DSU Vice-president (Student Life) candidate: Renayre Forbes

Editor’s note: This interview has been edited and formatted for style and clarity.  

The Dalhousie Gazette sent a similar questionnaire to each candidate in the 2019 Dalhousie Student Union election.

Name: Renayre Forbes
Running for:
Vice-president (Student Life)
Pronouns: She/Her
Program and Year: Second-year applied computer science

Why are you running for this position?

Often, I see multiple processes at Dalhousie University that allow students to slip through the cracks of the system. Students are often left stranded as they hang on by a thread in other aspects of their lives. They’re left frustrated, tired, overwhelmed and powerless.

The DSU is an organization that has the potential to patch these cracks to preserve student rights. I want to empower students to openly share their perspectives, be open to other perspectives, have fun on and off campus, and participate in a healthy lifestyle.

What do you admire about the current DSU executices?

I appreciate how easy it is to contact and interact with some DSU executives. I believe it is very important for a person in power to understand how approachable they are. I appreciate how involved some executives are with issues that matter to the students, especially with the tuition freeze.

What would you like to see the DSU do differently?

I have seen the DSU slowly change from outside of the Student Union; however, after interacting with current members, executives and staff I know that the DSU is rapidly blossoming as an innovative organization.

I want to see the DSU have more of a presence in students’ lives. I would love to see the DSU think outside of the box and offer more interactive showcases that are fun, educational and connect students with their world.

What, in your opinion, is the biggest issue on campus right now?

The biggest issue is the lack of communication between departments on campus. With each department advancing in their own projects, small details tend to be forgotten and overlooked. The consequences trickle through the system down to who seems to be the at the bottom of the chain –– students.

For example, four months after the grand opening of the IDEA Building, Sexton Campus has no official map mentioning building names and departments. Many departments have moved offices and, in the beginning of the Fall 2018 term many students were left scrambling on where their courses were located.

I hope to work with the departments, faculties and societies on campus and establish a valuable relationship and open community dedicated to supporting the student body.

hope to work with the departments, faculties and societies on campus and establish a valuable relationship and open community dedicated to supporting the student body.

What are your goals if elected?

I plan to restructure O-Week to integrate faculties, societies and other departments on campus. This offers orientation to be inclusive to graduate students, mature students and upper-year students. This also allows new students to have a better introduction to what societies, the DSU and Dalhousie can offer them.

I will bring weekly clinics to Sexton and allow students to make same-day appointments and doctor visits on the Sexton campus (including mental health appointments).

I will also bring improved study spaces to Sexton and work with Frederic’s Cafe to offer students food promotions (For example, X per cent off sandwiches on Wednesdays, etc).

I will work with societies to encourage a higher turnout in their events and support exceptional and innovative student projects (for example, helping fund student participation in conferences, competitions, etc). I would also like to look into a multidisciplinary competition where students think of innovative ways to solve issues in the community. I will work with societies to determine areas of impact that will be used during event planning, event execution and the aftermath to measure how accessible the event is for various groups on campus.

I will support workshops and discussion that encourages students to think outside of the box and share ideas with each other, especially for topics surrounding mental health, or other ideas that are stigmatized.

Specifically, I hope to work with the International Centre and Dalhousie International Students’ Association to support mental health workshops and discussions. I will work with cultural societies to allow for more collaboration and more showcases/events throughout the year.

I will increase advertising for athletics and allow more opportunities to give students free tickets for multiple sporting teams. I will bring spirit weeks that allow for prizes, and incentives for participating. I will also work with the vice-provost (student affairs) on ways we can increase athletic event attendance and school spirit.

Why should students vote for you?

Because I am their number one fan.

Students should vote for me because I will be a firm advocate of student rights and personal progression. As an International student, I’ve faced many hiccups at Dalhousie including tuition worries, isolation, mental health issues, health issues etc. Even though I’ve felt lonely, unhappy, and powerless at times, I’ve met some of the most amazing people here; I have seen progression that has inspired me to support and uphold my fellow students. I believe that no one should feel alone and helpless with such a large student body.

What have you been watching on Netflix lately?

I don’t usually watch Netflix because they do shady stuff with your data, but I like One Strange Rock. It’s a documentary, narrated by Will Smith, about planet Earth.

There are 8 astronauts that talk about Earth, its geographical and physical history, and the Universe. It’s pretty similar to The Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey with Neil deGrasse Tyson but it’s a little more down to earth (hahaha, that was a joke).

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Rebecca Dingwell