Julie Labonte

SU Reviews: Julie Labonte, VP external

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All in all, vice-president external Julie Labonte had a good year. Her strongest qualities were in lobbying, which is good as it is the number one priority for the external position.

While Labonte fulfilled her job description, she also took on extra projects that may not have been beneficial for the Students' Union as a whole.

The most obvious example of Labonte's over-ambition was a planned leadership conference. From the beginning many SU members voiced concerns about the amount of time needed to hold a conference in relation to the small number of individuals who would benefit from it. Even her strongest supporters said it would have benefited the SU had she cut her losses earlier and mentioned she felt tied to the conference because it was in her platform.

Commissioners across the board were quick to point out Labonte's strong leadership skills in the form of being both easily accessible and supportive. Although Labonte was known for her general level-headedness and maturity, she was also criticized for lacking composure when decisions were made other than what she had planned for.

Labonte played a key role in the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations as the western regional director, and pushed for a travel cost-sharing policy to allow smaller schools to gain access to national lobbying. Her strong national and provincial lobbying presence also meant much time spent off campus and both her and SU president Emily Wyatt's frequent travel expenses went over budget by almost 30 per cent.

Some of Labonte's accomplishments include two relatively successful political action weeks, strengthening the What'SUp space and a sustainability policy for Mac Hall in partnership with VP operations and finance Cody Wagner.

Despite her strong start, Labonte was criticized for losing steam near the end of the year. Since she put in so many extra hours initially, she banked much of her vacation time until the end. Though she cannot be faulted for taking time off, it meant a weaker finish to an otherwise strong year for both Labonte and her commissioners.

Although Labonte did not accomplish all her platform goals, she fulfilled her job description and her signature dedication and passion for student issues was appreciated by all who worked with her over her term.