Carina Gabriele has come a long way since first year.
Recalling her first day at Western University, the incoming University Students’ Council’s student programs officer was nervous about her academics, meeting new people and her overall student experience.
“On my move-in day, I vividly remember all the sophs lined up in the parking lot, and they had their brightly-coloured uniforms,” said Gabriele, now a fourth-year women’s studies and literature student. “They started singing ‘First years, get out of the car!’ and I’m like, ‘Mom, dad, everything is fine now, I’ve got this!’ ”
The welcoming soph team was Gabriele’s first introduction to the student programs portfolio. In her second year, she was both a faculty soph for the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and the vice-president finance for the Arts and Humanities Students' Council.
In her third year, Gabriele was the president of the AHSC, familiarizing her with the USC’s policies and processes. This year, Gabriele acted as the USC’s Women’s Issues Network coordinator where she said she learned the administrative inner structure of the USC while working with Mac McIntosh, the USC’s outgoing student programs officer.
However, Gabriele’s passion for student government and fostering community was evident before arriving at university. In high school, she was involved in student council and was a school board student trustee.
“It’s something that I’ve always been interested in doing — extracurriculars and, specifically, student government,” Gabriele said. “I genuinely love it, and I love the work that students do. It’s consistently inspiring to see how much students are dedicated to these positions and these types of changes that they’re trying to advocate for.”
Emerging victorious after a competitive SPO election, Gabriele recognizes there is still a lot of work to do moving forward. As SPO, Gabriele will oversee the USC's student-run services and programming. This includes Orientation Week and Western's clubs system. Her platform emphasizes students' wellness and diversity on campus as she is aiming to improve Western's sexual violence prevention, increase support for student leaders and advocate for accessibility.
Gabriele is not only looking forward to working with the executive team and council, but also the students working under her portfolio. As SPO, Gabriele said she feels it's important to ensure that all students feel supported and represented.
“I really do believe that a strong team starts with ensuring that the executives are very much working together to get all their goals accomplished,” Gabriele expressed.