Garrett Blair has been in the (virtual) MSA President's office for a few months now, however, he still has a list of goals he is hoping to achieve.
We recently (virtually) sat down with Garrett to talk about some of these goals, and his interests outside the office to help Mohawk College students get to know him a bit better.
Here’s what he had to say.
Tell Mohawk students a little bit about their current MSA President?
I think I would start by saying I am currently in the Child and Youth Care program. I love sports (Toronto fan, so not a lot of winning but a lot of trying) and I am originally from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.
I am passionate about equality and making sure every student's voice is heard.
I also really enjoy working with people in general.
Why did you decide to run to be President?
Students have [faced] a lot of challenges in the past few years. With the Teacher Strike in 2017, the Student Choice Initiative, which cut out millions of dollars of grant funding in 2018, and then COVID in 2019/2020, students have had to adjust and show a tremendous amount of resiliency. I decided to run for President because I believe in providing consistency and a strong and steady hand for leadership. I understand that with the ever-changing situation with COVID-19, that people are anxious and worried, but I want everyone to know that my team and I are working hard to be able to represent all students at this time, and we always keep students' best interests at heart in everything we do.
What is the role of the MSA President? How do you plan to tackle this role?
One of the main roles is to be the liaison between Mohawk Students and the College staff. This is a big part of what I do, as my team and I take concerns we hear and work with the College to address them as they come up.
I assist my Board members with their areas, such as Advocacy and the Student Representative Committees. I also work a lot with the College to bring student concerns and ideas forward to them as well.
How has this been altered or changed due to COVID-19?
Well, not being in school has been a challenge we are constantly overcoming and trying to work through.
I think, if anything, the advocacy piece has grown stronger this year, as we have entered an entirely new world of online learning. Students are concerned and worried, and the MSA is here to assist and advocate for Mohawk College Students.
Even though our services are being provided differently, our mission, vision, and values are still the same.
What are you hoping to achieve during this school year as President?
One of the things I am hoping to achieve, and this is a team thing, is the success and thriving of the Student Representative Committees. Two years ago, they went under a big change, and last year was the first year the new format was implemented. Now, we have a year of experience, and my hope is that the committees thrive this year.
Another success I want is to leave the students feeling comfortable and knowledgeable about the MSA services provided online, as well as our supports. I want students to feel comfortable discussing their issues and concerns with the Board of Directors, and for students to want to get involved with the MSA.
What are some things students can look forward to this year?
If you go to the MSA Facebook, Instagram page, or website, you can see all of our virtual events and services. You can also look forward to the Student Rep Committees being in an online and more accessible format.
Also, for the students that have to attend campus or live in residence, the MSA is still providing great food services on campus!
I also think students should look forward to continuing to have an advocating body that will work for them to ensure that they feel supported, heard and free to express their thoughts, and opinions.
Note: Some comments have been edited for clarity.
Written by Paige Petrovsky