VP Student Life: Mark Small

What do you do as VP Student Life?

A lot of the time it’s just guiding people to the different channels that Concordia and the CSU’s clubs offer to get involved. I try to get students involved and having fun.

What are some of the things you’ve accomplished this year that you’re proud of?

Orientation: it’s what I spent my whole summer organizing. We chose to intergrate a lot of the cultural groups and associations and clubs, so they were helping us. And they were, at the same time, promoting what they offer. The Wyclef concert was a huge beast in and of itself. Wyclef being bilingual, very activist… we thought that he was a good fit. It was extremely rewarding to see 5,000 plus students jumping up and down and having a great time at a concert. Just last week we had Damian the Hypnotist. That was completely sold out. [And] I was at Mont-Tremblant this past weekend with a group of students. Those are a few highlights.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to face this year?

Navigating through the bureaucracy of the university. You need to go through a lot of red tape [and] get people to sign off for virtually everything. For example, we tried extremely hard to have the Wyclef concert on Concordia’s campus. For each one of [the possible] locations we had to make a diagram and calculate capacity, and decide where security would be positioned. . . Just a lot of logistical stuff. Learning how to manage all these things has definitely been a big part of the experience this year.

How have you managed to increase student life at Loyola?

This year we’ve actually done two successful parties at the Hive. The last one was extremely successful – between 100 and 130 students turned out. . . The biggest thing at Loyola that we’ve been working on is getting the Hive money solidified. We ended up in a really tough position with the mezzanine [situation] and that limited our ability to move forward with the Hive. It’s difficult to lobby for [the Hive space] and at the same time be adamantly against something that the university’s trying to do. Balancing those two things was difficult, but now I think we’re actually at a very good place. We’re set to start construction on the Hive at the beginning of March. That’s going to be enormous for student life at Loyola, and I look forward to that.

Do you have anything planned at Loyola in the next couple of weeks?

Probably the week before they start construction on the Hive we’ll have a party. One of the biggest problems is there are so many clubs, and there are only a limited number of days in a week. Not many clubs want to have an event on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. Hopefully having the Hive open at Loyola will take a little bit of the pressure off Reggie’s, and give student groups another place to have parties and events.

What is the status on the heated bus shelter initiative?

During [the election] campaign, we wanted to have a sustainable, heated bus shelter at Loyola. I set up a meeting with Pat [Pietromonaco] and we discussed a couple of ideas. Our original idea was to have tents along the pathway where the shuttle bus is while we were doing construction. The university’s fire marshal immediately stopped this dead because that pathway is [the only] entrance for fire trucks. Then we talked about extending the bus shelter to fit 65 – 70 people inside, [but] this would only be a temporary solution. I believe that there are a lot of people who will back us doing a proper project. I think that the best solution is to just knock it out completely and start again.

How far along is the project?

We’re waiting on [architectural designs]. The project will absolutely happen during the time I’m in office. Let’s say construction doesn’t start until May, it’ll be done by the time it’s cold again.

How do you rate student participation at sporting events?

Sporting events at Concordia are very, very poorly attended. There are about 100 – 150 students who get pumped up for Concordia games. Men’s basketball, since we have a really good team, those games have been extremely well attended as well. Men’s hockey… not so much. As far as the women’s sports go, I know that they’re all pretty much poorly attended.

Is it a Montreal problem?

Universities in the States, you have 20- 30- 40,000 students going to football games. You go to a football game at McGill, and they don’t have greater attendance than we have. I think that’s the case for most of the universities around here. . . [to increase attendance] we give crazy, crazy, crazy deals. You have no excuse not to go.

So what are some of the events that are coming up?

We’re also bringing 175 students to NYC for two nights. The first week of March, we’re doing a talent showcase at the Oscar Peterson Concert Hall. The Al Gore lecture in March. Men’s basketball is looking really good right now. It’s the last year that playoffs are in Halifax so there’s a very good chance that I might end up taking students on an overnight trip to Halifax. The many tastes of Concordia happen in March. There is another ski trip in March to Jay Peak for the day.

Do you have any time to sleep?

Not really. I wasn’t kidding when I said I sleep here…

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