By: Elizabeth Iwunwa

VP Student Life Nathan Hood has launched a program that would ensure the continuity and increased effectiveness of UPEI’s clubs and societies. The purpose of the Future Executive Development (FED) Program, which is already in progress, is to provide first-year students with the skills necessary to successfully plan events and other elements of successfully running a society. It is also structured to help train current and incoming members of societies so that they can eventually lead after their predecessors have graduated. This ensures that more qualified students are in key positions of leadership on campus. It is a brilliant means of engaging students, freshmen in particular.

Students who successfully complete the program will be able to perform basic bookkeeping duties and prepare an event budget. They will also learn the ropes on how to manage and mitigate the risks that come with running an organization and event execution. Up to five societies will be permitted to enroll a first year student into the program. After the successful completion of the program by each participant, their respective society will receive an operations grant worth two hundred dollars at the start of the following semester. Individual students can also join the program. The societies they represent will be eligible for the grant as well.

There will be six workshops focused on events, social media, sponsorship and many more. At the conclusion of the workshops and their event, the students will submit a follow-up report to Hood. The report will to provide insight into what each FED participant did for their event. The report and subsequent discussion will aid the student in reflecting on their experience in the program. This will help in shaping the program for other incoming participants at the close of the semester. Leadership experience is not necessary for admittance into the program. Hood said “I wanted to make the program accessible to anyone who was enthusiastic about getting involved, regardless of their background.”

Hood’s new program is unlike anything seen in Atlantic Canada before; however, it is not the first of its kind in Canada. A few months prior to Hood announcing his program, the University of Calgary Students’ Union had announced its own Junior Executive Program, one with an almost identical mandate. Seeing the potential for a competition between two dueling programs, and knowing Hood’s desire to make UPEI’s Student Life profile as well respected as UPEI’s Advocacy profile among other Student Unions, the Cadre reached out to Hood for a response. He stated, “I have a huge amount of respect for the University of Calgary Students’ Union; they always seem to be one step ahead of everyone else. I reached out to my counterpart, Kirsty McGowan, about their clubs system, and she had mentioned that she was working on a program geared at getting first-year students involved in clubs. I thought it was a great idea, so I reworked the concept to fit the unique needs of our campus. As far as I’m aware, they are the first students’ union to launch a program of this nature; if so, it’s pretty awesome to say that we were the second.”

The UPEI Student Union Vice President Student Life can be contacted via email at vpstudentlife@upeisu.ca.