Byelection saw three students from New Westminster campus vying for council seat
By Jake Wray, News Editor
McKenzie Hutchison has been elected as a student representative on the Douglas College education council in an October byelection.
The responsibilities of the education council include defining curriculum content, setting various academic policies, and advising the Douglas College board. It is an elected body consisting of two students from the Coquitlam campus, two students from the New Westminster campus, two support staff, and ten faculty members. The October byelection saw three candidates compete for one of the New Westminster campus student representative seats.
Hutchison, 20, also serves as director at large for the DSU and is the president of the Athletes’ Council club. In a phone interview with the Other Press, she said her roles with the DSU and the Athletes’ Council make her an ideal representative for students on the education council.
“I just wanted to use those platforms to actually listen to students and bring what they have to say to the education council,” she said. “I was in a unique position to do that this year.”
Hutchison said one of her primary goals on the education council is to increase supports for students who plan to transition from Douglas College to a university.
“For a lot of students, me in particular in the next couple years when I’m sure I’ll go to university, the transition can be quite intimidating,” she said. “Knowing you have people on your side at Douglas who are trying to help you make [the] transition easier and make that big step a little less scary, I think is always helpful.”
Instructors offering words of support about the transition to university is especially needed, according to Hutchison.
“If faculty members at Douglas are able to reach out to students more and help them more, because I feel like right now it could be a little better,” she said. “I do have friends who have gone on to university and have struggled with being worried. They were worried about moving on and taking the bigger step to university. That’s huge … just having that support at Douglas and saying like, ‘You are ready and you will do well at a big university.’”
Another priority on the education council, Hutchison said, is advocating for greater adoption of open education resources—something she has also worked on with the DSU.
“To me it’s also another tool to help students—to make their lives easier, and to make it easy for them to afford going to college,” she said. “The cost of living in Vancouver is ridiculous, so it would be very helpful for [students] to have those resources and to open professors’ minds to the idea of open education and resources.”