By: The Cadre Editorial Board
Before reading our report cards, check out our rubric here. Looking for another report card? Find them here: President (here), Vice President Academic and External (here), and Vice President Finance (here).
There is simply no denying that this year’s Vice President Student Life Sarah MacEachern has enriched the campus atmosphere since coming into her role this past spring. MacEachern has been making effective changes to campaigns, events, and clubs at UPEI and have left us wondering, “Why didn’t we start doing this years ago?”
During the first semester, MacEachern organized three campaigns which include Consent Week, Environment Week, and Diversity Week. The Cadre compared 2017 and 2018 event schedules for all three campaigns, and noted that MacEachern’s campaigns feature a wider variety of creative events such as clothing swaps, handing out free cookies and fries, and hosting UPEI’s first ever drag event. While it’s difficult to measure the success of campaigns, MacEachern says it’s all about the quality of events that are put on and whether or not students are taking away the main message. We agree.
MacEachern has also followed up with her campaign promise to introduce Mental Health Mondays. She has organized three of these small events and so far, they have been quite popular. One of these events saw the SU serve ice cream to 200 students in September. These events help keep mental health on student’s minds year-round, rather than just during Mental Health Week in second semester.
MacEachern orchestrated two standard Wet/Dry events this year, namely Back 2 School Pub and Halloween Pub. These events brought in similar revenue in 2017 and 2018, but MacEachern spent significantly less to put the events on. This resulted in the SU almost doubling their profit for Back 2 School Pub over last year and bringing in $2000 more than last year for Halloween Pub. MacEachern attributes this to hiring local, more affordable DJs. However, this is not what has made MacEachern’s wet/dry events stand out. Over the summer, MacEachern secured a deal with the PEI Liquor Control Commission to fund hydration and food stations for all four wet/dry events for the entire school year, and she introduced online ticket sales for events. This has given UPEI’s wet/dry events the flair they have been missing for the past few years.
MacEachern has also put on a few unconventional events such as Beyonce Tribute Night and Headphone Disco. Headphone disco was deemed less of a success as it cost the SU $4000 with only 60 students in attendance, but nonetheless, it offered students a unique experience.
Club engagement has also seen several strides during MacEachern’s reign. On the first day back-to-school, MacEachern moved the clubs fair outside to reach more people, while also partnering with President McGuigan to host a carnival-style event with inflatables, farm animals and cotton candy to attract more attention. MacEachern also added a description to each club on the SU website. These are simply changes, but they are effective. MacEachern has also announced a clubs fair in January to reach anyone who will start at UPEI in the winter semester or who was too nervous to join a club at the beginning of the year.
Last year the SU let go of it’s Future Executive Development Program, the only program that helped train clubs to be more effective in their operations. Clubs suffered as a consequence. This year, MacEachern has introduced monthly workshops that address topics such as marketing, communications, and planning events. While the workshops are primarily available to club executives, other club members are welcome to attend, and so far numbers have been good. MacEachern also hosted a clubs orientation event at the end of September that had 45 clubs represented, which is more than double the amount represented last year.
There are several other initiatives MacEachern has taken on that we haven’t listed, such as creating a green map for the campus which outlines several recycling stations, collaborating with Student Affairs to create the PEP-AH Committee which operates to understand drinking culture on campus, creating a food bank in the Student Centre to address food insecurity, and convincing the university to move Mental Health Week to January as opposed to March to allow students to utilize the resources they learn about during the campaign.
MacEachern’s performance to date has been highly impressive. She has made lasting changes to the way clubs, campaigns, and events operate at the SU, and she has produced tangible evidence of her success. Her ideas are creative and offer a refreshing change to student life at UPEI.
Photo: UPEI Gallery