may work during peak times (midterms and exams). While most of us may be graduated by the time the Atrium is built, this project will also help to alleviate crowded study spaces on campus.

Eco friendly SMU

What would you idea of a sustainable campus be?

While campus sustainability is not directly mandated in the job description of the VP Academic, I think each Exec also works on what they are passionate about and what effects the students in a positive way. Helping to make Saint Mary's a more environmentally friendly place is something I believe very strongly in.

Previous successes:
-Currently sit on the SMU Sustainability task force
-Environmental Studies major
-Helped create and implement SMUSA's new Sustainability policy
-Working on organizing SMU's first annual Sustainability day
-Hot and Sexy Recycling program in Residence

Future plans if elected:
-Continue to work to make SMU more environmentally friendly and sustainable
-Implement and improve initiatives such as the carpool ride board, bike racks, etc.
-Lobby the university to aquire a Sustainability coordinator and open a sustainability office
-Implement a university wide sustainability policy

Student Services Map

Wooot for stealing ideas! Another great idea that the University of Alberta Students' Union has in an online university services map showing all the available services on campus. This is great for students who aren't sure of all the available resources on campus. The map is layed out over a map of campus and looks like a subway map. It is available online from a link on the students' union website. Each "subway line" relates to a different problem. The "Money line' links all services related to money. At SMU this would be the Financial Aid office, Scholarships and bursarys, food bank, and the career centre. Other subway lines include Personal health line, Study line, and the Life line.

If elected, I will work with the various university student services and our website provider to create this map for Saint Mary's.