Stu­dents’ union lead­ers earn high praise

Cape Breton Post - - EDITORIAL - Bran­don El­lis Syd­ney CBUSU Pres­i­dent 2014-2016

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.

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