Brian Chiduuro on his time as TRUSU president

TRUSU president, Brian Chiduuro, will be passing the torch at the end of this semester

Brian Chiduuro at the TRUSU annual general meeting earlier this year. (Marcela Arévalo/The Omega)

After one term as TRUSU’s president, Brian Chiduuro says he is ready to move on. Looking back at his accomplishments, Chiduuro said that it’s a position he’ll miss, though now he wants to focus on his own personal development. The Omega caught up with Chiduuro last week to see what he’s learned and what’s next for him.

Wade Tomko: Looking back on your position as president of the students’ union, what was the greatest accomplishment for the union under your leadership?

Brian Chiduuro: I would say all of them were great accomplishments because all of them had impacts on students. For us, an accomplishment is something that benefits students. Anything that was going to benefit students or make students happy was a benefit for us.

So I believe every time that we changed something, even something really small we counted that as an accomplishment.

WT: Like the food trucks?

BC: Yeah. All of that, all of the companies which we had were really successful and they got responses for the first time in years. This year we managed to get a lot of responses, something which is never done, for example in my brother’s year or years before I even came here.

TRU used to take probably two years to reply to something, for example, parking. Parking which is a response that we got just now and I am really excited that the managers responded. This really makes me feel there is a change which I am excited about as well.

WT: A year ago when you were running for president, did you really know what you were getting into?

BC: This is what I always say, even to running candidates: “How you view it from the outside is not exactly what it is on the inside.”

WT: Why is that?

BC: Here’s the thing: at TRU I’d say the engagement, which we were running for as well, people said we were wasting our time. I always used to ask people this question: “Have you viewed the students’ union website? Have you read the Omega newspaper? Have you gone to a Facebook post? A Twitter post? All that, and then they would probably say no. So how would you know what we’re doing and all that?

We had the agenda of improving the engagement and I believe it was very successful in terms of voting, in terms of participation at events. All of that went higher this year.

Brian Chiduuro, when he was first an SAC candidate last year. (Jim Elliot/The Omega)

WT: When you became president, were you surprised by some of the responsibilities? Did you think you would have more responsibilities than you actually did in the students’ union?

BC: I believe the responsibilities were exactly what I expected. How TRU is set up is that they have more people who are there every year and they are there year after year after year and they are people that I believe are doing a great job. Like the transition from Melissa to me. The assistants as well were amazing.

The responsibilities I had, I was comfortable with them and I thought I can actually handle this. They also accommodated the fact that I was an international student as well. It was great, it was really great.

WT: So looking back, is there anything you think you could have done differently or would like to have done differently?

BC: I wish I had more time. Some of the things that you know you’re going to accomplish, they need time, like you can’t just turn it over in one day. Like when you’re going into power you can’t change something right after. But we tried to change things the best we could and this is probably the quickest it’s been.

WT: Do you think going to France last semester affected that?

BC: I believe it didn’t affect anything at all because how the students’ union is set up is giving equal opportunity to every student and TRU gives a great opportunity to study abroad. How the students’ union is set up is even after we’re gone, everything is still going perfectly.

WT: So how has your experience with TRUSU helped your own personal development?

BC: It helped me a lot, I won’t lie. Like I believe I am a better person as well. Before, when I was running, it opens up your mind. You think not just in a box, like you start to think outside the box, like it gets you the experience you need in the outside world. Like the media, working with people, understanding people’s problems and how to fix something, how to handle different situations, the emergencies, all of that. All these things, they’re things you might just say “oh they’re nothing” but after a while when you look back it’s like, “Wow that’s actually a lot.”

WT: So why aren’t you running for president with SAC again?

BC: I’m not running because I am graduating.

WT: Is that tentative? Are you graduating in December?

BC: Yeah, like if I focus then on it, I can for sure.

WT: We’ve heard from someone close to the slate that they didn’t want you to run again, they wanted a new face.

BC: Not even. It wasn’t anything like that.

WT: It was more like your own decision?

BC: Yeah. It was great, I loved my year but I don’t want to run again.

WT: So what’s your advice for the future president?

BC: Take your time to understand how everything is run first before you go with your own agenda because it is a different ball game when you are on the inside. When you’re on the outside everything seems simple but then when you’re on the inside, a lot of the work is actually done on the inside.

WT: So are you heading back home over the summer?

BC: Probably not, I’m going to stay in Kamloops because of some of the things that I learned in France, like the dance crew stuff. So, I’m going to invest a lot of time in that and school as well.

WT: I don’t know if you heard but there is a local man, Richard Kanyangu, running for president of Zimbabwe. What are your thoughts on this?

BC: Yes, I know him and yeah, I’ve got a lot of faith in him, I think he is a very good leader. Even before I ran as well, he was my mentor. I talk to him personally and he is the one who gives me advice, like sometimes how to make decisions, even like how to be a great leader as well.

He’s just a natural born leader and I believe he will bring the change to Zimbabwe that he expects because we are the people outside of the country and we are learning all these different things, so, why shouldn’t we invest them back into Zimbabwe? I’ve got trust in him.