That’ll do, SSMU, that’ll do

At the end of each year, the News editors often find themselves writing lukewarm to scathing reviews of each member of the SSMU executive.

This year, however, the executive has done a pretty great job. They’ve been accessible and personable to news writers, and have accomplished projects beyond their election promises.

Overall, we’ve had a better relationship with SSMU president Ivan Neilson than his counterparts in years past – perhaps because of his willingness to sit down with The Daily. One of the reasons the executive was successful is the fact that they all seemed to work well together, even during times of SSMU crisis and controversy.

We were fairly apprehensive about Neilson when he won last year, but overall he seems to have helped run a tight ship this year. We wonder whether he could have been more proactive in preventing the events that led to the J-Board case against incoming president Zach Newburgh, but overall, he seemed dedicated to representing all SSMU members fairly.

Jose Diaz has more notches on his belt than any past VP (Finance) we can remember: the SSMU budget is on the ball, a Gerts renaissance this year put the long-ignored bar back in the black, Haven Books was euthanized, and a new speakers and event fund was created. To top it all off, SSMU is no longer investing in the tar sands. Diaz’s emphasis on transparency in SSMU’s finances was also admirable, and when we asked difficult questions about SSMU investments, he was both forthcoming and sincere.

Our midterm review of VP (Clubs and Services) Sarah Olle was glowing, and our praise can only continue. She achieved her promises of ushering the Tribune toward independence and making SSMU more user-friendly by advocating for student grievances in Council. She also worked hard to bring the McGill Yearbook back to life, and personally promoted the Winter General Assembly.

One of the best parts of Rebecca Dooley’s time as VP (University Affairs) was her desire to represent student concerns at Senate. She fought for more transparency of harmful research at McGill, greater access for the media, and improved timeliness of course-pack availability. She also steered the Equity Committee through the Choose Life suspension, one of its most challenging tasks in recent SSMU history, worked to create the Sustainability Project Fund, and pushed for the self-reporting H1N1 red button on myMcGill.

The year started a little rough for VP (Internal) Alex Brown with some Frosh debacles, but things only got better for her. We’ve already praised her for cancelling SnowAP and replacing it with Week101, but she also did a good job improving advertising for the General Assembly. SSMU events also diversified as the year went on, ending with a spectacular bang with a Girl Talk concert and a talk by Salman Rushdie.

Sebastian Ronderos-Morgan, the VP (External) oversaw a year of transition for SSMU external relations by working on the Table de concertation étudiante du Québec with several other student unions. He also fulfilled his promise to work with the Milton-Parc community, for which past VPs (External) was little more than a campaign slogan. He got the gears rolling on SSMU involvement in the provincial tuition debate, though some of his events were more successful than others.

The SSMU executive has worked well together, through thick and thin, and their level of commitment to each other has shown through.

We may even miss them.