By Kristy Koehler, September 6 2019—
In an effort to introduce new — or even continuing — students to representatives in the Students’ Union and in the Students’ Legislative Council, the Gauntlet is running the series, ‘Who’s Who in the SU.’ We introduced you to the executives, now let’s meet the Faculty Representatives. Faculty of Arts Representative Marley Gillies tells her story.
The Gauntlet: What do you do in your role?
Marley Gillies: As a faculty representative, my role is to facilitate and respond to the needs and requests of the students studying at the University of Calgary in the Arts Faculty. This position requires constant consultation with the Faculty administration, to voice concerns and the realities of the student experience to the Dean’s Office and other staff to encourage change and response to this voice.
G: Why did you run for your role?
MG: I decided to run for Arts Faculty Representative in my first year at the university because I was motivated to ignite change within the role, and transform the position to one that students would see to be more approachable, accessible, and impactful. With personability and professionalism, this role was attractive to me because of the impact my abilities would bring to the students of the largest (and best) faculty on campus.
G: What do you specifically plan to do within your role?
MG: Being elected for a second term has an even more significant meaning to me, and the way I am approaching this year. Being re-elected means that the voting students reacted to the work I had accomplished in my first term, so much so to spend another year doing the same, with the necessary changes I advertised in my campaign platform. This term, I plan to continue hosting the faculty uniting events that I began last term. The Acts Faculty Town Hall is the faculty’s only opportunity to unify our incredible clubs, students and faculty in one room, to learn, benefit, connect and create with one another. The first annual town hall of this nature was a huge success, and I look forward to improving the event and hosting it again this year. One big issue that faces all students is mental health. Fueled by my own personal experiences, I am empowered to provide students with the opportunity to utilize the resources that the Students’ Union, and the University provides. Although these resources are not always perfect, it is important that every student actually knows that they exist. Specifically the SU Wellness Center, regardless of varying student experiences in the office, is a step in the right direction in terms of improving mental health among the student population. As someone who has experienced and witnessed the constant battle of mental health, the Wellness Center provided nothing but support. They brought me to a position of someoneone willing to learn from it, talk about it and even advocate for it, all aspects that I hope to bring to the students of my faculty this year.
G: For someone who doesn’t know what Students’ Legislative Council is, how would you describe it? And how would you describe what it does?
MG: The Students’ Legislative Council is a team of elected officials, representing all faculties and all 25,000 undergraduate students. This council is tasked with being a governing body that represents and advocates for student needs and concerns. Each week, SLC meets to report every representatives work to preach accountability and to yield actual change and visible results. The team collaborates between faculties and functions as a unit to ensure that the overall student voice is represented in our annual planning, specifically including our budget, events, reports and services.
G: A year from now, when you are done your role, what do you want to look back on and see?
MG: Ultimately, I hope to look back on a faculty that is more connected than it was before. The Arts Faculty, even just for the short two years I’ve been a part of it, has influenced who I am, and the way that I carry myself as an elected official, but also as a student. I want every student to experience this same connectedness. The realities of a commuter campus, combined with the size and variety of our faculty makes this an almost impossible task, but it is a task that is important for the future of those with an arts degree. Connections, knowledge, idea-sharing and progress is what creates our future. Our programs do not have very much in common, but whether Fine Arts, Economics, English, Psychology, and everything in between, we share the reality that our future depends on the relationships we nurture during our time as undergraduate students, and it is never known which connection will take us to where we need to be going forward. So, when looking back, I hope that my time as a representative reflected this thinking, and assisted even just a few students with their connections and relationships, to have a positive impact on their time at the university and afterwards.
G: What’s one thing that you’ve learned now that you wish you had learned in the past?
MG: I wish I had learned, and fostered, the ability to adapt quicker to the forward nature of this role. When I was first elected last year, it took me more time than I wish it had to be familiar and more comfortable with the position requirements in terms of being forward-thinking and having an intense awareness of time management. Now that I know these skills and understand their requirement, I am ready to apply them to my second year as Arts Rep.
G: How can students get in contact with you if they need you?
MG: I am easily accessible by email, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or more informally at Instagram or Facebook handles of @marleygillies. I stand for being approachable and hope that this reflects in my invitation for connection, and responses. Feel free to contact me at any hour.