As Undergraduate Student Trustee, Jennifer Li’s focus would be on ensuring students trust her to share their concerns.
Li, ConEd ’17, said she’s looking to create better lines of communication between the position of trustee and the students’ voices that are supposed to be represented at the Board of Trustees.
She said she plans to increase the use of social media to better engage with the student body, especially outside of student leadership positions. She also hopes to arrange more meetings with the various faculty society boards if she’s elected trustee.
“It’s very important to collaborate and work with other student leaders so that you’re actually getting back that broad perspective and you’re getting as much knowledge and as much information as possible before voicing it, so that anything I say won’t be a personal opinion,” Li said.
In her first year, Li was appointed assistant to the Rector.
“I got to see both sides of the spectrum where you have to maintain a certain level of professionalism and respect when dealing with members of the administration,” she said, “and then remaining relatable and staying true to your roots as a student, making sure you’re still engaging with [students].”
At an open Board meeting last year, Li was impressed with the impact of student opinion on Board decisions.
“At the end of the day, the University is run for the students,” she said.
Along with her proposed approach to communication, Li’s platform features three main pillars: enrolment, financial accessibility and mental health.
As enrolment numbers continue to rise, Li sees it as the trustee’s job to ensure the student experience won’t be impacted. It’s not about the numbers, she said, but “how the University is dealing with that and how they’re elevating the strain on the students and on resources”.
She also plans to advocate for greater funding for need-based financial aid as part of the University’s $2.3 million in unallocated funds.
Along with financial aid comes student health and wellness, she added. She said there are a lot of initiatives and resources for students, but “there’s always room for improvement” as student well-being comes hand in hand with academic excellence.
Li hopes to create more of a presence as trustee so that students know that they have a representative to relay their input in university affairs.
“I won’t be advancing any point of view that I haven’t already discussed with students,” she said.
She added that she’d have a greater presence during Orientation Week so she can have more of an impact on first-year students.
Li said she’d always be accessible on-campus, emphasizing her added presence as trustee.
“That works well when you need to engage with students and get their actual input, not just the input of the society president,” she said.
She said in the days since her campaign began, it feels like she’s been campaigning for weeks.
“It’s going to be a challenge,” she said, “but I’m up for it.”
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