Samual Shaji set to take over as Executive Vice-President this May
Elections were bigger than ever this year, with dozens of candidates running, and with more than a thousand voters. Samual Shaji will be taking over as the Executive Vice President (EVP) of the Students’ Union from May 2019, having won the seat with an impressive 912 votes. We sat down with Samual to discuss his goals and plans for the position. Shaji is currently working as a Multicultural Hub Coordinator; in this position he has successfully organised several, large-scale events on campus. Having had time to reflect on the election, Shaji tells us that “Cape Breton University had a 50% growth in the number of students, but when we take a look at the student engagement it only increased by 25%, which is just the half of the growth.”
This lack of student engagement seems to be one of Shaji’s main concerns heading into his term as EVP. When asked how he planned to address students’ apathetic behaviour, he says that “we are going to increase the positions of Coordinators on campus, [and] as there will be more student jobs, the [people] will be able to get in more volunteers. Also, we will be hiring more people for marketing purposes to cover a wide range of students. There will be positions available in summer.”
The Students’ Union is focusing on becoming further integrated with campus life with the announcement of new positions. Shaji told us that when the students are engaged on campus, they will become more aware of their surroundings, resulting in a feeling of security. The new positions and planned events will require approval from the Students’ Union budget committee.
When we asked about the part time jobs that the students have had trouble finding recently, Shaji responded that, “About two years ago, there were around 30 immigrants, they would get a part time job, carry on their studies, get a promotion, [and] apply for permanent residency. But now the number of immigrants is 1,800 and they are trying to do the same which is not feasible. As a Vice President, my main job will be to look after academics of the students. My main motive will be to give every student a vision, what they are studying for and what career opportunities they have after completing the course. So, we will be looking forward to organising a career fair, academic orientation, and on campus placement which will make the students’life better.”
Samual added that he also plans to increase the scholarships and bursaries so that the students are able to focus more on studies rather than going out and looking for part time jobs. He will be raising these issues in front of the Senate who will look further into these matters.
When asked about the housing problems, he said, “for academics we have a council, so for housing I am looking forward to form a council that will take care of the issue, and I am looking forward to making the Students’ Union a better place for the students – as it should not be an authority over students, it should be an organisation working with the students.”
Shaji knows that these ideas and initiatives will take time to implement on the ground. Samual added that “It all depends on the budget and the number of meetings. That cannot be confirmed at this moment … but I am doing the background study.”