Residence Society hosts open forum with Jared Fernyc

Fernyc is running uncontested for Vice-President of Residential Affairs

The forum was held Sunday night over Zoom.
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The Residence Society (ResSoc) held an open forum Sunday night on Zoom where Jared Fernyc, the sole candidate running for the position of Vice-President of Residential Affairs (VPRA), highlighted his platform and plans to build on current ResSoc programming. 

Fernyc used his opening statement to provide details about his platform. Focusing on four key pillars, he intends to work with house president staff to craft and implement inclusive programs, increase the visibility of first-year students with active marketing, expand the scope of events offered by ResSoc through collaboration with current staff, and support the staff through consistent one-on-one meetings. 

First year experience

“First year experience at university is a period of growth and exploration on personal, professional and academic fronts,” Fernyc said. “I’d like to improve this experience by maximizing the number and range of resources available to students.” 

Fernyc hopes to introduce an interactive initiative, QMail, a residence pen pal system aimed at making connections between first-years and alleviating the isolation felt in an online environment. 

“We want to give them the best we have, given the circumstances,” Fernyc said. 

He also proposed a speaker and workshop series. 

“I’d like to create a full year-long speaker and workshop series through Zoom, with a range of programs to help students develop academic and professional skills they wouldn’t necessarily learn in the classroom.” 

Fernyc said he’s spent time gaining insight into current first-year experiences. He plans to implement a range of outdoor activities in the greater Kingston area to promote safe socialization in the event of another online school year. 

He intends to expand on current peer support networks within residences. 

Recognizing that many faculties have their own, Fernyc said he believes getting resources to students directly in residence would further aid in helping first-years with mental health challenges. 

“I believe the more avenues we have for students to access, or initiate a conversation about their mental health, the more likely they are to take action.” 

Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity, and Indigeneity (EDII)

EDII is a vital component to address as VPRA, according to Fernyc. He said he wants to ensure the incoming first-years will feel the presence of ResSoc staff as allies to the BIPOC and LGBTQIA2S+ communities. 

“I’d like to implement initiatives that promote the celebration of cultures,” Fernyc said. 

He said examples of these initiatives include the Residence Reading Project, a book club highlighting authors of colour and Indigenous history, and events specifically aimed at cultural celebrations. 

Regarding ResSoc’s obligation to create an inclusive space and act as an equal employer at Queen’s, Fernyc stressed the importance of training staff on equity and inclusion, as well as reminding staff to create a workplace where everyone feels valued.

“I believe that a great way to ensure accessibility is through creating a system of checks and balances to keep staff informed of any accessibility concerns,” he said. 

Fernyc would like to implement polling with the incoming and current residence community to keep current with concerns.

ResSoc Operations in the time of COVID-19

Fernyc said he supports keeping remote staff as it affords students the ability to be involved with ResSoc even if they aren’t living in Kingston.  

“By creating a very consistent events calendar for our events that are virtual, I believe that the uniformity would allow us to increase visibility,” Fernyc said. 

Citing his fourth and final pillar, Fernyc said he’d like to have monthly one-on-ones with student staff to support them and address any concerns in the upcoming year. He plans to foster a connection with the community he oversees and create a healthy work-life balance for students. 

ResSoc Programming 

Fernyc emphasized the power of social media marketing for student engagement because the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the visibility problem with ResSoc events. He plans to work with the marketing coordinator to maximize efficiency with online engagement. 

“I believe another improvement we can make is implementing a variety of programs and gaining feedback from the current community,” Fernyc said. 

Leadership

Fernyc said he possesses leadership skills as a result of his experience as a team lead for design projects at Queen’s, managing a team for a national organization, and managing a small business. He’s passionate about team building and is enthusiastic about overseeing the residence student staff in this role. 

“I’m very passionate about creating a space for a group of individuals to come together, find a collective vision and set out the steps to achieve it,” Fernyc said. 

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