a, SSMU Elections 2013

Brian Farnan, candidate for VP Internal

McGill Tribune: What tangible experiences do you have that qualify you for the position?

Brian Farnan: Going into this year, as VP External for Arts, I gained experience working with an executive team. With regards to Frosh and events planning, I’ve coordinated Arts Frosh, which was one of the biggest [Froshes]. Being both an executive and a coordinator, we cleared $17,000 profit. I knew that I was running for this position since September, so September-December was figuring out logisitics … taking to Mike [Szpejda, current VP Internal] since the beginning of the year, and then attending the working groups that he sits on as well as the larger orientation planning groups.

MT: So, based on all these experiences, what professional and personal skills have you developed that will prepare you for SSMU VP Internal?

BF: First, it’s dealing with people. I think that’s a skill I’d just grown because it’s a skill that you realize you need. It’s being approachable. It’s being open-minded. The other aspect is kind of just breaking with tradition … With my [AUS VP] External position this year, we [were] in charge of philanthropy. So in years past, it’s been like a charity week … a five-day long, isolated event … I took issue with that at the beginning of the year. So what I did was I changed it, so that I created a committee, it’s called the arts community engagement committee, and so just doing that job throughout the year, in smaller, more focused ways.


MT: You said you want to contribute by making tweaks,  rather than overhauling existing programs entirely. You just also said you want to bring a bigger picture and shift things around. How are you going to marry those two goals, and what is going to come out of that?

BF: I have a lot of respect for the process, so at no point do I want to feel like an idiot that is promising something that I can’t deliver on, so I would say that main desire in shadowing Mike, is that, I know from the past couple of months … what is generally possible, what’s not. Some of the things that were brought up in the debate last night were “oh, you can do this. You can change Orientation week completely,” but you can’t do that … I was talking to the coordinator of Rad Frosh, what they do is that they wear bandanas and have people going around essentially making sure everyone is comfortable. They don’t have that in Faculty froshes. It seems like the simplest thing. That’s the kind of stuff you can add. It’s the little things you can put in the cracks to an already functioning mechanism and make it better.

When you go to bigger innovations, I think that’s leaning more towards the communications aspect of the portfolio because it’s under-developed. [Listserv] emails are just obsolete. Letting people know what events [are happening], getting people in contact with stuff, it’s also just not one-way communications. The Simplify McGill thing, is really just sitting down, and out of the communications budget, allotting just one, right-of-the-bat fee for a website designer. I’ve seen crazy things that people can do with websites over a campaign period. If you can do it for a campaign period, you can implement this for the whole Students’ Society. And you just have these interactive maps for each of these various topics or various subjects. So these are the bigger innovations you can bring into the portfolio within reason that I think are tangible or can get accomplished.

MT: What projects would you want to implement next year that are different?

BF: Well, the Simplify McGill is a huge one for me because I think that these are little, simple things you can do that don’t take a lot of manpower, they don’t take a lot of resources… The equitable events protocol is something that the Equity commissioners are working on, that I would really like to get solidified and get included because it kind of links to this other thing that I want to do, which is create a chair on every events committee or at least have a step that is purely consultative before an event gets off the ground … to go through the Equity and Sustainability chair and just see what their thoughts are.

The other thing … is implementing a system that essentially makes the application process for orientation staff and leaders, a lot more thorough … what someone brought up at this meeting, and that I would love to jump on and push with all my might, is a certificate program for Orientation staff and Frosh leaders. The certificate program would just essentially be, whether it be a certificate or a letter from a faculty or the Dean of your faculty or the Dean of Students, whatever, it can just be a photocopied signature, essentially just adding more credibility to these positions … essentially just setting that tone and set that expectation right away works because when  they think that they are something important, then they usually reciprocate with behaviour that reflects that.

What were you for Halloween?

I was a baby. I wore a man diaper and stuff. It was great. Hopefully that picture doesn’t make it into this issue.

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