It’s hard to believe that the academic year has come to an end. For many in our community, this is now the time to explore new horizons, as folks graduate from their programs, move to new cities to pursue job opportunities and make sense of what lies ahead. At EWB, we have spent this month reflecting and reminiscing on memories with the outgoing class of Chapter Presidents. This dedicated cohort of leaders spoke about the challenges of navigating a hybrid year, finding hope and motivation in times of uncertainty and the solidarity they found in their Executive Teams.
At EWB USherbrooke, Chapter members were so inspired by Alexane Brunelle’s leadership that they nominated her for Lieutenant Governor's Youth Medal - a prestigious award that recognizes the determination of Quebecers who have had a positive influence in their own communities or throughout Quebec. At EWB University of New Brunswick, Morgan Mollins spearheaded the creation of his Chapter’s first constitution, to ensure that the Chapter could be ratified and recognized by the UNB Student Union. A new Chapter pen pal program was the proudest achievement from EWB Guelph’s President Robyn Jadischke, while an in-person event with 40 people in attendance was EWB MUN Yahia Aly’s best memory.
Throughout our conversations one thing rang true: leadership is certainly not an easy path, and much of this experience is about trial and error. Sometimes plans fall through, teammates fail to show up, and well thought out events have little to no turnout - but the essence of leadership runs on not giving up, picking up the pieces and trying again.
Of course, no interview would be complete without words of advice for the incoming class of leaders. Here are some tips that the leaders had to share:
Plan, plan and plan some more - the academic semester tends to get very busy. Take advantage of the Summer months and meet up with your team to get some headway on the events you’d like to see in the calendar. Some universities also have funding deadlines in the Summer so having a plan can ensure you secure money for your Chapter
Always involve your team - Many Presidents struggled with task delegation this year and had to take on planning large events with little support. It’s important to involve your team to ensure that you are all on the same page and have them weigh in on decisions that will affect the entire Chapter
Stay accountable - Leaders miss the mark too and it’s important to be able to openly communicate with your team so they have your back if you are going through a particularly stressful period. Think of leadership as a walk with your team - not a marathon so don’t put too much pressure on yourself and lean on their support
Keeping these words of advice in mind will set you up for a fantastic year ahead!
To the outgoing leaders, all of us at EWB would like to thank you for your commitment and fortitude this past year. It’s been very encouraging to see your active engagement throughout the semester and we truly appreciate everything you do. To the incoming leaders, the path ahead may have its ebb and flow but rest assured that you have a whole community behind you that will support you every step of the way.