Campus Life

IGNITE execs tell-all: advice, projects, and why they love their role

by Miriam Mohamadi

What’s the deal with being an IGNITE exec?

Ever wondered how the sleep lounge became a service on campus or why students now have access to free feminine hygiene products? That’s all thanks to your IGNITE executive team. Your IGNITE execs have been working tirelessly throughout the school year to make changes on campus that will make students’ lives a bit easier. If you’ve got some ideas about making a difference on campus, you should fill out a nomination package to run in IGNITE’s election.

Need some inspiration before committing? We sat down with your execs to learn more about what they’ve been doing for students over the past year and what they love most about being an exec.

Keep up to date with all exec initiatives and projects with the Behind The Scenes with IGNITE series.

Here’s what your execs had to say:

Maja Jocson, IGNITE President

Humber College IGNITE President Maja Jocson

Describe your role at IGNITE:

“As the president of IGNITE, I lead the executive team. My day-to-day duties are to ensure that as a team we are on top of our projects. I also often have meetings with the Humber or Guelph-Humber administrations.”

What’s the best part of your position?

“There are a lot of things, but I love that I’ve had a lot of exposure to different stuff. Being president, you’re the main representative of anything student related and are the first point of contact. I’ve really  enjoyed being involved with all the different aspects of student life on campus.”

Any advice for students thinking about running for an exec position?

“If you’re running for president, understand that you won’t know anything. I have a lot of students who come up to me and ask how I know all this stuff, but I didn’t come into this role knowing everything. I’ve had to learn. You have to be resourceful and not afraid to ask questions. It’s like any new job where you learn by doing, asking questions, and by making mistakes.”

Is there anything you wish you knew about this role before becoming president?

“I would have liked to have had a better understanding of what the organization expects of myself and the executives. What I mean, is that at IGNITE we have part-time and full-time staff as well so it would have been useful to know the working relationships and to understand the scope and limitations of my role.  I got to a point where I was stressing out and thinking that I had to do everything, but you don’t.”

Allisa Lim, Vice-President-Lakeshore

Humber College IGNITE VP Lakeshore, Allisa Lim

Describe your Role at IGNITE

“As the VP for Lakeshore campus, and being the only exec at that campus the whole time, I have to create a balance between working in the office on projects and making the time to go out on campus and talk to students. On a day-to-day basis,  I’ll come into the office and answer my emails, attend the meetings planned for the day and then go out with the promo or events teams and interact with students.”

Favourite project you’ve worked on?

“My favourite project that I’ve worked on was making free pads and tampons available on campus. Students are already paying so much for their tuition, food, and rent so sometimes the last thing on our mind are the necessities. I wanted to create a project that would help students financially where they didn’t have to worry about having the money to cover things like hygiene products. What I also love about this project is that it breaks the stigma around periods. Seeing it launch from being an idea on a paper to becoming what it is now is absolutely amazing.”

What’s the best part of your position?

“As a VP you’re able to implement things on campus. If I want to bring up an issue that students are dealing with it’s easy for me to bring it up and do something about it. I love that I’ve been able to help so many students throughout the year. My life motto is that I’d rather die doing something than die doing nothing and that’s what I’m accomplishing through this role.”

Any advice for students thinking about running for an exec position?

“My biggest advice is to make sure you find a cause on campus to be passionate about. Everything is easier when you have a passion. When you’re an exec there are some days that are hard, so you need to have something that motivates you through those tough days. The role may seem intimidating at first but you’ll always have people ready to help you. You have full-time staff and your exec team to help guide you. No one here is trying to set you up to fail, they all want to see you succeed. If you’re interested in running I would say get in contact with one of the execs and talk to them about the role. We want to help, so hit up your VP’s!”

Stokely Lindo, Vice-President-North

Humber College IGNITE VP North campus, Stokely Lindo

Describe your Role at IGNITE

“My role as Vice-President for North campus is to oversee student concerns. I handle all questions, whether they’re academic, financial, or something else.”

What’s the best part of your job?

“The best part of my job is meeting students. Whenever I get concerns from students, it gives me the opportunity to make things better for them. Some successes that we’ve had so far range from students getting back refunds to helping them have their voices heard.

Any advice to students thinking about running for an exec position?

“First thing I would say is to make sure you have a heart for students. You have to envision the things that are affecting them and how best you can create a solution for them. It might not necessarily happen within your time of being an exec but you have to be able to think long-term and set the foundation for what can be a successful service for students.”

Is there anything you wish you knew about this role before becoming a VP?

“You have to be very flexible. You have to be open to change and be willing to become accustomed to things that may be different from what you’re used to. If you’re very flexible then this job will be a great fit for you, that’s something I learned very quickly. Second, you have to be a visionary. You have to be able to think, come up with ideas, and not be afraid to be out of the box. This is the kind of role that allows your creativity to shine.”

John Kokkoros, Vice-President-Guelph-Humber

Humber College IGNITE VP Guelph-Humber, John Kokkoros

Describe your role at IGNITE

“I’m the Vice-President of Guelph-Humber, and I work with the exec team to accomplish different initiatives. The initiatives I specifically work on are managing the Guelph-Humber Academic program reps, getting Guelph-Humber a fall reading break, and bettering the food options on all campuses. My day is pretty much coming in and answering my emails and making sure that my projects are on track.”

What’s the best part of your position?

“Honestly, everything. IGNITE is such a great place to work at and you work with a really great team of full-time and part-time staff. Everyone is so open and supportive here. I’ve gotten to interact with so many students and work on projects that I’m passionate about.”

Is there something you wish you knew about the position before becoming a VP?

“The projects that you’re working on won’t always be completed within the first year. A year in the grand scheme of things isn’t a lot of time to plan and execute a big plan. For example, the former VP of Guelph-Humber started the Fall Reading Week initiative last year and now I’ve taken over that initiative and we’re working to get that finished this year. It takes time, and you have to take into consideration that there are factors that you can’t control that affect the plan.”

Any advice for students thinking about running for an exec position?

“Run on what you’re passionate about and think of something you could change on campus. I would also say that there are a lot of things you have to take into consideration when you’re in an exec role and to expect certain projects to take longer than others. You have to go through a lot of people and work with the Humber and Guelph-Humber administrations to make change happen. There’s a lot of collaboration in this role.”

 

*These interviews have been edited for length and clarity


 

You can download a nomination pack or pick up the form from an IGNITE office (KX202 at North or K204 at Lakeshore).

Want to make a difference on campus? Here are 5 reasons why you should run in IGNITE’s election.

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