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2017/2018 Municipal Affairs Commissioner Intro Blog

May 19th, 2017

As your new Municipal Affairs Commissioner, I'll be the one in charge of collaborating with councillors, city staff, and a myriad of other important men and women in business wear to bring about positive change for the next year.

So what are my qualifications? I'm passionate about equality and I'll work hard to achieve it. I've just finished my second year in the School of Planning, where I've worked really hard to understand some of the context behind municipal decisions, and also to get a lot of achievements in city-building games. And I've fallen in love with the city of Waterloo in my two years here.

Jennifer Chen, Municipal Affairs Coordinator for 2017-2018.

I like how it's big enough to support weird specialist shops that sell oddly specific merchandise, but it's small enough that you can get pretty familiar with uptown Waterloo over the course of a weekend. I like the fairy lights that decorate the trees in the winter. I like how every time a new restaurant moves into the region, it makes the news, and I like that we have a set of arthouse theatres that screens Tommy Wiseau's The Room once a month. I applied to be your Municipal Affairs Commissioner because I want more people to enjoy the region the way I have. And that involves taking care of some regional problems that haunt a great deal of students, which I feel quite capable of tackling.

So that's what I'm doing this year! Some specifics: With my Laurier counterpart, I'll be investigating ways to improve student housing and reduce malpractice by housing companies and landlords. My predecessor, Antonio, mentioned in his exit blog the housing survey that was conducted last year, and will be presented soon in the Town and Gown Committee of Waterloo and the City of Waterloo Council. I await the findings eagerly to better steer the direction of my advocacy on related issues.

With my Laurier counterpart again, I'll also help GRT jiggle around the bus routes in preparation for when the LRT becomes active next winter (fingers crossed).

There are also some University of Waterloo-specific topics that I want to push, such as the safety and design of Ring Road and the surrounding area, active transportation and more secure bike storage, and integration of the campus into the surrounding community. Of course, if you're passionate about a local issue, don't hesitate to shoot me a message!

There have been countless commissioners before me fighting for these issues, and I'm immensely grateful for both the steps that they have taken to make my undergraduate experience as great as it is, and the doors that they wedged open for me. It is my sincere wish to continue their work in an effective and transparent fashion.

Written by Jennifer Chen, 2017/2018 Municipal Affairs Commissioner.