The Fulcrum shines a spotlight on Carson Baker, Alaina Brunone, Alexandra Cooper, Samiatou Doumbia, Sherouk Elasfar, Henry Mann, Dawoud Najmundin, Adshaya Shanmugathasan and Lewis Wilson
The University of Ottawa and the University of Ottawa Students’ Union (UOSU) are currently holding elections for four different elected student bodies. This article will look at the races taking place for the faculty of social sciences seats on the UOSU Board of Directors (BOD).
UOSU’s BOD has a varying number of student representatives from each faculty who convene monthly to guide the work of UOSU as an organization. The number of representatives per faculty is dependent on the size of each faculty. The positions are unpaid and the main role of the BOD is to vote on motions put forward by the UOSU and be members of a number of union subcommittees.
The faculty of social sciences has nine candidates for the four available seats: Carson Baker, Alaina Brunone, Alexandra Cooper, Samiatou Doumbia, Sherouk Elasfar, Henry Mann, Dawoud Najmundin, Adshaya Shanmugathasan and Lewis Wilson.
For those who wish to get familiar with the candidates, here is the transcription of the interviews they did with the Fulcrum.
The Fulcrum (F): Can you introduce yourself in two to three sentences?
Carson Baker (CB): I’m a second-year international economics and development student. I’ve served on student governments in the faculty of science, where I began my university studies, and in social sciences as the director of promotions on the Economics Student Association after switching into international economics. I have a lot of experiences in student government, and I want to take that to the next level representing the entire faculty.
Alaina Brunone: I’m a first-year student at the University of Ottawa. I am in the international relations and modern languages program, specializing in French and Italian.
Alexandra Cooper (AC): I’m a third-year political science student and also a co-op student. I’ve been involved in student politics since highschool and I want to take that experience into representing U of O social science students on our Board of Directors.
Samiatou Doumbia (SD): I am a first-year student in the faculty of social sciences, more particularly in public administration. My passions are fashion and music and one of my ambitions is to get into politics in the future because I see myself as a spokesperson.
Sherouk Elasfar (SE): I’m in international economics and development with a minor in political science. I travel a lot, my family is constantly on the move. I enjoy photography and have my own photography business. And coffee is probably like 90 per cent of my personality!
Henry Mann (HM): I’m studying political science and am in my third year. I came to the U of O in 2018 because I was passionate about the political opportunities here and I was really excited to explore this diverse, vibrant city that was quite different from my hometown in the greater-Toronto-area.
Dawoud Najmundin (DN): I’m in my first year of international studies and modern languages at the University of Ottawa. I’m from a rural area outside of Niagara Falls, so that would explain why most of my posts on Instagram are about either chickens or maple syrup.
Adshaya Shanmugathasan (AS): I am a first-year student at the University of Ottawa, in the integrated program political science and Juris Doctor program in French immersion, and I’m also minoring in business as well because it’s something I’m passionate about.
Lewis Wilson (LW): I’m in political science with a minor in history and this is the end of my second year. I was born in Scotland, but I moved to British Columbia when I was pretty young.
F: Can you talk about previous involvements in student life on campus or relevant experiences that would help you in this role?
CB: I served as a first-year representative on the science student association, and I helped organize a couple events I helped represent the needs of students. I then worked in the Economics Student Association this year where I’ve been responsible for the creation of graphics and helping the communications team advertise events as well as the different initiatives. Prior to coming to university, I was super involved in high school, I was part of the ‘students say no’ initiative in 2019, on the provincial team where we helped organize the walkouts which involved over 100,000 students protesting changes in the Ontario educational system. I also served in student government in high school as president of the student council.
AB: I have been involved over the last year with the Ottawa Model United Nations Association, which is focused on international relations and how governments would solve issues. In relation to that I’ve also worked with the Catman, which is an affiliation conference run through the uOttawa Model United Nations Association as a committee director. So drafting and coming up with a background guide and a conference for delegates in university and high school to participate with in, as well as in high school, I did numerous events such as the student council Model United Nations mock trial. Different things like that really allowed me to hear the student voice and be involved in it and be around other students in extracurricular activities.
AC: In high school, I was on the student council as an eco representative and also a secretary position. In university, I have been involved in model parliament. While not being a part of the organizing committee for the event, I have been an executive member of a number of parties over the last three years. So that has given me some experience in organizing and listening to the people who vote for you and want to see you do well. I’m also a member of the young liberals on campus.
SD: I’ve noticed that at the University of Ottawa there is a mix of people from different backgrounds and cultures. I am someone who travels a lot, I have ever since I was a child, I travel around the world for many reasons, and those trips have introduced me to a lot of different cultures. This has led me to meet people of varying backgrounds and to familiarize myself with those people and their culture. This in my mind will help me communicate with people who do not think the same way that I do and see things differently.
SE: I joined the Gee-Gees Ultimate Frisbee women’s competitive club this year, during COVID-19 so I’ve adapted really quickly which has taken a lot of teamwork. I’m also a part of a Palestinian advocacy group (INSAF) as the director of marketing, so I’m in charge of social media, Twitter, Instagram, all the fun stuff. I stand for I [what] believe in regardless of if it’s a heavily debated topic or if there’s backlash. I also started a photography business this year which wasn’t ideal conditions, but you make do with what you get, and you’d try your hardest. I’m also part of Girl Up Ontario as the social media director. That involves working in a team where we plan weekly probably a number of posts and alternate who does them we do the research for it.
HM: I’ve been involved in a number of activities and initiatives outside of student government, including the pre-law society, model parliament and penny drops UOttawa which is a financial literacy mentoring team. I’ve been a member of the Board of Directors since May 2020 and I ran in last year’s general elections and I’ve sat on the board for almost a year now. I think the last year has really given me a great insight and perspective into both the issues that are facing the student body and the UOSU, as well as areas where we can make practical meaningful change within the union. This last year on the BOD has given me exposure to different groups of people in different communities on campus, different kinds of issues and needs that exist, as well as perspectives that are valuable to bring into the union (both to improve campus life and to address other issues that these clubs may intersect with). I also have been an executive in some of those clubs, so there’s leadership experience there and teamwork experience that I think is really valuable in a collaborative student government setting.
DN: I’ve been a representative for the faculty of social sciences on the BOD for the past year and I’ve really enjoyed representing our faculty and interacting with other student leaders on campus. Because of COVID-19 I’m not on campus, which reduces motivation to get involved in student life, but I have joined the Muslim Student Association and I joined subcommittees on which I’ve been quite involved. Over the past few years I’ve gotten involved in a lot of community organizations, one of which works to clean up an environmentally toxic site in a neighbouring city. I’ve also been involved with a pro democracy, citizens advocacy group that’s keeping a watch on the city council of Niagara Falls.
AS: As a first-year student we weren’t able to have the full university experience. I wasn’t able to really get involved in student life at the university yet, but I think this would be a great place to start because outside of university I have done work with youth in my community, shared experiential learning opportunities with them and help[ed] them with their leadership, and public speaking. I’ve been on a trade mission to s southeast Asia as an ambassador, and I’m taking part in a forum for young Canadians, which is another program that’s widely known. I’ve had the opportunity to talk about various issues that I was passionate about like citizenship and environmental changes. This would be a great place to start and serve people especially because as a first-year student who didn’t get the experience, I know the struggles of people right now — especially in terms of struggling with academic accommodation.
LW: In first-year, as I was moving to a new city and getting set up with that, I sat on Senator Marilou McPhedran’s youth advisory council and sat on the steering sub committee on universal basic income[UBI] and ‘vote 16’, which is trying to implement UBI in Canada and lower the federal voting age to 16, so I think I’ve been advocating for youth and students for a while. I’m also part of Horizon Ottawa, which is a grassroots movement in Ottawa municipal politics which tries to get more progressive people involved in municipal politics and city council. I served on the Model parliament [MPSP] as a social director and I am currently the chair of socials for the English Debating Society on campus which has been a lot of planning events, which has been difficult with COVID-19 but we’ve persevered. I’m also a member of the bilingualism committee for the International Policy and Political Science Student Association [IPPSSA] as well.
F: In your own words, what is the mandate of a faculty of social sciences student on the board of directors?
CB: To actively work to benefit not just the faculty one is representing but also the entire student population of the U of O, to serve and ensure that the Executive Committee is held accountable and that all student governments are accountable for the desires of students, the finances of the students, and those levies that everybody gets. [Plus} just making sure that the student population is happy, and like [informed with] what the UOSU is doing.
AB: Somebody that is really there to listen to the student voice and act on the student voice in a manner that they see appropriate. [Also] someone that is willing to really enforce those policies for everyone in the faculty that they’re representing.
AC: To be a director you have to completely understand that role, and where that fits into the union and the way that the union interacts with the university. I feel like as students we are introduced to our Registered Student Governments but the way that [we are introduced to the] the union is different, being a director allows you to have a say in what the executives of the union will put forth to the university.
SD: I believe the mandate is to represent students, that is to say, first of all, to represent students when it comes to respect. By that I mean, to ensure that faculty of social sciences students’ voices are heard by the Board of Directors. Next, to advocate for students’ worries and issues to better the daily lives of students may that be virtually or in-person.
SEr: It is the job of a BOD member to be the person that students can reach out to and get a general idea of how things are for every single major or for the whole faculty. It’s important to be open and transparent with students and make the things discussed on the BOD known because up until this campaign, I didn’t know who our BODs were last year.
HM: There’s probably two parts to the mandate. The first would be representation. We are elected from the students of the faculty of social sciences, and they’re looking for people who can be committed and engaged in the role and working hard on their behalf. The second part of the role is really your work at the board and your responsibility to the organization. That looks like showing up regularly to board meetings … being familiar with the topics being discussed and being able to make contributions and informed decisions, and getting involved in committees that study a lot of the issues that intersect with the UOSU and proposing changes and regulations or whatever the case may be. And really that that responsibility within the union is extremely valuable and the board can’t run without that, so both parts are essential
DN: It’s not as glamorous as you would expect it to be honest, because at the UOSU we work in a very collaborative way, which is good because it allows us to actually get issues handled quickly fully and with respect to the interest of students. Every bit of work we do, every bit of advocacy we do, is a team effort. So basically the role of a director on the BOD, is to work with other representatives to ensure that students have the best academic, social, and financial experience we can at a university.
AS: The biggest mandate would be getting students’ voices into the Union. When you serve [on the] BOD, it entails trying to get as many different opinions into the BOD from various perspectives and then coming to a consensus with the other directors regarding the best decision. Rather than just bringing what I think is best forward, I want to bring perspectives from more members of the BIPOC community and the LGBTQ2+ community.
LW: It’s pretty central around improving accountability towards the Executive Committee as the history of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) has shown us that Executive accountability is an important part of the BOD’s mandate. As well, you represent students from your faculty and ensure that all students of your faculty are represented in a meaningful way to the union.
F: What often gets overlooked for your faculty?
CB: Student mental health and student well being. There has been a huge disconnect between the student body [and] UOSU and the university on exactly how we should help students go through problems and how we can empower students to speak with others about these kinds of things. I think that, especially now that we’re not on campus and these resources are so hard to get to, and I think that that’s a huge issue across the table.
AB: Because we’re such a big faculty and there are so many students in the faculty it’s very hard for a small group of people on the BOD to make sure that students in the undergraduate stream are heard, whereas some of the other faculties may be much easier because they’re not as big. Four people might not be enough to totally hear all the needs and wants. We have to do our best to make sure that we’re spreading out and hearing all the students that we possibly can and making sure that each one is really comfortable with what we’re doing.
AC: One thing I would really like to see promoted more is student wellness. We’ve seen such great results throughout the university and there’s a great promotion over Wellness Week, but I think there’s a lot of potential to extend that mentality of promoting student wellness and well being throughout the school year rather than just confined to one week.I really think that the Union could bring in initiatives that would kind of draw a culture change in prioritizing students since the union works to serve students.
SD: International students. They need help when it comes to integrating at the university. We need to create groups that will help them do that.
SE: Because FSS is the largest faculty, people often assume that we get the better side of everything, however, I think because FSS classes are so big, it’s hard to, reach out to professors or teaching assistants for help because it’s like you’re in a class of 400 people emailing your professor is not the best solution. It’s hard to reach a professor within such a short time … We might have discussion groups, but [at the moment] that’s one class in my five classes this semester I. Since we don’t have tutorials or labs, we’re not divided into smaller groups hence why you can find that it’s harder to reach out to the prof because you don’t have an assigned instructor.
HM: There is a tendency to not include BIPOC authors in readings. This is something I’ve heard from students, and I think that’s something that needs to change within the faculty of social sciences. It’s important to include those perspectives of academia and it’s a responsibility to have more comprehensive education. I’d say that’s something that gets overlooked, and something that the UOSU can collaborate with other student leaders and student government representatives to change.
DN: I don’t necessarily know that we get overlooked. The reason for that is obviously social science majors quite enjoy advocating for themselves. I think our issues are fairly well represented and aren’t significantly different from students and other faculties, but, I think, as with any faculty, we need to have the [UOSU] as a whole build closer connections and closer work with the student governments. So in my case it would be IPPSSA. Again, I don’t know necessarily that we’re underrepresented. I would say perhaps we’re actually over represented, but the issues that we face are different from those from other faculties.
AS: Career development opportunities. It’s more prominent in the Telfer School of Management than it is in the faculty of social Sciences which I feel needs to be improved for sure. It’s important for social sciences students to be able to network and to have panel discussions to be able to meet new people. It’s usually overlooked and that’s something that I do want to focus on for sure.
LW: A lot of social science really falls upon political science students. It’s obviously one of the larger departments within the faculty but it also plays a domineering role as students in that faculty are very ‘type A’ and go for student positions. This race is an example of that. I’m going to be reaching out and making sure everyone is represented through this campaign and hopefully by my work on the board.
F: How do you intend to facilitate communication between students, the BOD and the Executive Committee?
CBr: I plan to use social media so I can actively engage with the members of our faculty and try to speak frankly about what’s going on and be transparent about what’s happening. I hope that I can kind of create open platforms through an Instagram account or potentially doing little newsletters alongside the other members of BOD.
AB: Because we have such easy communication through social media now, it is very easy to reach out to a large body of students regardless of where they are or what year they’re in. Being able to use so many different social media [platforms] such as Instagram and things like Slack and Facebook really allow for easy communication that’s readily available rather than having to directly be in person. So information can be spread a lot easier that way now.
AC: Throughout my campaign, I have been asking for input from the students and given the opportunity to serve as a director I definitely would continue that. Giving students an open line of communication to their representatives is the first step in bringing their interests and their concerns to the union. I am in favor of open communication throughout a term. I value the ability to listen to the concerns and dedicate time to listening to those concerns and bringing them forth. I want to allow the voters to get to know me as a person, rather than just someone on a poster.
SD: I think a lack of communication does exist between the three bodies that you named, I will act as a spokesperson who will motivate students to give their opinions and to communicate.
SE: Town Halls are amazing, however, sometimes they’re not accessible for everyone especially when they last hours upon hours. I think some people show up to a town hall with the intention to vote yes or no for one issue they particularly care about but then there are 10 things on the agenda and the meeting takes four hours. It’s hard for everyone to show up and having someone vote for you read there to see to see for you is a good option, however, I get to have one person sit in for four hours so maybe like better communicate the like agenda.Also, like split [it] up into smaller agendas so that you basically calling upon people who clearly believe the motions they could all attend that one, and then maybe more updates throughout.
HM: One of the things I would continue if re-elected to the BOD would be to maintain an active presence on my social media channels. I was fortunate to have union social media channels that I carried over that were very clear for students to be able to get in contact with.I was [also] able to use those several times to help students obtain information from the Executive when it related to their involvement on the University of Ottawa campus and other roles and support them both in their relations with the UOSU and with the university during that difficult adjustment to kind of settling into the pandemic group.
DN: We’re pretty accessible but we’re not perfect and there’s a lot more we could do. I think one of the main things we can do is making more open source documents, making our governing documents more accessible and more open. Also in terms of communicating to people where they can find those. And where exactly they can look up information about the university.
AS: I plan to have little sessions through Instagram Live or just Zoom meetings where people can join and voice any concerns that they see in the faculty of social sciences. Like I said specifically for certain minority communities as well, I want to be able to have these sessions to get their opinions, note them down and then bring them to the board.
LW: communication is definitely a key part of any democratic process. Without the electorate there is no democratic process, so to facilitate communication I am going to try and have monthly breakdowns of what’s been going on with the Union, with the student association and stuff like that so students are aware of the tiers of governance that they are a part of.
F: Is there a particular committee you plan on joining and why?
CB: I’m very intent on joining the Finance Committee, because I really do believe that finances need to be more responsibly handled. I know that a lot of the time, students get worried about this, especially given the old SFUO’s problems. I think that I would be a good voice to have on that committee. I also am very interested in joining the Executive Oversight and Governance Committees, purely just because of my own interest and I really think that I can help hold people accountable.
ABe: I’m not really sure what I would join as of yet.
AC: I definitely think the big ticket for a lot of people is advocacy. That’s kind of the reason why a lot of people join the union, is to advocate for students, as they are students themselves. So, if there was an opportunity to join advocacy, I would love to. I would also be very interested in joining the Elections Committee next year having interacted with the current members.
SD: I don’t have a specific committee in mind, but I will study the different committees to find the one that’s right for me.
SE: Not one specifically. I haven’t fully looked into it yet. But I’m thinking since my strongest suit is in marketing. I will probably work best within that realm.
HM: One of the committees that I plan on joining is the Governance Committee which I sat on for six months in the previous mandate. I found it to be very valuable work since there’s a need to have that constitutional basis and policies that will enable us to serve students in a consistent and effective manner. I left that committee, because we had a number of new directors elected in the by-election last fall and I felt it was right to scale back on some of the committees to create more space for new people coming in, but I would definitely seek to rejoin that. I would also consider joining the Elections Committee as I think administering elections is an extremely important task. It is one of the largest vehicles for student democracy here on campus. I didn’t join this past year, in anticipation of running for re-election. but I would definitely look to contribute my time in service next year in that role.
DN: I’d like to continue my work with the Governance Committee and the Equity Committee. I would be interested in seeing if there are other ones where maybe I could be more effective representing my faculty but I think I could do a lot of beneficial work for my faculty on those two committees.
AS: That’s something I haven’t really thought about.
LW: I would really like to be either on governance or advocacy. Governance because they are the ones who decide and vote on what motions actually go to board meetings. So by sitting on governance, you are actually able to control what goes on in the background that you might not otherwise hear about. And advocacy because the student union in its first couple years has been highly focused on its internal issues to assure that it doesn’t develop into an SFUO situation and fall apart. So there’s a really big spot in the next few years for the advocacy commissioner to start making relationships with organization[s], and this has already been started in this past term, but upcoming we will be able to step into municipal, provincial and federal issues. These are the fledgling years for us to cement UOSU as a strong institution.
F: What is an area that you think the body you are running for can improve and how do you plan on helping to improve it?
CB: I think that there’s a big disconnect between most of our student governments and the students we represent. I’ve seen it in two different student governments now and I can see it on the UOSU BOD. There’s not a lot of communication and I think that that’s something that, if I’m elected [to the 2021-22 BOD], I can work on just opening that line of communication and trying to solve that big disconnect that everybody has. I know that a lot of students don’t know what’s going on on these bodies and aren’t really informed, and it’s not their own fault, it’s the body’s fault for not being open and transparent.
AB: Virtual resources for students and their mental and physical health is really important as well as helping students find jobs later on through their use, through the university, especially because so many opportunities right now have been cut because of COVID-19. The BOD can really make resources more available, especially for the students in the faculty of social sciences, that will allow the transition from university to work after to be much easier.
AC: I think that one area where the BODs can improve is the communication of their work to their students. I think it’s very important to constantly communicate with students, what is being done by the representatives. I’m aware that the union as a whole, sends out newsletters and of course there are some things that the union discusses that are in-camera and you can’t tell the students everything, but I do think it is a reflection of the board’s professional capacity to communicate what they are doing for the students who elected them.
SD: I am a person that excels at communication, with that said, I am pretty close to a lot of students in the faculty and I did some surveys. From what I heard, I think that we need to take a different approach to mental health to Mental Health Services and have an approach that is closer to students on the ground. Since they know that the services exist but they are scared and shy when it comes to asking for them we need a more personal approach. I spoke with students who told me that the online course workload is weighing very heavy on them and that they know help exists but they want to be approached more.
SE: I strongly strongly believe in communication. And I think that is the one thing that needs to happen so that everyone is constantly up to date with what the union is doing. I want to make sure that students feel that we’re all in this together.
HM: I think an area that could be improved on is student housing. I myself have had issues in student housing and it’s something that I think resonates with a lot of students across our undergraduate community. I think the UOSU can improve here by shaping the UOSU to develop resources that assist students — both with knowledge of their tenants rights that will help them if they find themselves in difficult housing situations, but also strategies to find affordable housing. In addition to this, I’ve been hearing from students that it’s extremely important for the UOSU to be engaged in that partial return process, not just holding the university accountable but helping support students in that difficult time. As we see more students coming back to Ottawa, it’s the perfect time to develop our work in terms of housing and build up our advocacy capacity with different levels of government, advocating for students bringing their voices to decision makers.
DN: Number one, we need to have people know that we exist. We need to have a higher than 10 per cent voter turnout at the least, higher than 20 per cent or whatever it is. So people need to know that we exist and also what we stand for and how we are constantly and consistently advocating on their behalf.
AS: Equity and Diversity it’s a huge part of my platform. So specifically, BIPOC and LGBTQ2+ communities need more of a voice in what goes on in the BOD, So that’s something I’ll be having mini sessions on. And then also just kind of focus on younger incoming students and their needs, because it’s different from students who’ve already had a university experience and know certain things because of the in person experience. So for the incoming first year [students] who haven’t had that experience just to voice their concerns as well just be having some sessions with the younger student population.
LW: The university itself and the student union offers a wide variety of services that students aren’t aware of or are nervous to take first steps to be involved with, so I think that improving access and knowledge of those services will be beneficial. I want to run an awareness campaign on the multitude of servicers run by the union and the university. This was briefly done last year and there was an influx of people taking up these services, many of which are there to help marginalized students which is very important.
F: Why should students vote for you?
CB: I bring experience in student government, I bring an understanding of what it’s like to be a student and not knowing what’s going on in these spaces of student government. I want to help increase the voice that students have at these tables because I feel so many people go unheard. I think that I can kind of be the voice for the little guy.
AB: I think that a lot of the policies that I’ve put out in my platform could do a lot to benefit their voice, and this health and safety that they have, and their ability to feel comfortable within our school. I really hope that with all of my past experiences working with student bodies in high school, and now in university and being able to convey my voice, that they can see that their needs and wants will be listened to.
AC: I am willing to listen and hear their concerns and get to know them as students and also as people not just my voters. I hope that people will see the relatability since I want to keep the campaign humble, so I do hope that people will see that they should vote for me if they want someone who is dedicated to doing a good job if selected to serve a term as a director and being someone they can approach.
SD: Because I will be totally invested with all my capabilities to represent them. I think I am the right candidate because I have a lot of experience when it comes to travelling, culture and communication. I also easily adapt to situations and I am quick to come up with solutions.
SE: As a second-year student, I’ve had a near perfect split of experience with online school and in person school. I think having a second-year student would better reflect future plans because I’ve learned from both. Having someone who isn’t more favorable towards one or the other to make sure that we get the best of both worlds essentially.
HM: It would be an honor to serve them again. In me, they will get a director who is engaged on the issues and engaged in the work, who is hardworking, who will put in the hours … address the issues and the priorities that we are elected to deal with and they will also get a director who will be effective. I think, just as they look to the next term, it’s important to see who [is] on the board, it’s important to see who will deliver for [students]. I have the experience that equips me with the knowledge and the understanding of how to get things done and how to end the issues that confront our student campus, I have learned a tremendous amount over the past year, and my enthusiasm and energy for this work is undiminished.
DN: Everybody else who’s running has done an excellent job and would all do a very good job. I like to think of it that I’m not running against anyone else, I’m running with them. Obviously we can all get elected, which is unfortunate, but there’s not anybody that I wouldn’t like to see elected. In terms of why someone should vote for me specifically though, I’m one of only two incumbents, running for re-election. It would be a direct transfer of knowledge and experience directly to continuing to represent and advocate for our faculty. I have the proven experience and the skill set that I can represent and advocate for [the] faculty.
As: I think students should vote for me because I’m a young voice but a bold voice. Just in terms of academic accommodations with the pandemic, they’ve been going through things I can relate to and I will be taking the necessary steps to make sure that those perspectives are heard by the BOD. I definitely have the leadership skills to be able to openly communicate things to the board to the student union without hesitation. So, if you know something has to be said, I will say it for the sake of the student population and make sure that things are right.
LW: I have lots of experience in advocating for students. I’d like to bring back a campus spirit with everything reopening so it’s important and foundational for us to bring back the sense of the U of O community and build upon it.