Uncontested ResSoc Presidential candidate discusses platform at open forum

‘Advocate, educate, and support’

Sole ResSoc presidential candidate talks installing residence mentorship program.

The Residence Society (ResSoc) Presidential Forum, held on Jan. 20, saw sole Presidential candidate Emily Yeung, HealthSci ’23, answer questions about her platform. The open forum was moderated by current ResSoc President Roshael Chellapah and Chief Electoral Officer Caitlin Sankaran-Wee.

The forum allowed Yeung to discuss her plans concerning first-year student experiences, adapting to COVID-19, equity and Indigeneity initiatives, residence conduct, and leadership.

In her opening statement, Yeung introduced herself as a third-year Health Science student with previous involvement in ResSoc and peer mentoring, running on the campaign slogan “advocate, educate, and support.”

“One of the reasons why I wanted to take on this role is [because] it's important to provide that line of support for our students,” she said.

Yeung hopes to use her position to advocate for students and build a more robust support system in residence.

“I think it’s really, really important to ensure you have a safe space for students to thrive throughout their first year. It goes a long way in terms of their career, and their form of giving back, as well as improving professional development.”

Throughout the open forum segment, Yeung emphasized the importance of holding consultations with students on issues like lottery versus first-come-first-serve room selection and the future of the residence meal plan.

“If room selection were to persist, I think it's really important to advocate for updated information on the current residence websites of what each of the residence rooms look like, so providing videos or platforms of the quad rooms,” she said.

Projects Yeung hopes to implement during her time as ResSoc president, should she be elected, are regular mental health check-ins conducted by residence facilitators (RFs) and a mentorship program pairing first-years in residence with upper years to enhance student wellbeing.

“That includes providing office hours for our RFs individually in their residence, so they have an opportunity to have students come to their doors and talk to them about these types of initiatives, as well as do programming,” she explained.

“To provide that rapport and foster connection between our first-years and upper-years is absolutely vital, ensuring that they're able to continue growing throughout the academic year.”

According to Yeung, this program will differ from other existing mentorship programs within individual faculties because mentors will be offering a support system while living alongside students.

Regarding residence conduct, Yeung proposed solutions for mitigating residence damages and malicious fire alarms by having ResSoc staff act as role models. This aims to ensure students’ understanding of the conduct standards and that breaches of conduct are weighed fairly when upholding expectations for living in residence.

“I think [conduct] comes from students’ perspectives [on] what it means to be living in residence and [the] perspective that you don't really get when you're not living with family members at home,” she said.

She also acknowledged there are conflicting perspectives on introducing surveillance cameras in residence and suggested installing them in limited ways if they were to be used.

“I think it's really, really important to address and understand that students need privacy, and people have privacy in terms of how they live and how they move around in residence,” she explained.

"If surveillance cameras are implemented, I think [they] should be implemented in certain spots.”

During the question period, members-at-large asked Yeung about fostering relationships between students living in Jean Royce Hall and on Main Campus and how to improve students’ awareness of ResSoc and the programming it offers.

In response, Yeung said she hopes to emphasize the difference between ResSoc and ResLife on branding and social media, ensure residence facilitators are present in residents’ lives and build closer relationships between Main and West Campus by holding events and seeking student input on the residence experience.

“As presidential candidate, I am looking very forward towards advocating for a strong, supportive community that provides opportunities for students to learn about Queen’s support systems,” she stated.

The ResSoc presidential election will take place on Jan. 24.

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