Written by: Billie Clark
Welcome to the second post about the TrentU Durham Student Association (TDSA). This post is the first of three posts regarding the TDSA executives—the elected positions. I interviewed the current President in order to gain a deeper understanding of the position, why he ran for it, and what information, tips, or hints he has for anyone interested in running in the future.
The President is really the top of the TDSA totem pole. They are the spokesperson of the TDSA and they make sure that everything is running efficiently. The President supervises the relations and operations of the TDSA, plans and makes fiscal/budgetary decisions for the organization, and presents official statements regarding the TDSA.
This year’s President is Shawn Murphy, a final year Sociology major who is currently writing a thesis with Professor Cosgrave. Shawn was actually on the TDSA last year, as the Vice-President of University Affairs, and he has also been on the Board of Directors in the past. It was because of his position on the TDSA last year that Shawn decided to run for this year’s President: he became aware of some previous mismanagement and fiscal fiascos, and decided that he wanted to change the way the TDSA was being run and managed. Shawn felt he had the imagination, experience, and drive to make the TDSA better and more all-around student-focused, rather than an organization focused solely on the “fun” activities. And, given his title and some of the different things accomplished by the TDSA so far this year, it safe to say he’s done just that.
Shawn’s advice to anyone interested in running for the TDSA, especially those aiming to become President, is that you need to approach the job with the right attitude. You’ll need to work hard, but you will learn a great deal—you will discover your strengths and weakness, and overcome, or at least develop, in those areas that you struggle in. You will also gain experience and highly applicable and sought-after job (and life) skills, and create a great network, which will continue to be valuable to you as you enter the workforce. If the fact that being a TDSA executive might cause you to add another year to your degree is causing you to hesitate, Shawn says it is worth it: “If you demonstrate that you are working to the best of your abilities in these positions, you are opening more doors than you could ever believe.”
If you ever see Shawn in the halls, say hello to him—he’s a cool guy and always willing to chat. He would love to hear about any ideas, concerns, questions, or anything else you want to talk about. You can always email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop in on him in the TDSA office (his desk is behind Tiffany’s).
The next post will be about the Vice-President of University Affairs, Chris Fernlund. Look forward to it!