Candidate Profiles: VP Clubs & Services

The Vice President (Clubs and Services) of the Students’ Society of McGill University is the point person for all internal relations between the Society and its clubs, services and publications. Their main duties include: communicating all policies and procedures to the clubs and services, discussing budget submissions of all clubs, services and the student handbook publication, and providing activities, events and support to all clubs and services to enhance the well-being of the groups. Along with the internal support, theVicePresident (Clubs & Services) must also maintain relations with all independent student groups (excluding Faculty associations) and manage the use and upkeep of the William Shatner University Centre.

[bootstrap_tab name=”Sandhya Sabapathy” link=”tab1-slug” active=”active” ]

Name: Sandhya SabapathySabapathy

Year: U2

Campaign slogan:

Vote for a new and dynamic approach to SSMU!

Candidate Biography: 

I’m a U2 Honours Anatomy and Cell Biology student. I was born in Dubai and I’ve lived there until I entered McGill in Fall 2011. I’ve always been really interested in extra-curricular activities, I was elected Head Girl of my high school of 8000 students and Head of the school’s environment club. I have been extensively involved in SSMU activities ever since my first year. I’m an active member of 7 clubs, I’ve been an exec in multiple clubs, interacted with most of the services over the years and I’m currently president of 3 SSMU clubs. My strengths lie in organization, delegation and communication and over the years I’ve garnered respect from the students for my work ethic and dependability. This portfolio of Clubs and Services is daunting but I with my political and administerative experience in SSMU makes me an ideal candidate for the job. Vote for the change you want to see!


Describe your platform:

Improved accessibility – My job involves me working for 50-60 hours a week and I refuse to let that be governed from behind a desk answering emails and sending listervs. I would have office hours at the front desk in front of the stairs, I want you to come and approach me with your problems first hand. I want to have a good working relationship with each and everyone of you. SSMU has many brilliant clubs that hold memorable events, but there is a significant lack of interaction between clubs for various events, I want to be that link and bridge the gap between these student groups.

ClubHub and ClubPedia – These two amazing ideas introduced by the past VP C&S executives Carol and Allison, I intend to start active research on implementing these ideas the moment I’m in office for it to be available to students for Fall 2014. ClubHub is a club management system and forum where clubs can talk about their common needs and have easy access to all the important administerative information that empowers them to make autonomous decisions that work towards the betterment of their club/service. ClubPedia is a Wikipedia for clubs that will list information regarding their past events, achievements and plans for the future.

Better Room booking System Structure– The room booking system must work for us and not against us. Apart from just being a general concern for many student groups, SSMURBS has undergone multiple changes over the past years leading to a lot of confusion. We need to use these methods of trial and error to our advantage and work towards a cohesive system that works to our benefit. Conflict resolution must be an open-ended scenario with both clubs involved being heard and treated fairly.

Space optimization – I sit on the SSMU environment committee, and I’ve worked with them to come up with sustainable ideas for the change in utilizing SSMU spaces. I feel that SSMU would thrive from resources to better utilize all space on campus, not just the space in Shatner.

An Interactive Activities night – Activities night is a big event for clubs, services and SSMU with over 4000 students attending every year. Public visibility of the clubs and service alignment should be conducted so that crowds can be handled easily and people know where they’re going, internally the flow of the building is going to be cohesive. An interactive ‘blue-print’ of different club tabling allocations should be made public. I want to be responsible for making activities night more memorable for one and all, not just for the student body too but also for the volunteers and management.

Introduction of club council – McGill is full of student leaders and they’re the backbone of SSMU, they understand SSMU functioning at a grass root level and this is what I want to tap into. A representative for each type of club, say music or environment would be assigned and these representatives would have meeting with executives of the groups that fall under their jurisdiction. Since members of the IGC sit in the legislative council they would be able to convey on a first hand basis the voice of various clubs. This would unite club leaders to improve SSMU’s response to their needs, increase proactivity by decreasing bureaucracy. An index/forum of all discussions would be made for increased transparency.

You can find my full platform here:


Describe your qualifications:

I understand SSMU from many perspectives: as a volunteer taking part in events, as an executive organizing these events and getting them sponsored, as a president overseeing all matters and making critical decisions. I understand the trends clubs follow, how an excellent executive system, a pro-active member base and good relations with SSMU all go hand in hand, I understand the importance of being the liaison between all these different levels within a club and also in dealing with inter-club collaborations.

I started my own music club Ettuchantes (Student Music Society) in my first year and the project has taken off, we now perform at events with an audience of over 200 people and have hosted well received events of our own. I understand the difficulties interim status clubs go through, the different obstacles they face and I know how to help them along their way to become hugely successful additions to student life.

I have worked with the past VP C&S executives Allison and Stefan and the Interest Group Coordinators Enbal and Tariq closely and on a regular basis, I understand their portfolios well.

I have worked in huge Montreal and international committees like WE day and Brain Awareness week, I understand the importance of team work and using our diverse community to improve campus life. I was head volunteer of WE day international and WE day Montreal and I was in charge of 700 volunteers under my jurisdiction, working with a strong team and putting up a successful event that had an audience of over 5000 people. Brain Awareness Week involved me setting up a whole week of workshops, teaching students across Montreal about the importance of neuroscience. I had to organize the workshops and mobilize volunteers to cover 50 schools all over Montreal.

I have also worked with SSMU’s amazing services like Plate club and Midnight Kitchen with events and I’ve worked with CKUT for organizing workshops and even as a DJ for their sustainability segment. I’m the Co-President of one of the largest Environment clubs at SSMU called the Conservationists and I was an integral part of its transition into a full-fledged club in 2012.

I understand the intricacies of this portfolio from personal level. I intend to make long-lasting changes that are effective immediately and take a dynamic approach to this challenging portfolio.


What are the successes and failures of this year’s SSMU and what would you have done differently?

A common concern for most clubs is the lack of transparency when it comes governing documents or financial information. Important policy changes are being made that affect clubs and these changes aren’t being made with the opinions of club student leaders in mind. The processes backing up these policy changes are not accessible to the student body and this casts a shadow on the whole process. Clubs and Services undergo changes in executives every year and it is important for SSMU to have an index of how a club functions, archives on how various conflicts/concerns were managed so that the transition for new executives is easier and the steep learning curve can be overcome easily.

The Clubs and Services portfolio involves a team of highly organized people working closely to be an accessible point of contact for all the clubs and services. Division of labour is very important, without a proper work plan this portfolio can be very overwhelming. Lack of communication, information delays, poor planning and poor concern for specific needs of individual clubs were common concerns brought up by clubs this year. Using the human resources SSMU offers is key for this portfolio, being approachable and effective at problem solving are important traits this portfolio demands.

An important success of the SSMU this year was the opening of the sustainable Student-Run Café, Nest. Although it is still a new project and it has a long way to go before it is a full-fledged success, the entire executive team especially the VP Finance and Operations must be given credit for making this amazing initiative come to fruition.


What are some key issues you foresee SSMU having to address next year?

I think SSMU will have to focus on renewing student body interest in taking up positions at SSMU, managing and restoring faith in SSMU’s accountability to student life. SSMU should focus on solidifying it’s position as the umbrella that both unites clubs and defines every club’s individuality. We need to address the reason behind falling reliance of student bodies on SSMU, and come up with an appropriate solution.

So Vote Sandhya Sabapathy for VP Clubs and Services for a new and dynamic approach to SSMU!



[bootstrap_tab name=”Stefan Fong” link=”tab2-slug” ]

Name: Stefan FongFong

Year: U3

Campaign slogan:

Candidate Biography:

Heyo, my name is Stefan Fong and I’ve had the pleasure of working for SSMU this year as the current VP (Clubs and Services). One of my main passions since early high school has always been involvement in extracurricular activities. What better way to supplement your academic life than by getting involved with what makes students really passionate, be it volunteering, leadership development, or fine arts? I personally feel that this is where the heart of being a student truly is and I want to make that experience as enriching as it can be for students who choose to get involved here at McGill!


Describe your platform: 

My platform revolves around experience and the knowledge I’ve gained serving as the 2013-2014 VP (Clubs and Services). I want to do this job again because a single year is much too short to make significant and beneficial change in what is probably one of Canada’s oldest club structures. My platform addresses many of the key points in the Clubs and Services Portfolio:


  • Design and implementation of an online Club Management Portal
  • One of the main issues with clubs is that they are not able to self-administer because they don’t have access to any of their governing documents or financial information. My aim with this project is to empower clubs to be able to better manage themselves by improving the interface they have with SSMU and having all of their documents and forms in one easy-to-access space. It will also serve to track membership and financial information, which would be invaluable to management of a club.
  • Recognition of extracurricular activities on an official McGill transcript
    • One of my current projects is to assist and advise the university in the implementation of a system where students can benefit from having the university officially recognize their involvement outside of the classroom. Being able to continue with this project would ensure that we can get it implemented as soon as possible.


  • Support Services through better institutional memory
    • Many of our SSMU Services suffer from the same large-scale issues such as executive transition, existence referenda, etc. My goal next year will be to support them by completing Service-specific “How to Run a Service” guide so that they can hit the ground running come September. I also want to expand the newly-created Services Summit as a platform for Services to learn from each other and tackle common issues they want me to address in an engaging and collaborative forum.
  • Support Services through a unified promotional strategy
    • The Services have all collectively agreed that one of their main issues is a lack of exposure and difficulty engaging the wider McGill community. I plan to advertise these services to students by preparing Service Promo Videos highlighting who they are and what they do. I also plan to focus on incoming students who may not intuitively seek out these services by engaging them as early as their orientation events and residence experiences. Promoting Service-wide collaboration would also greatly benefit the Services by expanding their mandates to run joint events and better engage a wider audience.


  • Long-term renovation projects
    • With the lease now signed, SSMU can finally start focusing on long-term investments to the SSMU building. I want to focus specifically on three main areas:
    • The Ballroom is one of our most specialized venues but lacks the technical support needed for large events. I plan to modernize it by installing better audiovisual equipment and turning the stage area into a more multi-purpose space.
    • Room 108 is our newest bookable space. It has the potential to cater to a wide variety of clubs events but does not currently have a long-term mandate for use and renovation. I hope to better conceptualize a vision for this area by looking at the needs of the various groups that book the space.
    • The Nest, our very own student-run cafe, is still quite young and has yet to fulfill its intended mandate of providing a community space for students. I will work with the VP (Finance and Operations) to act on the feedback that is provided  by students and actualize this vision.
  • Better room booking and space allocation procedures
    • The building is essential in supporting clubs and services by being a space available for their club events and daily activities. Room booking procedures have changed heavily this year and are still in a transitory phase. I want to expand on the current system and improve SSMURBS by making it more user-friendly and accessible. I also want to implement more transparent and informed allocation procedures for club offices as they are often the key component to a club’s functioning.

You can find my full platform here:


Describe your qualifications: 

I am currently the incumbent SSMU VP (Clubs and Services) and have learned a lot about how SSMU works on the backend. It’s a lot more complicated than people realize and I’m hoping to use the knowledge and experience I’ve gained this year to address complex issues that can’t be solved in just one year.

I’ve also served as the President of the SSMU Daycare and SSMU Representative to the CKUT Board of Directors. Both of these roles have given me a lot of insight into high-level management and plenty of experience dealing with various issues, either legal, financial or otherwise.

This year, I also had the opportunity to sit on various McGill Senate committees including the Committee on Student Services which oversees many of the services that McGill offers, the Gardens and Grounds subcommittee which addresses issues of space on campus, and, just last week, joined the Working Group on Universal Design, which addresses issues of accessibility on campus.

Before then, I served as President of the SSMU Musicians Collective, one of SSMU’s 21 Services. My experience there was invaluable as Services are a huge part of SSMU’s commitment to students and I was able to use it to address some of the common issues Services face every year.

Way back when, I served as VP External and VP Finance of the SSMU Musicians Collective, back when it was still a Club and was integral in its transition into a full-fledged Service. I also served as VP Finance of New Earth Voices A cappella where I first became involved in SSMU’s club bureaucracy.


What are the successes and failures of this year’s SSMU and what would you have done differently?

Having worked in SSMU for the past year, this question carries a lot of personal weight. Last year, I placed a lot of emphasis on supporting the administrative structure. As such, I was able to quickly recognize the flaws in many of our procedures and make changes to better suit the needs of the Club and Services. For example, the previous room booking system restricted clubs from being able to book rooms more than two weeks in advance, preventing them from being able to secure a venue and plan their events and activities efficiently. I was able to extend the window of time that is available to up to 3 months in advance allowing clubs to plan ahead and better promote their events.

One of the drawbacks of my focus on administrative support was that I was unable to fully engage with students at a political level. However, from sitting on several McGill committees, such as the Committee on Student Services, and working with SSMU’s own committees, I’ve gained the knowledge and capacity to tackle the issues that Clubs and Services are facing. I plan to expand on the work done within these committees and engage the university’s upper administration to address recurring space issues and students’ involvement in extracurricular activities.

Finally, there are many things that can be frustrating with SSMU and, oftentimes, the structures in place are so concretized that it is very hard to make substantial changes in a single year. An inherent flaw with the executive structure is that it takes about 6 months to get used to your job, 3 to learn it and 3 more when students come back in September. By the second semester, it’s already time to start thinking about transitioning out, making the whole system very inefficient. If I’m elected, I can hit the ground running and make the most of the summer to overhaul old and obsolete procedures, start planning Activities Night as early as June and be better prepared to support Clubs and Services before the semester even starts.


What are some key issues you foresee SSMU having to address next year?

I foresee SSMU struggling to engage its students at a provincial, national and even global level. With its membership in TaCEQ uncertain, SSMU will have to find ways to fill the void of lacking a representational political body. Increased efforts to collaborate with other universities, both within Quebec and in Canada, will likely be a much needed focus of the SSMU in order to maintain its relevance with current political issues.


[bootstrap_tab name=”Candidate Debates” link=”tab3-slug”]

Coming soon.



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