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November 7, 2002 First Nations Act draws fire from SCPA panel



Natalie Pomerleau

Photo by Andrew Dobrowolskyj

by Melanie Takefman

For president-elect Natalie Pomerleau, the new CSU executive’s mission is clear: to create a sense of community at Concordia. In a soft, confident voice, she articulated how the Evolution, Not Revolution slate will improve the school’s reputation and dissolve tensions among student groups.

“When people come back [in the fall], they will see a difference at Concordia,” said Pomerleau, who is VP Academic for the Engineering and Computer Science Association. “There will be more places to work on group projects and spend time between classes.”

She said there are many empty spaces that she would like to convert into room for students, like the basement of the Faubourg. She would like to make the mezzanine more inviting by moving the tables to its periphery.

The future CSU is also planning a big orientation party in the fall as well as events for all students throughout the year, and they plan to advertise them well. Both are things Pomerleau said the current CSU has not done.

Pomerleau hopes to support the CSU’s constituent clubs by turning the UnAbridged, the CSU’s official publication, into a newsletter and calendar of events for faculty associations, clubs and the CSU itself.

She has been active in student organizations since she moved to Montreal to pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer science in 2000. The daughter of francophones, Pomerleau grew up in Brockville, Ont.

She also took kickboxing lessons at Concordia. Now, however, when it comes to making time for hobbies, she laughed and said, “Not so much lately, I’ve been really busy.”

The other members of the Evolution, Not Revolution slate are also veterans of numerous faculty associations, councils and clubs. With executives from every faculty, Pomerleau said that they truly represent undergraduates.

While Pomerleau plans to maintain certain CSU activities, like the job and housing bank and the student advocacy centre, it was the frustration she felt vis-à-vis their politics that spurred her to run for the presidency.

“They were supposed to represent all students, but they were being detrimental to most,” she said. “[They are] causing the reputation of the university to go down and the chance of people getting jobs afterwards being lower.”

She would like to forge a rapport with university administrators that will enable the CSU to negotiate on behalf of students.

Rector Frederick Lowy shares Pomerleau’s enthusiasm for open dialogue. “We will attempt to develop a good working relationship where we are each sensitive to the other’s needs and where we are working together for the benefit of our students and of the university,” he said.

In addition, Lowy said that university administrators will meet regularly with the CSU. “I hope that both student issues and issues dealing with the university at large will not be distracted by non-constructive disputes between the administration and the student government,” he said.

Pomerleau and her fellow executives would also like to quell the tensions between student groups with divergent political agendas. “We’d like to get groups together and have them start talking before another big thing happens.” Hopefully, she added, by talking, they will learn to respect each other.

In a year from now, Pomerleau envisions a campus with “more sense of community, more balance. If you want to do activist activities and protest things, then you can do so, but if you don’t and you just want to have fun then that’s possible as well. People have a choice.”