SPO candidate Harry Orbach-Miller

Name: Harry Orbach-Miller

Year: Fourth year

Program: Jewish studies

Why do you want to run for SPO?

Throughout the past few months, I’ve had the privilege to meet with many students and hear their perspectives. From all these conversations, a common theme emerged: students felt that decisions were being made for them and not with them. This must change. Every student should feel there is a place in the USC for their vision and ideas.

What I am most proud of during my time as Chair of the Western Student Senators is the incredible amount of students who ran for and voted in Senate elections this year. By showing that it was a place where their ideas and voices are welcome, students responded by engaging with Senate on unprecedented levels. I know we can do the same for student programs.

What skills and experiences make you qualified for the position?

From being a floor representative in first year to my current role as Chair of the Western Student Senators, I’ve had the opportunity to serve students in a variety of ways. However, what I believe is the most important skill for the next SPO is the ability to bring people together. Making change happen will require bringing all voices and perspectives to the table, a little compromise, and the ability to work well with Council. These are all areas I have a lot of experience in.

During the week of the Fall Reading Break vote, the student senators met individually with many faculty senators to hear their perspectives and address any concerns. The vote passed by an overwhelming margin because people were given the chance to speak to their issues before it came to the floor. I plan on bringing this same approach to the student programs portfolio.

What are your plans for Orientation Week next year?

For this upcoming Orientation Week, I’m excited to work with Orientations governing bodies to bring more of our campus community into the fold. Cultural and academic clubs are an essential part of the student experience and we should be giving first-years the opportunity to engage them from week one.

Moreover, there isn’t just one student experience and our Orientation must be reflective of that. I’ll work with our Orientation leaders to ensure that there are diverse types of high-caliber programming so no student has to feel that they are choosing an alternative.

As well, I want to continue the great work that the Charity Orientation Team is currently doing by focusing on ‘time given’ instead of just money.

Lastly, I want to create a Soph Team Support fund to give teams resources to program throughout the entire year.

What are some other program initiatives that you want to plan?

Promoting Student Art: The alcove between Starbucks and Mustang Central is adorned with some uninspiring motivational posters. I will work with the newly created Public Arts Coordinator to curate student art that can be hung in that area on a rotating basis, allowing students the ability to showcase their incredible talent.

HOCO on Campus: ‘HOCO on the Hill’ was successful because it gave students the opportunity to celebrate together, and was financially accessible. Let’s bring it back.

Continuing the Conversation: The ‘Let’s Talk Racism’ event was a great step forward in promoting conversation on an important campus issue. This event and others like it need to continue so we can foster constructive dialogue on issues that can be difficult to discuss in a meaningful way.

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Grace is a news editor for volume 111 at the Gazette. She is a fourth-year neuroscience student minoring in French studies. If you want to reach Grace, email her at grace@westerngazette.ca

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