Q&A with Rachel Campbell - Newly Elected Policy Director, OYL

Yesterday in Toronto, Carleton’s very own Rachel Campbell, a third-year student was elected policy director of the Ontario Young Liberals. On Sept. 10, Campbell announced her candidacy on Facebook and was later endorsed by Josh Loeffler, president of the Etobicoke Centre Provincial Young Liberals Association. She also exceeded her fundraising goal of $700 to make the Annual General Meeting (AGM) more affordable and accessible for youth delegates. 


Q: What brought you to Carleton?

A: I was touring a couple universities, but I came to Carleton right after the Paris attacks, and we drove by the Parisian embassy and it was lit up. There were people everywhere, there was candles, and vigil. I just felt like if there was anywhere in the world I want to be, it’s here. 


Q: How did you get involved in politics in Ottawa?

A:I had an interest in politics and global affairs before, but I didn’t become partisan until I came to campus. I always thought I was a Liberal, but it wasn’t until I came to campus and found a group of people (Carleton University Young Liberals) and started talking to people, that I found that my ideology and values definitely aligned with the Liberal agenda.


Q: What area of policy do you hope to focus on?

A: I want to make politics more accessible, whether it’s making safer spaces, addressing harassment, or that there are big gaps in the demographics that are involved. 


Q: You’ve spoken out about sexual violence on campus before. Is that something you want to bring to your position? 

A: Absolutely, I do believe that topic is very important, very pertinent, and this is a good opportunity for us to dive in and have those big conversations. Education is also key, and making those education sessions mandatory. 


Q: Do you think Carleton needs to improve the sexual violence policy? 

A: There’s always more that we can do. The policy’s currently up for revision, which is something Our Turn Carleton has been pushing for a long time. The university has a new president, so it’ll be exciting to see whether they step up to the plate, and are authentic when saying they’re willing to listen to students. 


Q: What are they revising or looking to add to the policy?

A: Our Turn Carleton wants to remove the gag order from the policy which prevents students that come forward to the university about sexual violence from talking to the media. That’s a very big part of silencing survivors. 


Q: How do you balance everything you’re involved in and your personal life?

A: When I got to campus this year, the reality of what I’d taken on hit me hard. Trying to eliminate the ‘fluff time’ has helped and making sure that if I’m somewhere, it’s productive. Taking Friday or Saturday night for yourself is important, and spending quality time with my roommates helps.


Q: What can students that aren’t involved in politics do to help? 

A: I think people get really thrown off by the jargon and legislation. It can get confusing. That’s not what it’s about; it’s about having conversations and talking about ideas. Politics at its roots is about people, so reach out to someone that’s involved or has an interest in politics and start having those conversations.  


Along with her new position with the Ontario Young Liberals, Campbell is also president of the Carleton Young Liberals and studies political science.