Name: Paul Scala
Year: Fourth year
Program: School for Advanced Studies in the Art and Humanities
Why do you want to run for SPO?
I learned about the importance of reaching out to others in a positive manner—even in small ways. With this in mind, I am running for the SPO position to act as a catalyst for growth with respect to inclusivity for all students. Student-based clubs, events, and initiatives are an incredibly invaluable component of our community and I wish to serve to ensure the maintenance, sustainability and the flourishing of our student body by managing the SPO portfolio.
What skills and experiences make you qualified for the position?
I have skills in event planning as evidenced by my role as VP of Events for the Western Chess & Go Club. I organized and oversaw the Canadian University Chess Championship, 2017. I exercised my ability to strategically coordinate logistics, find sponsorship, and secure accommodations. My experience on the Senate Review Board Academic (SRBA) as a Student Senator at Western enabled me to engage in the democratic process while working on issues pertaining to policy as well as academic appeals. Owning and operating a business enabled me develop interpersonal skills while dealing with employees and customers. Further, serving as Academic Director for General Arts and Science at Georgian College helped solidify the above-mentioned skills.
What are your plans for Orientation Week next year?
In future, I aim to incorporate into our O-Week programming local talent developed in our outstanding music faculty. Further, we ought to consider showcasing home-grown student artists. We can still host ‘big name’ artists, but there is room to express the Western spirit in a more authentic and diverse manner. Western students should vote on which artists will perform for the incoming students. This can become an annual tradition: current students deciding for incoming Western students how their O-Week will take shape. Students who vote will be entered into a draw for a prize. This way, more people will feel involved in the decision making process and the USC will appear more accessible and transparent.
What are some other program initiatives that you want to plan?
The Peer Support Centre promotes the wellbeing of students through the Wellness Centre. The Peer Support Centre promotes the I appreciate the increase of funding for its respective Facilitator. We have, among other support systems, LGBT and Eating Disorder Discussion Groups. The USC must also lead the effort to destigmatize mental health. My goal is to devote resources to a Mental Health Discussion Group.
I believe we need to better inform our students about our clubs system which cultivates a range of interests, skills, talents and hobbies. Active involvement can mitigate mental health issues which stem from feelings of isolation and lack of engagement. We have the opportunity to facilitate experiential learning, character development, and leadership training by emphasizing inclusivity. I will ensure ensure that the Club Outreach Coordinator is supported in securing 1-2 supplementary pages on a regular basis in the Gazette specifically to generate exposure to club activities and events.
We also will investigate the feasibility of hosting an annual conference-like symposium aimed at collaboration between students from every club and every academic discipline. The symposium will be modelled like the Words Festival. It will borrow aspects of the arts festival called Reverie but will include undergraduate research in the same manner as the Undergraduate Awards.