Statement from Josh Le, Candidate for Vice President-Operations & Finance | SU Elections 2013

Theme: Think Local

Platform points:

  • Enhance SU Businesses
  • Champion SUB and PAW Projects
  • Strengthen Communication Channels

Think Local

It’s a play on the idea of supporting the local economy by supporting local businesses and communities. In this case, the Students’ Union is the local economy, and to think local is to support the Students’ Union, which ultimately serves you. All three platform points are unified under the “Think Local” theme and each point builds towards a successful Students’ Union. The Students’ Union will thrive and grow the most when its members are engaged in the Students’ Union community.

Enhance SU Businesses

The SU Business portfolio is separated into three different categories: Food/beverage, retail, and programming/venues. I will systematically review each business unit, develop recommendations, and provide assistance and support for the managers to implement them. We must ensure the businesses effectively and efficiently meet students’ needs to ultimately improve the quality of the student experience.

There’s a great opportunity for growth and efficiency within each business unit, and I want to use my experience in retail and management and academic pursuits of my BCom to improve each business. I have a combined 4 years of retail experience ranging from sales to management positions and this will be an asset to the retail positions.  I worked at Walmart as a management intern for my first Coop position and I currently work at Jaisel, a small men’s clothing boutique. The combination of these unique experiences provides me with a fresh and experienced set of lenses to improve the business units. The journey and pursuit to my Bachelor of Commerce equips me with a wide skill set to assess and offer sound recommendations for businesses. One major skill I’m developing in my BCom is conducting effective case analyses. A case analysis consists of offering creative, unique, and realistic solutions to business problems and challenges.  The challenge is applying the proper tools and skills to effectively solve a problem.

Link to Think Local: Supporting SU businesses will benefit students in the short and long term because profits generated from the business units help fund SU programs and service. Enhancing SU businesses will make the businesses more attractive to students which will lead to higher levels of engagement with the businesses which then lead to more revenue for the businesses.

Action items: Systematically review each business unit, develop recommendations, and provide assistance and support for the managers and staff to implement them.

Champion SUB and PAW Projects

Students’ Union Building: Oversee the changes and ensure the highest number of students will benefit. It’s important for SUB to achieve two long-term goals: ensuring that the building continues to be kept up-to-date and well-maintained, and encouraging student involvement in campus groups, events, and volunteer opportunities.

The SUB Renovation will

–          Provide increased amount of social and study space

–          Improve the space available for delivery of many student services

–          Increase the space devoted to student group offices and activities

–          Create a focal point for student involvement opportunities

–          Improve access to, and visibility of, the lower level of SUB, and improve use of existing in general

Physical Activity and Wellness Centre: Research, advocate, and consult students to achieve the best student space possible. The three main focal points:

1)      Communal kitchen – Shape the idea into a concept and figure out the details.

2)      Food service vendors – What food vendor will best meet students’ needs considering the location and demographic of the main users.

3)      SU-owned retail space – One or two shops selling a form of retail merchandise. Pro shop is at least one of the options.

Link to Think Local: SUB is the home of the Students’ Union. As a primary asset of the Students’ Union, the SUB exists to serve the University community, but primarily to meet the needs of students—past, present, and future. PAW is a major project where the Students’ Union is a key stakeholder. The SU will own key space that will meet students’ needs that no other place on campus can fill.

Action items: Consult with students, student groups, and student services regarding the next phase of the SUB renovation, and advocate for the best interest of those key stakeholders.

Strengthen Communication Channels

Maintain a public presence for the Operations and Finance portfolio ensures transparency with our stakeholders. Increasing the communication and dialogue results in higher transparency and student engagement leads which then leads to an overall better student experience. Students pay a total of $69.23 ($37.09 in SU Membership Fees and $32.14 in SU Dedicated Fees) and it’s important that students understand the value of their student fees and how they presently receive a return on their investment and how to maximize that value received by the Students’ Union. Increasing student engagement with SU businesses will increase the profitability of each business unit. Increasing the profitability will increase funding to SU programs and services that benefit students.

It’s important to communicate the successes of the portfolio ranging from each business unit to outstanding personnel. For example, Cram Dunk exclusively serves Fair Trade organic coffee, SUBprint offers large format printing as well as fast and affordable printing options. The list goes on. Students need to know what businesses and services are offered by the Students’ Union in order for students to support and benefit from their SU businesses.

Link to Think Local: The key to a strong and healthy relationship is communication. We must engage the student body by creating a vibrant dialogue between the SU and its stakeholders.

Action items: Create a more public presence for the Operations and Finance portfolio. Build on the communication infrastructure set by past VPOFs. Explore best communication channels and provide regular updates about the portfolio. Provide weekly videos updating the students of key activities that week. Reinstate the VPOF blog and Twitter account. Create viable feedback mechanisms for suggestions and criticisms of SU services and businesses.

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What is the name of your campaign manager?

My campaign manager is Kelsey Mills. She is serving on her 2nd term on Students’ Council as an Arts Councillor. She is studying to complete her BA in Economics.

What are the three on-campus activities that you are involved in do you consider the most important?

My most important on-campus activities are serving on Students’ Council as a Business Councillor to engage Business students with the campus, the BSA, and the School of Business; engaging myself in the activities of several faculties across campus to help unite the UofA, and walking across campus with a smile on my face to spread joy and happiness. :{D>

Would you rather fight 1 horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?

I would welcome the challenge to fight 1 horse-sized duck because defeating it and cooking it into a delicious Peking Duck dish would be a treat! You get some peking duck, and you get some peking duck, and you get some peking duck – EVERYBODY GETS SOME PEKING DUCK!

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