Director of student affairs candidate 2014: Kaylee Szakacs

Kaylee Szakacs is the Vision UVic candidate for director of student affairs. She is one of two candidates running for this position. Voting for this election opens March 5, 2014.

What area do you study at UVic?

I study psychology in the faculty of social sciences—specifically with a focus on infant, child, and adolescence and everything surrounding that.

Why did you choose to run for this position?

I chose to run with Vision for director of student affairs because I’ve noticed that there is a big gap between the UVSS and students. I’ve been a student here for three years, two of those years working as a community leader in residence, and I really noticed that in first year when students come and live on residence, they’re vibrant, they’re engaged in their community and they’re really enjoying what they’re doing. But then, as soon as they leave that residence experience, everything kind of just stops. They’re not sure what to do, community involvement ends and I really want to be a part of that change.

What makes you a good candidate for this position?

I’m a good candidate because I feel like I really know what students are looking for. I’ve connected with students of all ages in all faculties and I just really care about how people view the school and view their involvement in the school and I really want to make sure that everybody enjoys their time here and potentially can have connections that last beyond graduation.

What experience do you have with campus clubs?

I don’t have a lot of experience with campus clubs because residence has kept me very busy, but I’m very excited to hopefully join a couple new clubs next year and I’m really excited to be working with a bunch of different clubs.

What do you want to accomplish if you win the position?

If elected I really want to work at making sure everybody feels a sense of belonging to a club, course union or the advocacy group that they feel represents them best. I want to make sure that everybody feels that they are heard, and that their voices matter, and that their opinions matter like I said in the club, course union or advocacy group that appeals to them. I want to make sure there’s events for people to attend and hopefully clubs can have spotlights at those events in the future.

How would you handle conflicts between students and a club?

I’m really about mediation and I can see sides to both stories very clearly and whenever I aim to fix conflict between anybody, between people or organizations I’m really all about finding a compromise and finding solutions that can work best for everybody. It’s not about who’s right and who’s wrong and who should be doing this and who shouldn’t be doing that it’s about finding common ground that everybody’s happy with.

What would you do differently from this year’s board?

I would make sure that everybody feels heard and is heard because I think that is a very big difference. I just want to make sure more people are involved in clubs because clubs are so awesome and I don’t think many students realize that they can start a club if they don’t find one that appeals to them and hopefully next year we’ll bring lots more clubs, lots more interest based groups. I’m just really excited about it.

What are your main goals if elected?

My main goals are to rebuild the bridges that have been burned down in the past between Res Life specifically. I want to make sure that there are collaborations between the UVSS and Res Life for events and campaigns and just involvement in general. I want to sponsor clubs in whatever way I possibly can and have inter-club events—maybe debates, spotlights—anything that gets different clubs talking together and I really want to advocate for safe spaces on campus, because I feel like everybody should have a safe space where they can go and feel 100 per cent comfortable whether that’s with a club or without a club.

What’s your favourite hobby?

Probably running. I really love running; I love reading. Netflix is a good hobby.

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