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Richard Wu
President, Federation of Students
Mon, 01/28/2019 - 15:45

Written by Richard Wu, Federation of Students President

As students ourselves, we entirely understand that student life can be wild; elections, on the other hand, don’t have to be. Here’s a quick breakdown of all of the student leadership positions that you’ll have the opportunity to help fill with the next generation of student leaders in the upcoming weeks:


Four elected positions that run the day-to-day operations of the Federation of Students, and, as a team, oversees clubs, student-run societies, faculty societies, ensures the health of the Federation’s finances and commercial operations, advocates for you to the University, City of Waterloo, Province of Ontario, and to the Federal Government, and ensures that your voice on campus is heard.


As the Chief Executive Officer and primary spokesperson of the Federation of Students, the President is responsible for representing the undergraduate membership of the University of Waterloo to the University Senate, Board of Governors, and to a number of University committees. Within Feds, the President frequently collaborates with and serves as a resource to the other executives, and is also responsible for overseeing all aspects of student government, including General Meetings, Elections, and Referenda. Externally, the President  frequently advocates, in collaboration with the Vice President Education, to the Provincial and Federal Governments on undergraduate student issues.


  • “The diplomat”
  • Sits on a plethora of committees, and represents your interests to the UW Senate and Board of Governors
  • Frequently collaborates with the other executives and serves as a resource to the rest of the team
  • Ensures that all items relating to governance, including referenda, elections, and general meetings, run smoothly

Vice President Student Life

The VP Student Life oversees and provides support to each of the Federation’s student-run services, to student-run clubs on campus, and handles the accountability of student societies representing students from each of Waterloo’s faculties, University Colleges and Satellite Campuses. The VP Student Life also works with each of Waterloo’s the Satellite Campuses to ensure that students are connected to the main campus, with University departments to improve campus wellness and student life programs on campus, and frequently runs a number of special events throughout the year that promotes student wellness and student life.


  • “The advocate”
  • Oversees student-run services, clubs
  • Liases and handles accountability of the student Societies
  • Works with campus departments throughout the year to promote student health and wellness on campus and run (the best) events on campus

Vice President Education

The VP Education gets the opportunity to work with the University on almost everything, from co-op to classroom design, from funding priorities to promoting free textbooks. The VP Education also gets to work with a team of both full-time staff and part-time student staff to conduct research, write policy and advocate to the University and beyond. The VP Education gets to help set the conversation around provincial lobbying for the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance, and participates in lobby weeks both at Queen’s Park and on Parliament Hill.


  • “The strategist”
  • Advocates to the University, city, Province and to the (actual) feds to ensure that you receive the highest quality educational experience possible; this also includes ensuring quality of:
    • Co-op
    • Tuition and textbooks
    • Teaching quality
  • Assists undergraduates in navigating University policies, and procedures, and appeals processes

Vice President Operations & Finance

The VP Operations & Finance is responsible for all administrative and financial matters of the Federation of Students, overseeing the development and maintenance of budgets, all matters of human resources, and the current and future direction of Feds’ commercial operations, including Feds Used Books, Maker’s Kitchen, and International News, to name a few. The VPOF is also the Executive in charge of negotiating the UPass agreement, and maintaining the Federation’s Student Health & Dental Plan.


  • “The treasurer”

  • Keeps the lights on

  • Ensures Human Resources and Financial Matters are in order

  • Oversees all Feds commercial operations, including iNews, Maker’s Kitchen, and Feds Used Books

  • Oversees the Student Health & Dental Plan, and negotiates the UPass agreement with GRT


Students’ Council is a representative body composed of student leaders representing all faculties, satellite campuses, and two of the four University Colleges at uWaterloo. Students serving on Council represent the voices of their faculty peers, and is a vehicle through which undergraduates are able to voice their concerns and keep the Board of Directors and Executive accountable.

Distinct from the Board of Directors, which oversees and mitigates financial, HR, and legal risk to the Federation, Students’ Council establishes and amends the policies and procedures of the Federation. Council also has a number of subcommittees, which delve deeper into specific portfolios, projects and files, with subcommittees that specifically discuss co-op affairs, policies & procedures, and assists the VP Student Life with the oversight of student-run clubs and services.

TL;DR A body composed entirely of undergraduate students whose role is to represent their faculty, satellite campus, and University College peers in debate and discussions on issues that affect the entire undergraduate student body at Waterloo.


Student Senators elected in the Feds General Elections sit monthly with University Administrators, Faculty, and Staff, and discuss all issues relating to academic quality, the granting of degrees, the setting of program requirements, and the approval of academic regulations. An example of a recent topic of debate at the University Senate includes the extension of a previous 3-day fall break pilot to a full-week fall break pilot.

TL;DR A University committee composed of students, faculty, staff, and University Administration, including the University President, whose role is to discuss and debate all issues pertaining to academic quality at Waterloo.