Major: Sustainability Science and Society
Stephanie Gervais for Her Campus (HC): How did you first get involved with SSMU?
Courtney Ayukawa (CA): I’ve been involved with SSMU since the beginning of the year since I won the election for Arts and Science rep at the end of last year. Through this position I’ve been able to see the highs and lows of SSMU, everything from passing the five-year mental healthy policy to the equity issue. I ran to give back to a society that does so much for its students.
HC: What responsibilities do you have?
CA: As an Arts and Science Representative, I represent the students in the faculty of Arts and Science on SSMU council, attend Arts and Science meetings and sit on committees of SSMU such as the UAC or University Affairs Committee, the Environment Committee and the Ad Hoc Committee on sustainability.
HC: I understand that you’re also a floor fellow and coordinator.
CA: Yes, I also work as one of three Coordinators of the ECOLE project (Editors’ Note: stands for Educational, Community, Living, Environment), which is facilitating a $94,000 sustainability project and I’m also a Floor Fellow at RVC as well as a full time student. For more information about ECOLE: https://www.facebook.com/McGillECOLE
HC: How do you manage all of these things?
CA: When people ask me why I do all of these things, I [tell them I] don’t think the student experience is just one where we take exams and study. The student experience expands past academics and for me these other things I’ve been involved with have been just as important to me as my studies. Because of that, it’s possible for me to balance everything.
HC: What is your vision for SSMU?
CA: My long-term vision is a shift in tone when it comes to how SSMU connects with students. It’s the student society, not the executive society. I think they should have more a sense of being valued by SSMU and then they can value it as well. I also have this far-fetched dream of turning the La Prep and lounge space on the first floor into one long room that can be used as a mixed space for naps, studying, music, and eating. There would be hammocks and chill, ambient music where the lounge is now, areas for silent and group study, and then couches for hanging out and an area for playing live music. It would be an open concept type space that increases in volume as you get further from the nap end with hammocks.
HC: Any advice for students who want to start getting more involved around campus?
CA: Two things… One: just do it. Go for it and know that your friends and family will support you. That support will make it worth it no matter if you win or lose. Two: ask your faculty reps questions. They’re helpful and knowledgeable and are readily available to all students. You can find their contact info here: http://ssmu.mcgill.ca/about-us/our-team/representatives/