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SU Elections 2024 Q&A: Board of Governors Representative

There is one candidate running in the 2024 Students’ Union Board of Governors Representative race — Adrien Lam.

The Board of Governors (BoG) is the highest governing body at the University of Alberta and plays a key role in its operations. BoG oversees areas such as tuition fees, university property, finances, and strategic direction.

The BoG representative serves as a voice for the undergraduate student body through their seat on BoG. This individual collaborates closely with the Students’ Union (SU) president, and participates as a voting member on both the Students’ Council and General Faculties Council (GFC).

There is one candidate in the 2024 SU BoG representative race:

  • Adrien Lam, a fourth-year immunology student.

The following interviews have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Why have you decided to run for BoG representative? 

Adrien Lam: I decided to run for BoG representative this year because I feel that students’ voices on campus aren’t being heard. As a student during the COVID-19 pandemic, I didn’t really know where to begin or where to voice my concerns about tuition hikes, world political views, or where I could even get involved. It took me a little bit of time to realize that there is actually a platform, but it is not as well-known.

With my skills as a coding instructor, one of my platforms that I want to develop is somewhere that students can anonymously submit their opinions and views, that can be brought up at the BoG meetings, while intertwining Augustana, Campus Saint-Jean (CSJ), and North Campus together.

What are the three big takeaways from your platform?

Lam: One of the first things that came to my mind was to make a website where we can separate all three campuses, so that their opinions are equally heard. That’s one of the critiques I heard last year, where the students on the CSJ and Augustana campuses felt like their opinions were merged together. I aim to develop a website that allows students to anonymously address concerns for all three campuses. Now that I have a platform, I need to get student engagement. Being a part of different student bodies and different clubs as vice-president, it feels like I have the ability to reach out to different international students, and different clubs. 

And finally, my last takeaway from the platform is to still keep the legacy of the current BoG representative and make it lots of fun with digestible social media posts.

Why would you be an effective advocate for students as BoG representative?

Lam: Although I never really had years of experience in a similar position, I know that as a student and in my nature, that I genuinely care. I have experience with a bunch of kids from different backgrounds. I myself, an Asian female, have empathy and sympathy for students. For the international students and how they feel that they’re not getting enough funding, or similarly for CSJ students, who are also not getting enough funding.

I advocate for education quite a lot of the time. One of the platforms that I’ve developed is GiftEdu, for when I went down to Guatemala and I met a kid there who struggled with education. And I just feel so badly for children who don’t get education, and how it’s not really fair that we’re not all equally getting the same education across all three campuses as well. And that’s why l’ve decided to run for a bigger role, even though it is out of my comfort zone.

BoG representative may be one of the positions that students are less familiar with. How do you plan on engaging with the student body regarding your work?

Lam: Many students might not be aware of the BoG’s existence or even what their role is. And there are a few reasons for this. Often, the workings of the university’s governance happens behind closed doors, with decisions communicated in ways that don’t always reach the wider student body. Additionally, the technical nature of the government can seem distant from day-to-day student experience, making it hard or intimidating to reach out to.

So, part of my platform is having that anonymous platform or website that allows students to submit their thoughts and opinions. This can allow me to compile the most common student concerns and bring it up at BoG meetings equally. As well, international students also don’t really seem to know where to go. And I feel that having a Chinese background, I can also help out with Chinese students making-up one of the larger international students on the board here.

With files obtained from Dylana Twittey.

Aparajita Rahman

Aparajita Rahman is the 2023-24 Staff Reporter at The Gateway. She is in her second year, studying Psychology and English. She enjoys reading, and getting lost on transit.

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