Running on ambitious platform, CESA Team BluEJay confident they have experience to follow through

Team BluEJay advocates for half-year psychology course at Queen’s to meet education requirement

Team BluEJay’s slogan is “Soaring High. Grounded in Reality.”

Team BluEJay, one of two prospective CESA Executive teams, is building off of their previous experience at the Association in their platform. 

The team is composed of Presidential candidate John Habib, Vice-Presidential (External) candidate Esther Eisen, and Vice-Presidential (Internal) candidate Brendan Lerant, all ConEd ’22.

Between them, the team has held seven positions on CESA over the last three years, and they said these leadership experiences have taught them the ins and outs of the Association.

This year, as Conference Chair for Queen’s Conference on Education, Eisen told The Journal running a large event given “so many unknowns” related to COVID-19 has prepared her to tackle the uncertainty surrounding the 2021-22 school year.

However, though Team BluEJay are CESA veterans, Lerant says it’s not their intention to simply maintain the status quo.

“People want to see innovation,” he said. 

Thanks to experimentation in their previously-held positions, the team feels prepared to fulfill their platform promises. 

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Lerant said their slogan, “Soaring High. Grounded in Reality,” highlights the simultaneous ambitiousness and feasibility of their goals. 

Having created new positons within the Association in the past, the team plans to continue filling the gaps to make CESA run more effectively. One example would be to add an Employment Outreach Coordinator to reduce the stress students experience navigating the job market leading up to graduation. 

The team said they were inspired to run by a desire to improve the experience of the incoming class. 

Eisen’s experience in first year made her want to ensure smooth transitions to university for others. 

“You have to have opportunities to find your people,” she said.

For Lerant, running for Vice-President (Internal) is two years in the making.  

“We have a group of ambitious students and people who want to […] advocate for change in Con-Ed, but it takes people who know how to help other people to get [there],” he said.  

He wants to focus on making sure everyone feels welcome to participate, regardless of whether they fit the mold of the “social butterfly Con-Eddie.” 

“I want to make sure that if people want to be on CESA, no matter who they are, they can be heard,” he said. 

A sense of distance between CESA and the student body is an issue the team would also like to address, going to the source of the lack of student engagement by working to make CESA events more financially accessible and inclusive through sponsorship and bursary initiatives. 

Instead of speaking for racialized or otherwise marginalized students, Team BluEJay aims to facilitate more direct communication between the student body and the University, particularly on equity issues. 

The team is also interested in creating new courses to help students fulfill the requirements of their degree.

At Queen’s, the only option that currently exists for Con-Ed students to fulfill the BEd requirement of a half-year developmental psychology course is PSYC 100, a full-year course that Eisen says leaves students discouraged. 

“It’s okay to fail, but it’s not okay to make [the course feel] unattainable,” Eisen said.  

Team BluEJay will advocate for a half-year course option applicable to a future career in education, for which PSYC 100 is not a prerequisite.

The team said they believe in the power of student government to bring about change on behalf of students.

“We understand CESA and [therefore] we understand how it can change [for the] better,” Habib said.


This article has been updated to reflect the correct graduating year of the candidates in Team BluEJay.

The Journal regrets the error.

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