For the third installment of the Student-Staff series, I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Priscilla Uribe. Priscilla is one of the Directors at Large for the SUO. She is in her 4th year, majoring in Data Science and Economics. Her last year, however, will be next year as she is currently doing her CO-OP in Toronto.
Why did you run for Director at Large?
PU: I am very passionate about environmental sustainability and education in general and I realized that there is a lot to be done in terms of engaging students in campaigns and raising awareness towards topics such as food waste, food insecurity, plant-based food, climate-friendly practices as well as fairness for domestic and international students and many more. I always believe that we should work for the best interest of students and I wanted to make sure that happened this year among the SUO members.
How long have you had this position?
PU: For about 7-8 months now. I was a Student-at-large in the campaigns committee for a year in 2020.
Did you know when you were running that you would not be on campus?
PU: No, I didn't with certainty, but I got accepted in the co-op program way before so I knew that was a possibility.
Did that have an influence in your decision?
PU: No! I still wanted to run because my priority was to achieve, for example, some climate-friendly requests (such as more plant-based food on campus and less plastic) that the student body requested during my work as a Climate Ambassador before COVID. My previous involvement in the SUO campaigns committee inspired me to continue working towards those goals too. I knew I could work closely with my peers even with the distance as other members have done in the past. For example, I work closely with the VP Internal on all of these issues/projects through a virtual format. As well, I attend board meetings online and conferences when I can.
How do you balance work, academic, and social life, especially with the distance?
PU: I am in Toronto which sometimes makes it challenging because of the time zone differences, but I basically take the mornings to work out and get energy for the long days (I work in PST time now after my first co-op ended so I finish working very late), and then I try to get 7 hours of sleep! I live with friends too, so that helps keep a good social life.
How do you stay in communication with your coworkers and issues on campus?
PU: I always check our Slack group and emails and request virtual meetings with coworkers and the General Manager when I need to clarify questions or when I feel there are small gaps of information that I might miss by not being in person. What helps me a lot is my frequent communication with the VP Internal. We call at least once a week!
Is working for the SUO what you expected?
PU: No, it is actually more fun than expected! I like my working relationships with the executives and I feel confident in giving a lot of suggestions to the campaigns or policy committees often. I am very grateful for the support we received with climate-friendly initiatives this year! I am so glad to work toward environmental sustainability and education. I am always considering the best for the student body.
Is there anything you would like to add?
PU: Again, just to express my gratitude for the engagement of students with both the Plant-Forward campaign and the Membership Outreach Sustainability Fund for clubs and course unions. These are 2 newly implemented initiatives at UBCO that we are trying for the first time and I am so glad to have this space to share and encourage all of you to be part of these initiatives. Lastly, I look forward to continuing working in-person (my co-op is in BC now) for the students starting in January and hopefully next year.