Students’ union leaders earn high praise
Several weeks ago, Cape Breton University Students’ Union (CBUSU) President Roy Karam made an announcement that he would not be seeking a second term as president. Instead, he will be going back to the everyday life as a regular student.
Many were happy for Roy and celebrated his news and some were disappointed and the reason for both of those reactions was the same. The reason being is that Roy has been one of the best student union presidents that CBUSU has ever seen.
Roy began his time in student government as a councillor on CBUSU’s student representative council and served on the CBU Senate that same year. After gaining that experience he ran a remarkable campaign for president and promised to strengthen the CBU student community, and I believe he has.
In many cases, a student union president’s success can be bettered or worsened depending on if they have a good, hard working vice president. Fortunately for Roy, he has had the best vice president that the CBU Students’ Union has ever seen. Brandon MacDonald has been a passionate fighter for students’ rights, provincial funding and bursaries for refugees.
In many cases, the job can wear on you. In the broken world of post-secondary education in Nova Scotia, there are not too many opportunities for big victories.
But Roy and Brandon have made incremental changes. They continued building up mental-health services for students, kept students well informed during the potential strike at CBU, have been more involved on a national level of student politics and have both been very involved and active in the community as well.
Not to mention that they have also raised money that will be given to Cape Breton charities in the next few months.
Instead of screaming at politicians and demanding free tuition for all with no logical argument like some student leaders do, Roy and Brandon had the maturity to diplomatically negotiate, which is the slower, but a better long-term strategy when it comes to student advocacy. Their integrity and professionalism stands head and shoulders above many others in student politics.
I am tremendously proud of them both for the positive campaigns that they ran last year. I also greatly admire how they have both provided leadership and have grown in their positions. In my opinion they will leave the job as the best president and vice-president combination that the CBU Students’ Union has ever seen.
As they enter their final few months and prepare to transition their replacements, they will both be reflecting a lot on their memories in the job. But before their terms end, I would just like to take this opportunity to thank them both. They are now the team that other student leaders should aspire to be.