RUNNING FOR VPEA
Hey BU! My name is Ja’miil Millar and I’m running to be your next Vice President, External Affairs.
It’s my 5th year here at Brock, where I have been studying in the Business Communication program with a minor in Political Science. In my five years, I’ve played varsity soccer, worked as Marketing Coordinator for BrockTV, the Campus Store and I’m currently BUSU’s Advocacy Coordinator!
As Advocacy Coordinator this year, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a team of dedicated and intelligent individuals whose commitment to bettering post-secondary education for Brock, our province and nationwide has inspired me. The work I’ve been able to be a part of this year means so much to me and it’s with this experience that I know I’m meant to do this job.
I am so excited to be running in this election. My decision to run this campaign is rooted in hopes that with #MoreMillar, we can continue propel the work and momentum we have started this year at BUSU forward.
My platform consists of 5 main priorities:
Free Textbooks Indigenizing Brock Engaging first-years Expanding social justice Fostering community relationships
I know, I know. The free textbook thing seems way too good to be true, but I promise I have a plan that works!
With that being said, for more details on my priorities head to my social media or come by my table in Academic South. Thanks for taking interest and getting informed!
- To the best of your understanding, what is the role and responsibilities of the VPEA?
“The role and responsibility of the VPEA is to understand the student voice at Brock in order to accurately portray this voice to important stakeholders in Post-Secondary Education. Stakeholders such as all levels of government, Brock’s senior administration and community stakeholders. The EA should understand the policies that are currently in place within Brock and all levels of government in order to break down the current barriers that negatively impact the success of students. Additionally, the VPEA will be responsible for BUSU’s involvement with the two advocacy groups we are a part of: the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance and the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations. A lot of the research and policy recommendations are made through these two organizations and they play a vital role to BUSU’s advocacy work.”
- Why have you decided to run for the position of VPEA?
“My decision to run for VPEA is rooted in a few different things. For one, I have had the privilege to be the current Advocacy Coordinator working under our current EA and this experience has been nothing short of rewarding. I’ve built relationships with the Advocacy team at BUSU that is committed to research and who understands the importance of the student voice and how we can use it to break down barriers. Personally, one of my main goals in life is to find work professionally in a position that is bigger than me. With that being said, advocacy work is exactly that. Everything we have done this year is in hopes that we can make a wider impact. Finally, I feel like the work that we have started this year at BUSU is pivotal and much different than that of BUSU’s previous advocacy departments. Things like starting an internal policy library with recommendations to better student life. This is something that we haven’t done before but is key to ensuring that our efforts are able to transition through the years ahead at BUSU. My decision to run is to continue this work and I believe that I have so much more to give that goes beyond my current role as Advocacy Coordinator. That is also what my entire campaign is based on. #MoreMillar means the opportunity for me to dedicate myself to more student advocacy.”
- Why do you believe you should be elected VPEA?
“I believe that I should be elected because I have the proven experience, knowledge and outlook to stand confidently in this position. I know what is expected of the VPEA from my close working relationship in BUSU. I also know what to expect for next year from my current experience and with that said, I’ll be able to make plans in a very specific way, as I’m familiar with how BUSU works and also the best practices across other Ontario universities from my involvement in both OUSA and CASA. Additionally, my knowledge and commitments surpass the 5 main platform points that I have highlighted. I will be taking it beyond these 5 points through the research in policies we have covered this year such as accessibility, affordability, housing and transit and will host a plan to take this work forward.”
- If you needed to summarize your platform into three main issues at Brock that you believe need to be addressed, what would they be? How do you plan to address these issues?
“As I’ve mentioned, my platform is rooted in the research that we’ve done within BUSU this year. I do have 5 main priorities on my platform but if I were to summarize what issues they cover, I would say affordability, retention and social justice. In terms of affordability, I plan to address these issues by working with senior administration to find the right funding formula that works to support the development of Open Educational Resources (OERs) in order to use them in Ontario and in Brock’s classrooms. This falls under my platform point of Free Textbooks, a point that will tackle the issue of affordability by highlighting how pivotal this tool is and has proven to be in other provinces for saving students money. Currently, the issue is that our faculty isn’t incentivized enough to develop OERs. We need to lobby the provincial government to support and fund the development of OERs. In terms of retention, Brock has one of the lowest retention rates in comparison to other Ontario universities. With engaging first-years, I aim to incorporate the first year voice within BUSU with a First Year Council in hopes to incorporate our new students within our institution from the very start. This will help them understand this transition and how to better navigate through their 4+ years here and also to stay. In terms of social justice, my points on expanding social justice and Indigenizing Brock is rooted in the close work I’ve done with Student Justice Centre (SJC) and Aboriginal Student Services (AbSS) this year. Students who face discrimination and the Indigenous population of our school need to know that the students’ union not only supports them but is doing work for them. As VPEA, I would continue to commit myself to social justice initiatives on our campus and ensure that the advocacy department continues to partner with Brock’s Human Rights and Equity department as well as our Student Justice Centre and various other groups. Additionally, we have discussed at BUSU to have an Indigenous student seat and an international student seat on BUSAC, this way we can incorporate as many voices as possible in every decision we make within BUSU. Furthermore, I am personally working to be a better ally to the Indigenous peoples of this country and will continue this through through my work as EA. I am advocating for the decolonization of our institution and would be committing to lobby our senior administration to support and fund Brock AbSS.”
- If elected what would you do differently from past VPEA’s?
“If elected, some things I would do differently would be incorporating the First Year Council to ensure the first-year voice is within our students’ union because that is something that is missing currently. Additionally, I would like to push for more feedback on the campaigns the Advocacy department runs from the student body to ensure we are covering all grounds and accurately reflecting Brock student voices.”