SU Reviews: Emily Wyatt, President

By Chris Beauchamp

Emily Wyatt has had a successful year as Students’ Union president, though how much of that is due directly to Wyatt herself, is questionable. She was lucky to have strong VPs and a strong SU bureaucracy behind her every move.

Launching her year on a platform that included the goals of increasing SU communication with students, the usual lobbying promises of increased post-secondary funding and a distinct focus on campus life, Wyatt had a lofty agenda and delivered on a lot of it.

One of her big ideas was to garner direct student input, and the plan eventually morphed into the SU’s traveling office hours. It can be lonely at the top, and for too long the SU executive has been disconnected from a lot of direct student input. At a campus as famous for its apathy as it is for its research focus, getting students to offer input can be like asking an engineer for a lesson in French-kissing. Bringing the SU to the masses was a success.

Wyatt also injected new life into the Student Advisory Council, bringing students together in a focus group to discuss various issues. The SAC helped develop student-made solutions, notably a revamped clubs policy to target clubs not fulfilling their student focus. Wyatt was ready to stand up to these abuses of clubs funding, pissing off a few people for the sake of quite a few more.

On the lobbying front, the SU was predictably “successful,” with the usual methods and culprits present. Wyatt and VP external Julie Labonte spent a week in Fredricton for the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations annual general meeting, and another in Edmonton for the Council of Alberta University Students lobby conference. The results were positive, with a new federal focus on PSE–including a transfer payment to the provincial vault for education–and meetings with provincial big-wigs. Wyatt was unsurprising in her role as the head of the U of C’s lobby front, acting competently, if uninspired. She was blessed with an excellent VP external in Labonte, as she was in her other exec underlings.

By most accounts her dealings with administration were professional. She took a decidedly cooperative approach on most issues, something Wyatt noted corresponds with admin’s new-found commitment to the “student experience.”

Wyatt is known for being present most Thursdays at the Den and knockin’ ’em back with the best of ’em. Though some SU members have noted her affinity for the good times has hurt her professionalism, some also said this chumminess has helped her keep the SU cohesive. Her executive is a close-knit group and she deserves much credit for keeping them that way.

Wyatt’s presidential year wasn’t phenomenal, but it wasn’t a meltdown either. All things considered, she did a good job with what she had, and was lucky to be surrounded by competent people.

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