Hey engineering friends and welcome back to a jam-packed Fall term!
This term is kicking off with a bang as we head right into Executive Elections! At the end of December, my team is completing our time serving you as EngSoc Exec, which means it’s time to elect our replacements. The positions are a little different going forward; this term, we are electing President, VP Academic, VP Communications, VP Operations and Finance, and VP Student Life. Leading up to the elections, the current Exec will be posting blog posts detailing what their position does, what an average day is like, where we see the portfolio going, and why we love what we do. Keep an eye out for all the posts and reach out to us if you want more information!
The first blog post in this series is on being President of the Engineering Society. Nominations for President open September 8th.
The Role of President
The President of the Engineering Society is responsible for guiding the direction of the Society as a whole. They manage and oversee the rest of the Executive, along with the commissioners, directors, volunteers and the staff. The President is responsible for ensuring that the Society is operating smoothly and continuing to grow to meet the changing needs of the student body.
The largest aspect of the role, in addition to overseeing the operations and the direction, is advocacy. The President represents engineering student interests at all times, including at various faculty and university meetings. Here, they do their best to ensure that actions taken by these groups serve engineering students. They are also the official student link to the Dean’s Office and regularly present feedback on current issues affecting students. They’re also the default student representative on tribunals held by the Faculty Committee for Student Appeals and the Examinations and Promotions Committee.
A Day in the Life
There isn’t really a typical day for the President. Some typical tasks include preparing for Council and Board meetings, sitting on various committees, meeting with the Executive, working on new initiatives and supporting the others on theirs, and talking to students about current issues. It is a very open role, which allows each President to cater their experience and their passion to how they want to grow the Society.
In addition to the regular tasks, the President is often asked to step in and support other changes around campus. As some examples, in the Winter term I served as the Engineering student representative on the Orientation Week Working Group, and the Presidents before me worked closely with the Faculty on the plans for the new Engineering 7 building.
There are always surprises during the term and it definitely keeps it interesting.
The President has the unique opportunity to oversee each portfolio. By collaborating with the other Executive, it is possible for the President to work to improve every aspect of the Engineering Society and the student experience.
Looking to the Future
As the Society has continued to grow into a more professional organization for the past few years, I see the portfolio of the President growing to include three main things:
- More student advocacy,
- More involvement in the Faculty administration, and
- Introducing new services for students, academic and professional
The Society is starting to really develop relationships with the Faculty and other groups on campus, and this is giving us more and more opportunity to advocate for the student body. I think the President (and the VP Academic) roles should begin taking more initiative to actively do this. Right now, we are great at following up when issues are brought to us and speaking for the student interest at meetings, but I think more effort should be made to find these issues and push for change.
Last year saw some large scale additions to the services we offer, including Ridgidware, the First Year Leadership Integration Conference and Career Fair. Now that these are established, effort should be applied to grow them further. They should not be left stagnant at their current state, because they have unbelievable potential.
As the directors and commissioners each year continue to excel at planning great events and services, that frees up more time for Executives to focus on new initiatives. Less of the Executive’s time should be spent on event logistics, and their efforts should shift to being more managerial and focused on Society improvements.
To end this article, I want to reflect on what an amazing experience being an Executive has been. I have truly loved being an Executive and serving the Society, especially in this role. As President, I was able to be involved in anything and everything. You need to be able to know when to step in and help out and when to step back. Multi-tasking becomes second nature, chairing meetings becomes a breeze, and you really learn how to be comfortable speaking up – for yourself and for the student body you represent. I have had the opportunity to work with not one, but two amazingly passionate Executive teams. I have made efforts to grow the Society, and have grown myself in the process.
That’s all I have for now. Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts on the role and the Society. If you are interested in the elections or possibly running for an Exec position check out my past blog posts that go over why you should consider running and the process of the elections.
Why You Should Run for Executive
Guide to running in the Fall 2016 elections
President Engineering Society ‘A