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RUN With US Workshops: A Day In The Life
If you’re reading this article, you’re probably interested in running for an executive position in the upcoming SU election, and that’s awesome. Now before you get too far into filling out that nomination form, it’s only fair that I give you a preview of what you’re in for.
9:00 AM: Coffee
9:30 AM: Internal meeting with key SU staff. You have a meeting with the Provost tomorrow morning, and it’s extremely important to be prepared in advance for anything that may come up. The SU Policy Analyst is giving you historical context on each issue, while the External Communications Director is giving advice on how to frame the most important points.
10:30 AM: The Calgary Herald calls requesting an interview on a story that first came to light in the Gauntlet. You prepare for the interview with the External Communications Director, and then take the interview a half hour later.
12:00 PM: Lunch meeting with the Student and Enrolment Services Group. This group includes the Vice-Provost Student Experience (Susan Barker), Vice-Provost Teaching & Learning (Lynn Taylor), Registrar (Debbie Bruckner), Senior Director of Student Services (Jennifer Quinn) and the rest of the SU Executive. This is an important group for discussing upcoming trends and issues on campus, as well as looking at ways we can improve our collaboration with these departments. Plus, free lunch!
2:00 PM: Attending a university committee meeting that makes decisions on the academic priorities of the institution. These meetings can be long (~2 hours) and dry, but they are also extremely important. Many important decisions come through committees just like this one, which makes being the student voice on the committee a major responsibility.
4:00 PM: A student drops by the office with an issue that they have with the way a particular SU service is run. This brings up difficult questions for you to consider: how many students are being affected by this issue? Does this student represent an example of how the service typically runs, or were they affected by a rare anomaly that likely won’t happen again? If you change how the service is run, will that cause more problems than the solution was intended to fix? The answers to these questions will determine what the best course of action is, but the most important step is taking the time to listen and understand to the student. You will also likely need to talk to the staff member overseeing the service to get their insight and advice. If you can use your position to help the student in any way, that makes for a great end to the day!
There’s just one problem when it comes to trying to describe a typical day as a student executive… ‘typical’ and ‘predictable’ are rarely words that are used to describe this job. Luckily for you, this is part of what makes the job such a rewarding experience!
Every day as an executive of the SU offers a new challenge, and a new learning opportunity that comes along with it. From business knowledge to communication and interpersonal skills, the growth you will see in yourself over your 12-month term is truly incredible. And the best part is, this job doesn’t come with any prerequisites. There is no such thing as a ‘leadership gene’, and every unique personality brings a different set of skills that will make you successful in an executive positon. All you need is hard work and commitment, and next year you can be the one that writes this article!