Search for interim clubs and service commissioner is on
The University of Ottawa Students’ Union (UOSU) is hiring an interim clubs and services commissioner. The position — left vacant by Amina El Himri’s resignation from the role — will be filled as of Oct. 24 when the UOSU’s Board of Directors (BOD) will convene and vote in a candidate that has completed the interview process with the Executive Committee.
The only requirements to apply are bilingualism and active enrolment as being an undergraduate student at the U of O. The deadline to apply is Oct. 21.
El Himri says the next person to fill the role should be prepared to “work with two hats”, pointing out the differences in working with clubs that remain independent of UOSU and services which are self-sufficient extensions of UOSU.
The outgoing commissioner came to the UOSU with an interest in improving student life after being a part of Campus Vibes UOttawa (CVUO) in its first year as a club and during its efforts to become a service. As a service, CVUO oversees all registered clubs on campus. El Himri’s work there allowed her to see the importance of clubs and services, as well as the structures that help them to run smoothly.
“We knew what made a great club,” shared El Himri. “We knew the hard work behind it, we knew the hardships behind creating something from nothing and trying to create a community.”
UOSU president Tim Gulliver praised El Himri’s work: “I think a lot of credit has to go to Amina for building this role. She was the first, and to date only clubs and services commissioner at UOSU so it’ll be a unique challenge transferring her skills and her knowledge or expertise to her successor, although I’m confident that she’s got a pretty lengthy transition process to make sure that happens smoothly.”
Gulliver spoke to the dual focus of the role saying that the “ideal commissioner spends 50 per cent of their time over the course of the year on each of those two portfolios.”
Gulliver continued: “For clubs, we’re looking for people who are able to not only provide clubs with the support they need, but also oversee and assist CVUO with recognizing clubs providing them with administrative support, and then also dealing with the sometimes prickly questions around decertification or suspension of club status as well, which isn’t fun but [it’s] an important responsibility.”
“In the services portfolio, we’re looking for candidates who are able to ensure the services are sustainable, inclusive, bilingual and accessible, which is our four tenets of services. We’re looking for people who can provide oversight and provide support services to ensure they’re able to meet those goals,” Gulliver said.
El Himri thought of her role as being a safety net for clubs and services. She notes that one element of this role was offering help on logistics that services might dread working on when planning events or new initiatives.
“I always tell [services], if you had unlimited resources, what would you do? And services start brainstorming really big and amazing ideas. And I say, ‘Look, don’t worry about the logistics, we have to find the idea that we love.’ And that’s amazing.” From there, El Himri says she treated her role as getting the services to where they wanted to be.
El Himri expressed that her time at UOSU made her a stronger advocate and her work with services has guided what she hopes to do in the future.
“The journey that I had with the center for students with disabilities, not [just] learning about accessibility, but also implementing it, [helped me] decide I want to do my thesis in grad school or PhD about [accessibility], because that’s how much it impacted me,” she said.
El Himri said she is leaving the role with a higher respect for the students of the University of Ottawa than when she began.
“I thought school was hard. And then I got to this position, and I realized that not only is it really hard, but a lot of students have it a lot worse. It gave me a higher respect for the student population in general and the issues that they’re facing.”
Key skills for the position include organization and resilience according to El Himri.
“I think having vision is also really important and not a vision that you have prior, but a vision that you’ve built with your team,” she added.
One such team the interim commissioner will be joining is the UOSU Executive Committee. Gulliver spoke to the process of hiring and joining the team saying, “[the] Executive Committee is in charge of recruitment, marketing, and interviewing and pre-selecting the candidates. [The executive] then puts forward to the board one or multiple candidates for its consideration. The board gets the final say.”
Gulliver says the team is looking for someone “passionate about providing services to students and about campus wellbeing. Clubs and services are a really integral part of connecting people to the community and providing students with the support that they need. People who are passionate about those things would be a perfect fit for our team.”
“This is a really significant opportunity to engage with the student union and to make campus wellness and campus life better for everyone,” said Gulliver. “We encourage applicants in the two days that are left and we look forward to finding someone to fill the really big shoes Amina has left.”
El Himri said the most important quality in a potential commissioner is “the simple fact that you care and you try and you’re willing to not give up and continue working is all it takes. Because sometimes when everything is falling down, the one thing that keeps you going is the fact that you actually care.”