Maanda Makwarela

Monday, January 1, 2007

Why are you running?

I am running because I know that I will do a phenomenal job as Communications Commissioner. I feel that 2007/2008 can be a very positive year, and I know that I can contribute my experiences, and enthusiasm to improving the quality of the CSA. The Communications Commissioner of the CSA works to keep University of Guelph students informed and in touch with the institution and student activities. I feel that I am capable of promoting the best interests of the community at large, while acting as an intermediary between the university administration and student body.

What are your priorities for next year?

One of my priorities for next year is investigating transferring the responsibility of operating the “Brass Taps” from the UC administration to the CSA. This would also include either making it a split-licence or all-ages for either all of the nights, or selected time periods. I also plan to amend the way in which we look at food on campus by working with the Bullring to provide cheaper meal options on campus such as microwavable dinners, more affordable snacks and drinks.

Who is your daddy and what does he do?

I respectfully decline to answer.

What’s the best thing to ever happen to you in Guelph?

The best thing to ever happen to me in Guelph would have to be discovering my voice. I have always been involved in student activities, but Guelph offered me an environment where all kinds of people could meet and share ideas. I love the fact that students organise clubs, protests, fundraisers, volunteerism, cultural shows, and a radio station. I discovered that no matter what your interest is in life, you are the one who is responsible for achieving your goals, but there are also always people there willing to help you. I realise this may sound corny, but it’s true.

What innovative ideas do you have to communicate what the CSA does?

Electronic communication has become a much more efficient and eco-friendly way in which to reach people. The CSA already uses mass mailing lists, but I intend to further explore voluntary list-serves such as FaceBook and MySpace. The CSA already has a number of very effective methods of promotion already in place, and I also plan to rely on those. In addition to clubs days, however, I plan to implement a “CSA Services Days” to showcase those services specifically linked with the CSA.

What creative strengths would you bring to this position?

I have been involved with a number of the student clubs, and organisations on this campus, so naturally I would bring experience. Being an international student and having lived in Guelph for four years, I also bring a greater understanding of the many identities which make up the undergraduate community at Guelph. I have worked, and will continue to work to promote student cultural interaction, tolerance, and interaction.

What do you feel is the most important message that the CSA Communications Commissioner should be getting across to students and the community?

I feel that the most important message that the Communications Commissioner should be getting across to students is that the CSA is a student organisation, one in which they should be involved and should use to voice their opinions, concerns and to voice support. I think that a large part of the undergraduate community does not take full advantage of the many efforts which are being made by the CSA to make their lives simpler; simply because they are not aware of what they are and how they have been catered towards us as students.

What CSA services do you feel need more exposure, and how do you plan to accomplish this?

I feel that CSA services are so often taken for granted that they are forgotten. I feel that the role of the CSA in advocacy and increasing awareness of student rights is increasingly important. The CSA offers services such as the legal resource room and rentersreviews.org to prevent the landlord horror stories we have all heard. SafeWalk, the late night bus service and the Bullring are also services that I feel are underappreciated for what they offer undergraduate students. I plan to run campaigns throughout the year promoting these services and highlighting the student benefits that they offer, using poster campaigns but also “open days” in the UC and other buildings on campus.

Speaking of communicating, have you ever painted the cannon and what did it say?

I have only painted the cannon once. It was in honour of International House and a birthday. Although it was fantastically painted, I can only remember that the cannon said “Watson Where,” which was our semi-motto for that year. I doubt there are many things that require as much commitment as painting the cannon during the winter. I stood guard for a while in the cold, and although we may have been risking frostbite, it was nice to know that I was taking part in the uniquely Guelph tradition of painting the cannon.

Anything else that you wanted to add?

I plan to increase student participation in the actual running of the University- especially by taking a leading role in administration of our University Centre. Moreover, I plan to harness the power of the student voice through collaborating events with on-campus clubs and province-wide organizations. Campus events and activities play as large a role in student life as academic activities. My experiences planning and participating in events such as the Vagina Monologues, World on a Plate and One World have increased my appreciation of student led events, and I plan to support those events as well as larger events promoting student rights. Feel free to visit my website.

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