Interview by Rossdan Craig
Elections have concluded and the results are in! In light of the newly elected officers taking up their up-coming roles, the Cannon has offered the new Eng Soc members to partake in a small interview. Below are the questions and answers of the interview with the new Eng Soc VP Student Life, Maddy Santia.
Why did you want to run for VP Student Life?
I think there is a lot of negative connotation towards with the Engineering Society and I wanted to try to alleviate some of that because it’s just getting way out of hand. It used to be that four or five people would run for one position but now it’s just uncontested; I think the moral is down and it’s got to be turned around.
What did you expect the U of T community would be like when you came into it versus how you perceive it now?
I was kind of in between. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be that everybody was really involved or nobody was really involved – it was just those two extremes that I saw when I came into university. But then when I actually came here I recognized that it seemed to be the same 50 to 100 people who show up to every single event and that’s kind of what bothers me. I want to change that around with more general student involvement at clubs and events.
In terms of your experience or vision, what do you think that you can bring to the table?
With being a part of Engineering Society this past year (being a project director and running events) I think that experience – managing an overall event – gave me skills in doing that on a larger scale and being more as an overseer as opposed to someone running events directly.
Transparency is always an issue with student governments. What do you plan to do so that students are more familiar with what happens inside Eng Soc?
An open door policy – I think that’s always been in effect… For instance, this whole problem on Facebook with students being angry about the refunds and it not being clear. Having an open door policy to have people come in and ask questions any time or letting people know that they can email [Eng Soc] VPs anytime is something I think that needs to be improved. They should know they can reach out and talk to us anytime about anything that they are confused about.
How exactly do you plan to get more people involved at U of T Engineering?
By creating a directory of clubs, where people can go access the type of thing they want to be involved with like using a tag like “leadership” or “design”, I want to create something that students can be involved in. It doesn’t necessarily mean that students have to go out to an event; it can also be just joining a club and enjoying their experience here.
What’s your favourite experience you’ve had here at U of T so far?
Ugh, so many… I would say I really liked running Post-Offer [as Director of Hi-Skule] last year. It was an awesome experience because there were so many students from Ontario and even further that come out to that day and see what engineering is all about. It’s kind of fun to tip the scales and help people choose U of T over other schools just because we have the day where they get to experience all these different things about how classes happen, how we run all events. I just found that a really fun event and it’s kind of cool to see these kids coming into school and they’re going to be us the next year.
How do you plan on staying accountable to everything you’ve stated to the student body?
I think it would be interesting to have progress reports. Not necessarily something that we email out to students but something that they can find online about what we’ve accomplished so far through the year so they can get an idea of what we’re doing.
Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to be involved but finds it difficult to do so?
I think the biggest thing is to just jump into it. I don’t think that there is anything that should stop anyone from getting involved if they really want to do it. I don’t think a lack of experience necessarily means anything; just because you don’t have experience doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be good at it. Just jumping in and seeing what you can do is probably the best thing that can happen.
What are you looking really forward to being a part of Eng Soc next year?
I’m really looking forward to being an overseer to Orientation. It’s such a large scale event that I think it would be really fun to see the ins and outs of how it works on the front side, what the students are seeing, and financially what happens, where all the money is allocated.