See that picture of an empty University Centre? That was taken on Friday around early afternoon last week. Even now, in the middle of exams, that space would be full of people getting lunch, grabbing a coffee, studying, meeting people, or buying a bus ticket home for the holidays. But it’s empty. How do you lead a student body when the vast majority of the body can’t be there?
Obviously, this is not the student experience that Tyler Poirier, president of the Central Student Association, and his vice-presidents were planning when they ran in their elections last February. Their term started, and will likely finish, with most of Guelph’s 20,000 undergrad students having never once step foot on campus. To simply say that the situation is unprecedented does not feel like we’re doing the events of the last year justice.
So this year, there would be no O-week festivities, no student experience, no club days, no hanging out at the Bullring, no Project Serve, and none of the numerous events, concerts, or gatherings that typically make up the campus experience every fall. And what about all of the CSA’s services? Some, like the food bank, are busier than ever, but there’s no use for the student bus pass, or campus Safe Walk. If you’re the person at the top of the CSA, how do you manage the COVID crisis, and all the problems it creates?
This week, we will explore that question with Poirier as he tells us about how often he’s on campus these days, and how much work at the CSA is being done from their office. He will talk about the effect of the pandemic on CSA programs, and how he would rank the response of the U of G admin to the pandemic. And finally, he will talk about what’s coming up in the winter-semester, and what Poirier himself has learned about political leadership from his very impactful year as the head of the CSA.
So let us return to campus, spiritually anyway, on this week’s Guelph Politicast!
To learn more about the CSA, their services, or their service levels, go to their website, or find them on social media @csaguelph. The first “Livestock from the Bullring” concert featuring the sister act Liv and Anita Cazzola, aka the Lifers, is this Thursday at 7 pm and you can watch on Twitch.
Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.
Photo credit: Scott McWhinnie