With the end of the 2013-2014 academic year quickly approaching, The Concordian got together with the CSU executive, who ran under the team name CSYou, to look back at their year and progress.
“My favourite moments have been anytime that my team came together, anytime they produced something valuable for the community. I’ve had a front seat to all of their accomplishments, lucky me!” said CSU President, Melissa Kate Wheeler.
Coming together as a team was a favourite memory and accomplishment for the majority of the executives.
On an executive bonding level VP Internal James Vaccaro fondly looks back to Orientation week to a night where he and VP Finance Scott Carr closed up a Thirsty Thursday’s event at Reggie’s at 4 a.m. and then proceeded to build and clean BBQs for the following day’s Open Air Pub event. Sleeping only 45 minutes, Vaccaro and Carr started off their next morning at CSU’s Free Morning Coffee event.
“Although it was one of the most challenging days of Orientation, and our mandate at that point, I look back and laugh at how ridiculous this job can be sometimes, and the random things you need to be ready to do in order to get the job done,” said Vaccaro.
On a community level the CSYou encouraged and brought forth a lot of awareness concerning Concordia’s potential for sustainability.
Constantly at the forefront to promote ethical and sustainable change at Concordia is VP Sustainability Ben Prunty.
Prunty said his favourite accomplishment has been the Concordia Transitions event,
“The entire process was rewarding for me, and I think I can say the same for everyone involved. From having an extremely solid group of volunteer students organizing it beside me from day one, to the excitement from students who got involved later in the process, and finally, all the smiling faces at the conference itself.”
The CSYou also takes pride in the efforts they made to bring different faculties of students together. VP Student Life Katrina Caruso said that the only thing she would do differently is to encourage even more student faculty collaborations for various events.
“I know that the CSU has created a stronger bond between the faculty associations this year, and I am very happy that I made this a priority,” said Caruso.
“This was a large priority for me this year as VP Internal, because I really do feel that as students, we have much more to gain by coming together than we do by dividing ourselves across faculty lines,” said Vaccaro.
The entire executive team was in agreement when stating that they had learnt a lot about time management, themselves and accepting that things do not always play out the way they had hoped or worked extremely hard for.
“I have had to learn to say no and take a step back when it is due. I have vastly lowered my expectations of situations because nothing ever pans out the way you planned it in your head. I have learned how difficult it is to manage people and I have learned a lot about myself in the process,” said Caruso.
Although the year has had its ups and downs the executives still feel strongly that being part of the CSU has enhanced both their work experience and their time at Concordia.
“In terms of work experience, CSU has given me an incredible amount of skills and confidence I didn’t have before,” said Harrison.
VP Academic Gene Morrow explains that being part of Senate and the CSU gave him an understanding of university politics and life he could have never gained my merely going to class.
“I’ve had the opportunity to learn more than I ever thought I could about how a modern university operates, and all the work that students never really see that goes into this behemoth we call Concordia,” said Morrow.
Often the voice of contradiction, VP Finance Scott Carr explains how he has learnt a great deal when it comes to embracing the ability to see different perspectives and use tact when delivering his own.
“The CSU is an experience that will take you on a personal journey as much as a professional one. Coming into the CSU with a fair amount of previous experience allowed me to truly refine certain technical skills. But it is truly my soft skills that have developed to make me a better manager and leader,”said Carr.
Despite some challenges and conflict of opinions that have formed between fellow executives, VP External Caroline Bourbonniere believes that their disagreements were at times unfortunate but at other times beneficial.
“When we chose to run together, we were aware of our differences and took a leap of faith. Our disagreements are unfortunate but they only stem from our passion for our visions and our jobs,” explained Bourbonniere.
Wheeler encourages all students to take a chance and get involved in student associations, not exclusively to the CSU.
“Being an executive on the CSU will change you. It’ll mess with your sense of self and challenge you in ways you’re not ready for. If you survive, you’ll come out the other side strong, confident, and with a clear vision of what you want your life to be for. That sounds intense, but it’s true. If you empty yourself into it, it’ll fill you back up,”said Wheeler.