The Capilano Students’ Union turns 50 Series #1

Past members of the executive reflect upon their time at the CSU, how it’s changed, and what they hope for its future

Bridget Stringer-Holden // News Editor
Mikaela Johnson // Illustrator

Emily Bridge

Bridge was part of the CSU from June 2019 to May 2021. She first served as the President and Vice-President of Equity & Sustainability, and then the following year only served as the President as there was a restructuring of the executive committee to make the president a standalone position in the fall of 2019.

The aspects she considered the most rewarding that she helped accomplish have been, “the establishment of a new strategic plan which I think is really forward-thinking and ambitious for a student union, and the amount of financial support we mobilized for students in the past year.” She mentioned that it’s been a turbulent couple of years, but that the CSU has worked hard to advocate for students, support CapU’s device loaner program, and make emergency financial aid available for all students, including international students who were unable to access government aid. They also established another scholarship and two bursaries—one to support trans, two-spirit and non-binary students, and another for Black students. “It was a real honour to be a part of that work,” she said. “I’m really grateful that I could be a part of it, if only for a brief time.”

One of the biggest challenges that Bridge experienced—other than the pandemic where there were so many pressing needs and advocacy priorities making it difficult to balance workload and wellness—was having students be seen as experts in their own experience. “When I became president, I was in my mid-20s, but I still felt like I was treated as a child at times,” she said. “I heard other folks at the university speak about students as if we didn’t have agency, autonomy, and the ability to make our own decisions and take responsibility for those decisions like grown-ass adults (sorry for the language). I think that will continue to be a challenge, for students and student activists, advocates, and organizations to be taken seriously, because we kind of have good ideas,” she chuckled.

A lesson that she learned during her term was the importance of clear and kind communication to make sure everyone feels valued. “Especially when things get tough, you have to keep finding a way to keep lines of communication open,” said Bridge. “That and to use each other’s strengths—when you’re working in a collective or with a group of folks, we all bring gifts.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *