If anyone were to run into Marion Westgate on campus, they’d realize almost immediately that she only runs on one gear: full speed ahead.
UNBSJ’s Social Rep is in her fourth year working on a BA/BEd with a certificate to teach English. Though she’s only two thirds of the way finished her degree, Westgate has seen more of the world than most kids her age. Currently, she’s attended three different universities in three separate countries all around the world—including an exchange to Korea last year—and she’s entertaining the possibility of a fourth place.
Westgate’s job as social rep is to promote the things that the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) is doing and to work alongside UNBSJ’s social director, Jen Brown. “People can come to me for anything,” she says, “that’s part of my job: representing what the university is doing for students. I want to hear what events they want to have; what they want out of us.”
Westgate is also a member of the newly formed Social Committee, which will aid the SRC in the planning of new events and other opportunities for everyone around campus and in the community. Her largest goal for this year is to get students more involved. She tries to push this point by getting people familiar with the services the university provides to make participating in school life easy.
Westgate is a huge advocate for the university’s newest amenity, “SafeRide.” She has been known to hand out business cards to students waiting for the bus to try and get them to consider the alternative. The program’s accessibility erases the worries of those who are planning on staying at school after the usual hours. “I know students are sometimes afraid that if they stay later, they’ll miss a certain bus or something,” says Westgate, “With SafeRide, you can stay and go to […] events and not have to worry about how you’re going to get home. I love it.”
Aside from being an active member of the SRC, Westgate spends her free time balancing a variety of activities that make her friends and family wonder how she does it all. After school, you can find her working at Colonel Tuckers, volunteering with a number of different organizations such as Best Buddies, the Promise Partnership and UNBSJ’s Christian Fellowship committee, where she used to sit as a member of the executive.
Recently, she planned a spaghetti dinner to raise money for members of Christian Fellowship to attend the Urbana conference in St. Louis, Missouri—a conference that Westgate will also be attending herself. She tutors and volunteers with international students as well. “Sometimes I just have to go home and sleep,” she laughs.
Though it sounds like a hectic life, Westgate loves every minute of it, especially her role on the SRC, “I’ve always been involved at this university,” she says, “I’ve got my hand in a couple of different pies, and when I hear all of those different perspectives—to be able to bring them to the table, and know that my voice [on behalf of these people] is making a difference is a great feeling.”
In the end, Westgate’s message to students is simple: “Your university experience is what you make it. If you just come to class and then head home, you’re missing so much. There’s a lot more to university than just grades; I’m always checking bulletin boards for news and events to check out. If you focus solely on [academics], you’re missing out on some pretty amazing experiences.”
If you’re interested in contacting Westgate, you can email her at email@example.com. For further information on the SRC check out their website at www.unbsrc.ca.