University of Calgary

Meet the new Students' Union

UToday HomeMay 4, 2012

The executive of the latest Students' Union moved into their offices earlier this week. Their first day on the job was Tuesday, May 1. Please read on to learn a little bit more about the men and women who will guide the SU for the next year.

President – Hardave Birk

Hardave Birk is unbelievably excited to be the 70th President of the Students’ Union. He grew up in Golden, British Columbia, before moving to Calgary in 2008 to pursue a degree in Economics and Political Sciences. During his time at the university, Hardave has had the opportunity of working with the Residence Students’ Association as a student representative, announcing for Dinos’ Athletics games, and serving as the Vice President, External for the Students’ Union in 2010-2011. He’s excited to continue working for you this year as President, and he’s happy extend his degree by an additional year in his quest to remain a student to pursue his passion for life-long learning.

During his time on campus Hardave has led a number of initiatives. He acted as the Chair of the Council of Alberta University Students in 2010-2011—acting as the main spokesperson for undergraduates in Alberta to the provincial government. He led the 2010 iVOTE initiative to engage students in the municipal election by bringing politicians to campus and organizing a strong “get out the vote” effort. Hardave has been an orientation leader and helps students adjust to their first year on the university campus. Finally, in working with the Dinos’, Hardave has supported school spirit and encourages others to engage with our campus in many ways.

Hardave has a passion for politics and sincerely believes there is nothing more important than helping his fellow students. He loves the university and wants to give back to the community that has given him so much in the last four years. He’s excited to work for you and lives by the three words: Coffee’s for closers. Many would say that Hardave considers himself to have lived the dream here at the university and he hopes to help other students live their dreams. He is somewhat of a workaholic but loves knowing that he is helping others and improving the undergraduate experience at the university.

If you’re ever looking for Hardave, it’s safe to say he’ll probably be at the weekly Dinos game or down at the Den relaxing with his fellow students. Don’t be scared to join him for a drink, or help him cheer on the Dinos throughout the year. In his spare time, Hardave loves watching football, discussing politics, reading the news, and cooking. He’s also not afraid to admit to the world that he’s got a soft spot for romantic comedies. Some would call Hardave a twitter addict and you can follow him @hardavebirk. Give him a shout and forward your concerns about what’s happening on campus or what you’d like to see continue. Whether it’s online or in person, Hardave is always looking to engage with you and his door is always open.

Vice President Academic – Kenya-Jade Pinto

Kenya-Jade spent half her life growing up in the country she was named after. By late 2000, her family made the decision to move to Canada, and in the immigration process, found themselves separated for a year. Today, Kenya is grateful to be surrounded by family, and believes every moment together should be cherished. Since leaving Africa in 2001, Kenya has lived in Calgary, where she was honoured to complete her high school career as valedictorian. Kenya is entering her final year of a major in International Relations and a minor in Development Studies.

Kenya’s love of life has led her to dibble dabble in many different initiatives both at the University of Calgary and in the greater community. Kenya travelled to Italy as part of a group study program, where she completed the language requirement for her degree. She is also a founding member of Women in Leadership, a club on campus dedicated to discussion, collaboration, and innovation between women of various backgrounds, disciplines, and career paths. For the past year, Kenya worked at the Students’ Union as a program assistant working on important projects like the Undergraduate Research Symposium and Teaching Excellence Awards. In the greater community, Kenya has had the opportunity to be a global educator, teaching students in K-12 about food security in the developing world. She also volunteers as a photographer for AIDS Calgary.

Kenya has been known to jump on airplanes on a whim, packing only the necessities and her trusted Nikon camera. After completing her first sky dive in the fall of 2010, it seems Kenya’s been known to jump out of airplanes too! Still, Kenya argues, being elected to the Students’ Union is her most exciting accomplishment.

In Kenya’s eyes, great success comes from collaboration and mentorship. She is in constant awe of all the great initiatives surrounding her at the university, and takes every chance she can get to be inspired and learn about all the great work being done on this campus by students alike. She hopes you’ll knock on her window or stop her in Mac Hall, say hi, hello, and share your story too!

Vice President External - Raphael Jacob

Raphael Jacob is ecstatic to be the Vice President External for 2012-2013. He was born in India, moved briefly to Fort McMurray (it’s a long story) before moving to Dubai for nine years. Raphael moved to Calgary in 2000 and has lived there ever since. Raphael entered the University of Calgary in the fall of 2008 as a Political Science major and is working on his thesis before graduating.

During his four years at the University of Calgary, Raphael has been very involved with Students’ Union Clubs (President of the Model United Nations Team—which is marginally cooler than it sounds!) and campus life in general (Orientation Leader for the 2011 O-Week). Raphael first became engaged in the Students’ Union when he successfully ran for one of the four Faculty of Arts Representatives on Students’ Legislative Council (SLC). Some of the committees Raphael participated in include Operations and Finance, Clubs, Shell Experiential Energy Learning and the Committee of 10,000. He was also involved with the development of the Faculty of Arts Student Lounge, contributed to various faculty-specific councils, the new Dean of Arts selection committee and was lucky enough to win the SLC’s Out of Office award twice.

Raphael enjoyed the time he spent with the Students’ Union so much that he decided to run for an executive position, and based his platform of keeping tuition affordable and accessible for students (also because he shares a name with a ninja turtle). He plans be heavily involved with CAUS and CASA (our provincial and federal lobby organizations) working to block market modifier proposals and moving towards the implementation of a student approval mechanism for mandatory non-instructional fees.

In his free time Raphael enjoys snowboarding (at an intermediate level) in the winter and playing soccer (poorly) in the summer. Raphael also loves watching the TV series Community, listening to the sweet work of Girl Talk and generally wasting time on Reddit. His favorite movie might just be 500 Days of Summer (insisting it’s not a just a chick flick!), his favorite book is the Once and Future King by T.H. White and last, but not least, his favorite board game is Carcassone (but only when he wins).

All in all, Raphael is the point person for all University of Calgary students for any and all matters pertaining to the government and would highly encourage all students to feel free to either drop into his office or send him an email with any questions or issues they may have. Raphael Jacob: He isn’t handsome, he isn’t popular and so he has time for student government.

Vice President Student Life - Hayley Wade

Hayley Wade is ecstatic and honored to serve as the 70th Students’ Union Vice-President Student Life. Hayley was born and raised in the beautiful city of Vancouver, British Columbia with her mother and brother, with whom she has always been very close. She is currently switching her major to Kinesiology which is natural choice for her as she has an extensive sports background, and has been heavily involved with various sports since the age of five. Hayley’s career goals include a plan to open her own business and work with athletes who have suffered debilitating injuries to help them return to their sport and accomplish their dreams.

Hayley is passionate about traveling, trying new things, her family, and helping others. Next up on her bucket list, are things like skydiving, backpacking around Europe, learning to surf and traveling to the Maldives. When she is not in Calgary, Hayley can often be found soaking up the sunshine somewhere near the ocean, with her family and friends. As much as she loves the water, Hayley is proud to be born in Canada, and was happy that her mother didn’t give birth to her when she went into labour on an airplane on a flight over the ocean between England and Canada.

Representing undergraduate students at the University of Calgary is not something that is foreign to Hayley, as she has been a Student Representative for students in her residence community, and most recently served as the first-ever Vice-President Hybrid for the Residence Students’ Association. In her role as Vice-President Hybrid, Hayley was able to work with her co-executive team to initiate and implement projects such as the residence-wide Meal Plan Survey and Residence Carnival, to ensure that residence students’ needs at the university are accurately represented and to help them get the most out of their time in residence.

Hayley is very much looking forward to serving and representing every undergraduate student at the U of C and encourages all students to drop by her office to say hello and introduce yourself—her door is always open! When you catch Hayley in the hallways, feel free to stop her and let her know how she can best represent you.

Vice President Operations & Finance – Scott Weir

Scott Weir is excited to represent the student body as VP Operations and Finance for the next year. He has served students over the past year as one of the Faculty of Arts representatives, working on projects like the completion of the Arts Lounge. This lounge is a monumental project, as it will help to build a sense of community in the largest and most diverse faculty on campus. Having grown up in small-town Alberta, Scott understands the value of community-building. His campus involvement extends outside of the SU through his role as program ambassador in the Sophomore Leadership Program. This program attracts 80 second year students and helps them develop networks both on and off campus.

Having grown up in the “family business” Scott has quite an entrepreneurial side. Always looking at new business opportunities, he is constantly thinking outside of the box. Other than the standard high school jobs that most people have, Scott started, owned and operated two of his own businesses. One of them was his web design firm, which employed seven part-time staff and catered to a multitude of clients. Moving to Calgary from Leduc, Alberta to attend the University of Calgary was an eye-opening experience. Scott immensely enjoys living in the city and is thrilled that he chose University of Calgary as his university. He is in his last year of his Political Science degree and loves the variety of classes he has been able to take.

Often referring to himself as a “Business Hippy”, his passions include biking, hiking, camping, learning, growing his own food, meeting new people and keeping busy with new things. He brings his skills, experience and passion to the VP Operations and Finance portfolio and will go above and beyond to represent the best interest of students. By enthusiastically acting on behalf of the student body, improving and expanding student services and keeping the Students’ Union working to improve the student experience, Scott has a busy year ahead of him.