With all votes counted, the numbers are in. The president of the Red River College Students’ Association (RRCSA) for the 2018-2019 year will be Lauren Slegers. This will be Slegers’ second year as president of the RRCSA.

Lauren Slegers has won the RRCSA elections and will serve as president for the 2018-2019 year./KALINA DENAULT

Slegers, 21, said she has always been interested in student government and was involved with her student council during high school. However, starting as president of the RRCSA was a significant change.

“[When I started] I realized how big the college really is,” said Slegers. “There are nine full campuses we reach. Realizing how many students we reach was a big shock.”

Slegers ran on a platform of inclusivity and diversity with an emphasis on destigmatizing mental illness.

One thing Slegers is most proud of from her first year is the distribution of wellness kits during Thrive Week. The kits included fun little distractions, such as bubble wrap and colouring pages with crayons.

Along with these stress relievers, the kits also included pamphlets filled with information about mental health, and listed resources where students could receive mental health care support. Slegers said that she wanted people to pick the kits up for the fun stuff, but then read the information and feel comfortable and safe getting any help they or a friend may need.

“If I could summarize my first year as president, I would say it was a year of learning,” said Slegers. “This year I want to take action.”

Slegers said that she hopes to bring more student engagement in the next year and to help make changes on a more fundamental level.

One of the events she is most excited for next year is the Wall of Debt, where students will write down how much student debt they have accrued on a postcard and then pin it to a wall to help illustrate the amount of student debt at RRC on a tangible, physical level. The postcards will later be sent to the government to make a statement about the high levels of student debt and the lack of post-secondary funding.

Slegers said the success of the student government is based on having a strong team that shares her message of inclusivity. Alex Hartung, the elected vice-president external for the 2018-2019 year, said he agrees.

“We want to create new ways for students to get involved where they feel they contribute in the way we operate, or in ideas they can bring forward to us,” said Hartung.

The one message Slegers wishes to send to the entire student body is “be engaged.”

“The best way to get the most out of your college experience is to participate,” said Slegers. “Get involved in any way you can.”

Along with Slegers and Hartung, Kelsey Gillespie was elected as vice-president academic and Joshua Roopchand was elected as vice-president internal. Like Slegers, both Gillespie and Hartung are returning to their roles from the 2017-2018 year. Roopchand will be taking the position of vice-president internal from Nikolai Bola.