Meet Your Feds Exec: Matthew Gerrits, VP Education

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Vivien Pham
Communications Assistant
Tue, 05/21/2019 - 10:15

Matthew Gerrits is no stranger to the Feds Vice President Education role - re-elected earlier this year, Gerrits will be undertaking his second term as VPEd. 

Originally from the outskirts of Sarnia, Gerrits is an undergraduate with his joint honours in Knowledge Integration and Political Science. He began his journey at the University of Waterloo when his mother encouraged him to “do big things” and sent him to Waterloo Unlimited, an enrichment program here at UWaterloo. This is when he discovered the one-of-a-kind program known as Knowledge Integration, which inspired him to study here.

Before being elected as VP Education, Gerrits delegated his time as VP Finance for both the Knowledge Integration Student Society and Environment Student Society. It was through the societies that he learned about and got involved in Feds’ Student Council and Board of Directors, as well as becoming a senator for the University of Waterloo’s senate.

Politics and student governance are his areas of expertise. However, Gerrits was also once a part of the now-disbanded engineering team Aquaponics, and is fond of pig showing and watching Twitch streams.

When election season or 2019-2020 began, Gerrits had a feeling that there was still much more that he wanted to accomplish as VPEd, and so he decided to run for a second term.

“So much of the university is a multi-year process; there are multi-year projects, and I wanted to see some of the projects I was involved in last year to an end,” he said. “Also, I find that once you’re around for a year, you start to have all these regrets about the things you didn’t start, and this was a chance to go forward. We’re gonna be talking about academic advising quality this year; this is something I didn’t get around to sparking conversations on last year – but, maybe this year.”

Gerrits also plans to continue to follow up with the co-op fee review from two years ago and ensure that the government’s recently announced additional mental health funding is spent on students.

“[University is] a very formative time for people’s mental health; when mental health issues tend to crop up for the first time it’s really in this age range," he said. "I know a lot of people who feel like they’re in a pressure cooker, and I think a big goal for the University as well as for the [Feds executives] is to try and make sure that university is less stressful and brings on a lot less of the symptoms of people’s mental illnesses.”

When the new team transitioned into office on May 1, Gerrits reminisced about all the inside jokes that he would have to toss out the window from the previous year. He’s committed to creating new ones, but more importantly, he’s committed to spending another year caring for student needs with three other inspiring Feds’ executives who are excited for the work they will be taking on this year.

If students have issues they feel that Feds can be advocating better on, your VP Education Matthew Gerrits can be reached at vped@feds.ca, (519) 888-4567 x32340, or in SLC 2118G.