Jordan McGavin / GAZETTE

Emma Woodside, Nursing Students' Association presidential candidate

Current year and program: Second-year nursing

Favourite item at The Spoke: Jalapeno cheddar bagel

Why are you running for faculty president this year?

I wanted to run for faculty president because it is an amazing opportunity to have a positive impact on the nursing program and the greater Western University community as well. I hope to represent my fellow nursing students to provide them with excellent opportunities. I want to address students’ concerns and ensure that they feel they have a voice that is being heard. I look forward to continuing to work with an amazing group of people on council to effectively represent students and provide them with positive experiences.  

What do you see as the biggest challenge faced by students in your faculty?

I think that many nursing students are not aware of what the Western-Fanshawe Nursing Students’ Association actually does and how it affects them. I hope to address that by creating more awareness through improved communication between nursing students and the WFNSA. Another challenge is creating more of a community between the Western and Fanshawe College sites. I aim to work on these issues by communicating and engaging with students at both sites to ensure that we represent students accurately and fairly.

As president, what are the three most important initiatives you hope to accomplish in your term?

1. Address students’ academic and program-related questions and concerns, including course discrepancies and placement opportunities. I hope to make academic supports more known to students, including accessible academic services on campus and in the faculty.

2. To develop mental health and self-care related initiatives to improve understanding of mental health issues, to increase awareness of resources both on and off campus and to diminish stigma. As students and future nurses, this information is definitely relevant and useful to contribute to a more positive and healthy community.

3. Improve nursing student turnout and engagement at events. Whether it be scheduling issues or lack of interest in certain things, I think it is important to gauge what students want and need from their student representatives. In doing so, hopefully we can improve student engagement at our events to develop a greater sense of the nursing student community at Western.

How have your previous experiences prepared you for this position?

During my first year, I was a member of the charity subcommittee of the WFNSA, where I gained insight into how the vice-presidents on council work to include nursing students to participate in their subcommittees to accomplish goals as a team. In my second year, I acted as the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario’s representative for the Western site. This experience has given me even greater insight into how council operates, how to plan events effectively and how to utilize social media to engage students and provide them with excellent opportunities, particularly for career exploration.

Vanessa Rocchese, Health Science presidential candidate

Current year and program: Third-year health science

Favourite item at The Spoke: Turkey bacon bagelwich with a carrot muffin

Why are you running for faculty president this year?

I am running for faculty president because I have a passion for being involved in my community and advocating for positive change. I want to promote an environment that fosters confidence, inclusivity and personal well-being. The Faculty of Health Sciences has offered me many opportunities to strengthen my skills and to meet new people, and I want to be able to enhance and broaden these opportunities for other health sciences students. 

What do you see as the biggest challenge faced by students in your faculty?

The Faculty of Health Sciences is unique in the fact that we have a Faculty Council as well as three associations each representing the three schools of health sciences. Therefore, it can be difficult for students in each school to feel a sense of unity outside of their own area of study. Because of our complex structure, it can be difficult for students to know where certain information can be found and where they can find help within our faculty. A goal of mine this year is to focus on building the health sciences community while still empowering the three individual schools.

As president, what are the three most important initiatives you hope to accomplish in your term?

1. I want to diversify the Health Sciences Career Directions Fair by making it more inclusive and representative of the three schools. Incorporating more graduate programs and inviting individuals who have built careers in health science fields offers students the chance to further explore the career they are interested in.

2. I aim to implement mental health first aid courses, which provides skills for helping in a mental health crisis. These courses teach you how to recognize the signs, respond with confidence and guide an individual through situations they are facing.

3. Another goal of mine is to reform the Student Opportunity Fund. Currently, the SOF application process for students and the allocation process for council members are not as efficient as they could be. Along with other council members, I aim to create an outline of specifications for the allocation of funding to make the process easier and more effective.

How have your previous experiences prepared you for this position?

I am currently on the Faculty of Health Science Students' Council as a finance associate and a part of the SOF review committee. Therefore, I am very knowledgeable about the finances of the council and the process of allocating funds, which will allow me to make necessary reform changes. I am currently the sponsorship director on the Canadian Asian International Students Association fashion show and manage the largest executive committee. I have been on the Western Charity Soph Team and on the University Students' Council charity committee. These experiences have allowed me to strengthen my leadership, communication and interpersonal skills, which are skills needed as a president. I have also been a proxy at USC meetings for the current health science president and councillor and therefore have experience advocating for the needs of my constituents.