Madison Paradis-Woodman wants your voice to be heard
By Julia Siedlanowska, Staff Writer
Madison Paradis-Woodman is the college relations coordinator at the Douglas College Students’ Union (DSU). In his interview with the Other Press, Paradis-Woodman discusses how working with the DSU has increased his awareness of the political issues around him.
Could you explain for us your role as college relations coordinator at the DSU? What duties does this include?
My role as college relations coordinator at the Douglas Students’ Union primarily includes liaising between the DSU and various governance boards within the college. These boards include (but aren’t limited to) the senior management team, Board of Governors, and Education Council. I also attend regular meetings with the vice-president of Student Services to discuss all matters pertaining to the student community at Douglas College. The most important part of this liaising is connecting with the membership so that their questions, concerns, and voices are recognized around all meeting tables at Douglas College. Although these duties are specific to my role, I also help organize and facilitate various events that the DSU engages in.
When did you start being interested in college relations? Is this how your involvement with the DSU began?
I began volunteering for the DSU through their National Day of Action campaign. Soon after, I ran as Aboriginal liaison. During my term, I became interested in the governance and relationship between the college and the DSU, which sparked my interest in running for college relations coordinator the following year.
How has working with the DSU affected your life? Have you found it helpful in other aspects of your daily life?
The DSU has changed my life in a variety of different ways. I have had the opportunity to work with a group of provincially, nationally, and globally engaged group of people, which has piqued my awareness and consciousness on a myriad of issues and initiatives happening around me. Specifically, I am more aware of my political surroundings, which is a great thing. Prior to getting involved with the DSU, politics was a cryptic and confusion thing, which led me to largely ignore anything associated with the word. Although I still have much to learn, I now feel that I am a more engaged and political person, which I love.
If you could change one thing at Douglas College, what would it be?
I would personally like to see more initiatives taken by the college for marginalized learners within the college (Aboriginal students, female students, students with a disability, racialized students, and queer students). The DSU and the college have collaborated in providing services for these students in the past; however, it’s unfortunate that the college is backing out of their core funding for these services. The systematic cuts to the Douglas College Women’s Centre serves as a prime example.
What advice do you have for Douglas students?
Get involved. Post-secondary institutions serve as a great place for students to develop inside and outside the classroom. Whether you’re a new, returning, or mature student, take this time not only to study, but to learn about who you are, what you like to do, and what you want to do when your time at Douglas College is over. Your “university” life doesn’t have to start at a university. Douglas College has a number of avenues for students to explore who they are and get involved in a variety of ways. So get out there, volunteer, join or start a club, get involved with the DSU! Just take the time to explore and try new things.
What advice would you give someone wanting to get involved with the DSU?
Volunteer! Volunteering is a great way to find out what aspects of the DSU pique your interest, whether it be a recreational activity or a social justice-related activity or something completely different! The DSU has a multitude of streams for students to explore and ignite their passions!