CESA team to boost student input

Elisabeth Beard, Gladys Kong and Abbey Cressman run uncontested in ConEd faculty society election

From left to right: Gladys Kong, Abbey Cressman and Elisabeth Beard.
From left to right: Gladys Kong, Abbey Cressman and Elisabeth Beard.

Team BACK, the only team in the race for the Concurrent Education Students’ Association (CESA) executive, is looking to increase student involvement in CESA.

Presidential candidate Abbey Cressman, vice-presidential (external) candidate Gladys Kong and vice-presidential (internal) candidate Elisabeth Beard, all ConEd ’15, are all members of CESA Council seeking to increase their roles. Cressman is currently the Queen’s Conference on Education chair, Beard is events director and Kong is treasurer.

Cressman and Beard both got involved with CESA in second year, and Kong has been involved since her first year. Beard described the team as “very invested” in the issues faced by ConEd students.

“I’ve really developed a passion for engaging in the issues that face executives,” said Cressman.

The team is campaigning on a platform summed up in three words: create, communicate, reflect.

Team BACK said they want to introduce an education speaker series, which would connect students to education professionals; a community dinner, held by students for local underprivileged families and a “Bring a Friend to Council” night.

“Bring a Friend to Council’ is really exposing what the critical issues are — what is really happening at Council,” Kong said.

“People talk, so something that we’re hoping that we’ll tap into is the fact that the sessions that are at Council … can be brought up not only within CESA Council, but also a discussion outside of Council,” Cressman added.

Communication with fellow students is central to their platform. Team BACK stresses the importance of transparency, as well as encouraging ConEd students not involved in Council to also pay attention to what the Council is doing.

One of their ideas involves creating a how-to book ― a way of getting students acquainted and participating with the process of Council.

“What we’ve found is that people are often intimidated as well just by Robert’s Rules, just the fact that there are sequences to how you should motion things or how discussions are brought up,” Kong said.

“It’s almost going to act as a resource book of sorts,” Cressman said.

“We’re hoping that it’ll discuss how to bring something up in Council, but also how to run an event if you’re looking at that, like who to contact, who you need to discuss it with.”

Kong said she also wants to work on financial transparency. She said that recently, CESA fees were raised to $25 after a funding reevaluation.

Team BACK said their goal is to use the increased fee to facilitate a sense of community among ConEd students, re-evaluating the scale of CESA events to better serve growing enrolment.

Team BACK also wants to collect anonymous, brief feedback from students, going to Professional Studies (PROF) classes once a month to reach out to first-, second- and third-years.

They said they’ll contact fourth-years through an online form included in a weekly email.

“We will really try to use our online presence, whether it [is] Facebook, Twitter, and website and emails, to really just get to those individuals,” Kong said.

“We’re trying to do the brunt of the work for them, basically,” Beard said. “We’re the ones who want the feedback, so we might as well be the ones to work for it.”

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