Candidate profile: Stuart Clarke, Senate

Fourth-year integrated sciences student Stuart Clarke is running to be one of five senators-at-large on a platform of increasing student involvement and updating co-op policies.

Clarke has no experience in student government, but says his lack of previous involvement prompted him to run for a seat and involve more students with Senate.

“Being a student for as long as I have, I've realized that so little of the feedback and the things that really matter to [students] gets transmitted to the institutional leadership,” Clarke said.

He added that if elected, student feedback is his “number one” goal.

Clarke has few distinct policy change proposals; rather, he plans to act as a liaison between students and Senate.

“It really matters to me that if a student [voices] their concerns ... that I can follow up with them and then we can bring that [idea] to the different meetings at Senate,” Clarke said.

Clarke’s main policy proposal surrounds changing the policies of the co-op program.

The last update of co-op policies occurred in 2004, and Clarke says that the major increase in the size of the program since then calls for a review. He proposed putting together a working group on the issue and talking to students who have participated in the co-op program to figure out what policies would be more effective and beneficial to students.

“I'd like to be on that working group and be able to consult my friends because actually a majority of my friends have been on co-op, and some of them have really not enjoyed the experience,” Clarke said.

Clarke added he also wants to be involved in the Teaching & Learning Committee and the Academic Building Needs Committee.

Within the Teaching & Learning Committee, he wants to push for open educational resources such as “free textbooks,” as well as encouraging “experiential learning activities.”

“In general, I just really am passionate advocate for fair education [and] making sure that all students are supported,” Clarke said.

Clarke says his experience working with faculty will help him make allies in a body where students are a minority.

“I feel that out of all the candidates I've actually worked ... the most with staff this year in my role as an educational researcher with the Wellness Center,” he said. “I’m not intimidated by a lot of these faculty [members].”

But his lack of student governance experience has taken a toll on his campaign — he received two penalties for violating campaigning rules.

Clarke admitted he’s still learning.

“I've never really interacted with Senate. So I think this is something that would be really good opportunity,” Clarke said.

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