Sanindie Silva, CompSci ’23, is running uncontested for President of the Computing Students Association (COMPSA).
Silva spoke with The Journal to discuss her goals for the Association.
After wanting to be involved in student government since elementary school, Silva jumped at the opportunity to get involved in COMPSA in her first year at Queen’s. As the first-year intern, she was able to learn more about the Association and how it caters to the students in the Faculty of Computing.
Silva currently serves as COMPSA’s events director, a role in which she organizes weekly events, including coffee chats.
Silva is running off three main platform points: accessibility; engagement; and proactivity.
“We need more accessibility between our resources and the support we offer and the student body,” Silva said.
She said she wants to introduce new methods for increased communication for computing students, pitching the idea of a Discord server.
Discord, traditionally used for instant messaging between gamers, is a digital platform designed for creating communities. Users can chat with each other through voice/video calls and text messaging, either privately or through community groups called servers.
With an emphasis on the difficulty of outreach in the COVID-19 era, Silva said this moderated and safe chatroom has been a successful method of communication for lower-year Computing students, so she would like to see it expanded through the entire faculty to increase awareness and engagement.
“I want to give students the opportunity to access the resources they need [—] whether this be mental health, computing, or job resources,” Silva said.
Silva also showed concern for the decreasing level of student engagement in the faculty.
Through her position as COMPSA events director, the minimal turnout from students has motivated her to find new solutions to increase student engagement.
“Every single year we’re receiving [fewer] applicants to lead our Orientation week, which is really upsetting to see,” Silva said.
She also wants to reach out to younger students in the faculty.
“I want to garner interest from younger years, because they are the next generation of student leaders,” Silva said. “I want younger students to come into the faculty and see the close-knit community that we have built.”
Silva mentioned postponing the COMPSA vice-presidential election because no one showed any interest in running for the position.
To increase awareness of and engagement within the Association, Silva wants to hold an exhibition for students to learn more about the COMPSA executive team.
“COMPSA is there to support students and to give them resources that will help them, whether it be issues related to academics, socials, equity, or professional development,” Silva said.
Silva wants to introduce a census offered to all Computing students at the beginning and end of each school year.
The goal of the census is to give COMPSA the capacity to effectively “model the school year to best fit the needs of students.”
Students would be asked questions about where they’re located, the best ways to reach them, and which social media platforms they’re most active on, as she’s noticed the incremental decrease of engagement with platforms like Facebook.
She said COMPSA has already made use of WeChat, a popular messaging site in China, to connect with computing students overseas.
Other goals Silva hopes to put into action include updating COMPSA’s marketing strategies and working with other faculties to create connections.
“Computing is very isolated because it is a very small faculty, I feel as if we should reach out and create connections with other faculties to create a bigger support network,” Silva said.
Silva said she’s “willing to put in the work needed to see results.”
Despite external factors like the pandemic making it hard to reach out to students and increase engagement, Silva said her passion and commitment could bring positive change to the faculty and to COMPSA.
“I love this community and I love this environment, and [as president] I want to give back and […] do something to improve it because I care about it.”
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