Meet your CSA Election candidates: Jessica Carter

Monday, March 7, 2011


Name: Jessica Carter

Running for: Academic and University Affairs


1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am currently finishing up my undergraduate degree in my fourth year and final semester.  I am majoring in International Development and minoring in Political Science.  My emphasis is on Latin American Studies.  I have lived in Guelph during the summer since my second year and I have fallen for the area.  One of my favourite things to do is travel and I hope to do more of it in the future.  I participated on the India Semester Abroad in my third year and also spent a year in Siberia, Russia before coming to Guelph.

2. Why do you want to represent students on the CSA Board of Directors?

I believe that I will be the best advocate possible for the students here at Guelph.  I have been involved with academics since my first year after being elected Vice-President of Academics of the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences (Student Alliance) and have since continued working with and representing students in an academic context.  Above all, I am passionate about getting the word out regarding academics to students and getting their input on issues that affect them.  I consider myself an approachable person and I am always up for a chat, especially if students will benefit from it.

3. What experiences or skills do you have that make you an ideal candidate for your position?

What really sets me apart in my opinion are my team building skills, my problem solving skills and my energy.  After working on the Orientation Team for two years I have worked with not only the Orientation Team itself, but also many other student groups and volunteers to ensure a successful Orientation Week.  Often, I was required to work with individuals with whom I had established no previous rapport.  I was able to approach the situation with a motivated and energetic outlook, build connections and establish a great working environment with different teams.  I love working with people, be it students, staff, administration, who ever enjoys being a part of the team.  Building community is crucial in my opinion and I hope to be able to continue to do this next year on the CSA.

As with any leadership or team position, often problem solving is required.  I consider myself someone who is able to think quickly on her feet and act.  I loved trouble shooting during Orientation Week because I was comfortable problem solving and dealing with a wide spectrum of issues. 

I am extremely passionate and energetic about everything I do. It excites me and motivates me that I could have the honour of representing students on the CSA next year.  I believe my positive energy helps to create a relaxed atmosphere, which is crucial to a healthy and creative working environment. 

4. Can you outline some experiences that have given you knowledge of CSA policies and the way things are run?

I enjoy keeping myself informed about what is occurring on the campus.  Working with various groups in different positions has allowed me to acquire different outlooks on the CSA. What I believe I bring that is most valuable to a new executive is a fresh outlook to the CSA.  I have the experience and confidence to rock this position.  This combined with no loyalties except to the very students I hope to represent will make for a crisp and alert presence on the executive next year.  I look forward to familiarizing myself with whatever policy I need to, I am all about the students and that in conjunction to my diligence means that there is no challenge I will not meet head on. 

5. What goals do you have for your term?

I have many ideas and goals if elected, but in the essence of time I would like to highlight a few of the main goals I have:

-To continue to be an advocate for students regarding student fees and tuition.  In my opinion, it is not simply enough to say I will “fight fees”.  No, what I would like to do is get as many students involved and expressing their opinions as possible.  I will do everything in my power to ensure that students’ voices are heard, especially in regards to a subject that affects every single student here at university. 

-I would like to continue building and increasing the academic community on campus.  We have so many wonderful programs that are apart of vast and professional colleges.  While I believe there is lots of community to build upon within a college environment, I see potential to have that academic community on a campus-wide level.  This would mean more interactions between colleges, that includes deans, student governments and more collaboration in general.  For example, a campus-wide workshop series that was geared towards every year and took place in every college would be a great academic event.   

For the additional points of my platform and goals I encourage students to check out my webpage at www.uoguelph.ca/~carterj

6. The undergraduate student body is large and diverse; how will you ensure you represent the interests of students?

In short, by getting out there and seeking out the students.  I am open to speaking to anyone, anywhere and at almost anytime.  I would love to be more involved in the residences as well as liaising with Off-Campus students.  First year students especially undergo challenging transitions when coming to university.  I would position myself as a resource for students to ease this transition as well as promote their future academics at Guelph.  As well, I believe it is important to work with as many clubs and students groups as possible.  These organizations are able to rally and unite students in so many ways and their input is crucial in my opinion.

6. (a) The Communications Commissioner is often called upon to be the voice of the CSA when corresponding with the outside world. What character traits do you think make an effective spokesperson and why?

From a student perspective I would say that these bodies do their best with the resources available and input that they have from students.  I would like to clarify where students have representation on various committees and boards associated with these bodies, as well as increase student representation.  I feel that some lines are blurred of where exactly students have representation and as the Academic and University Affairs Commissioner, I would like to work with various administrative representatives to set a solid description of where and how students can be engaged at different levels.  The first example that comes to mind is the Integrated Plan as this will begin to be discussed again in the spring.  It is important to involve students in this process, as well as others, and I intend to advocate to the best of my ability to ensure students have a voice in these processes.

7. Is there anything else you'd like to add?

I encourage students to search “Jessica Carter for CSA Academic and University Affairs Commissioner” on Facebook and check out my website for more information about my goals for next year and myself.  Right now, I would like to end with a quote by Shane Koyczan when he opened for the Olympics in Vancouver last winter.  His words resonated with me and they definitely apply to our great country, but I also believe they speak directly to this university.

“We are choices, we are millions upon millions of voices shouting keep exploring.  We are more.”

This is what I believe the students are here at Guelph.  We are choices, we have ideas and they need to be heard.  I will turn up the volume of YOUR voices.  Team Carter wants YOU.  We want everyone.  Please vote for Jessica Carter March 14-18 for CSA Academic and University Affairs Commissioner.  Thank you. 

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