Execution of Responsibilities: 2
Response to Criticism: 2.5
Council Relations: 2
Last year, as a presidential candidate, Tom Stevenson promised to “stand out.”
Looking back on his term, however, it is clear he did not stand out from the pack of presidents preceding him — although last year’s president Fab Dolan was admittedly a hard act to follow.
Was Stevenson a failure? Far from it. A competent and qualified president, Stevenson survived a year of big issues for the University Students’ Council: the University Community Centre renovations, Canadian Blood Services blood donation controversy, and the recent collapse of PrideWestern, to name a few.
Faced with these sensitive issues, Stevenson was diplomatic at USC meetings and knew when to hold his tongue. However, several of Stevenson’s vice-presidents –– namely David Simmonds –– were visible leaders, and often more vocal than their president.
As such, Stevenson often faded into the background at council meetings. However, this could be due in part to his being the first president to sit among the councillors, rather than at the front of the room with the speaker of council.
Stevenson was, in many ways, a “people’s president.” He made a great effort to connect with students-at-large by attending events for various campus groups and being readily available to listen to concerns.
Stevenson also fulfilled his role as spokesperson of the USC. He was a good face for the corporation due to his public-speaking abilities and personable nature.
Where Stevenson really missed the boat was in innovation. It is hard to pinpoint his personal accomplishments in the face of his board’s successes.
Yet the mark of a good leader is often their ability to delegate, and Stevenson’s greatest strength was allowing his board to thrive — even though this means he is unlikely to leave a legacy like some of his predecessors.
But we should not forget: Stevenson promised to replace that awful green soap in campus bathrooms and he did. So for that, Tom, we thank you.