The Capilano Students’ Union Turns 50 Series #6

CSU president Maia Lomelino shares their successes of this year and their vision for the future

Bridget Stringer-Holden (she/her) // News Editor

“What I would most like students to know is that we are constantly working for them, even when they’re not seeing it,” said Maia Lomelino (she/they), Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) president. Everyone knows about the parties and events, but there is also a great deal of other work going on behind-the-scenes — things that maybe students don’t know are the CSU’s doing. 

“I think that our major challenges are the relationships we have inside the university,” they said, noting that while the CSU has a collaborative working relationship with the university executives, they aren’t yet at that point with other CapU groups. “It’s challenging, but also very rewarding,” said Lomelino. “[Fostering those relationships is] a great part of what I do on a daily basis.” 

Lomelino has been part of the CSU since 2020, when they served as the Women Students Liaison until being elected president in Spring 2021. Now, their duties include being the organization’s spokesperson, and providing direction to staff in decisions that need to be made on the spot, based on what’s already been discussed with the executive team and the set Annual Operations Plan and five-year Strategic Plan.

What’s been most rewarding to Lomelino has been seeing their advocacy and hard work come to fruition — especially when it improves the lives of Capilano University (CapU) students. Examples include increased accessibility to programs such as the Community Cupboard and Community Closet — students can anonymously pick up what they need on campus without a distressing disclosure process. “I’m very proud of the CSU and the work that we’ve been doing and what we’ve accomplished — it’s by far one of the best places I’ve ever worked and I feel a sense of pride to have been part of this,” they share.

On Lomelino’s future wishlist? Ensuring that all students know their rights, how to appeal, and where to go for support. “I think the campaign that I will love most is still upcoming… it’s something that I’m really passionate about,” shared Lomelino. The untitled campaign will ensure that students will understand when their rights are being infringed upon, how to stand up for themselves and what resources are available for them to do so. “That’s why we have a [students’] union, and I think it’s important to show students what their rights are, what is acceptable and what is not in the classroom.”

This is part of Lomelino’s aim to increase awareness about what the CSU board does. One option is to provide students with bi-weekly CSU board updates to supplement larger reports provided at the Annual General Meeting and Semi-Annual General Meetings, as well as promoting public input periods during CSU board meetings. At all board meetings, any student is able to voice their concerns for five minutes, and Lomelino hopes that if a student notices an issue, they feel comfortable enough to come to a meeting and bring it up. “I just would like students to know that we are here for them — if they’re lost and they don’t know what to do about something, we can [help].”

There are plans for a new student union building within the next six years to increase support space for clubs, gatherings and events, and increase community on campus. “When the CSU started [in 1971] it was more for clubs but it increasingly became more political and [advocacy-focused], so I think that’s something that is going to be very prevalent in our future,” said Lomelino. They would like the CSU to continue reducing barriers to education, empowering students, and facilitating safe and inclusive student-centered spaces and infrastructure at the university.

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