From meetings to open houses, they have just one purpose: represent your interests outside of universities and faculties of engineering to make sure student life is positive. Who are they, you ask? They are the vice presidents of external affairs (VPex) of your student associations.

So what’s a VPex anyway? The answer can be found in Streng.th, which met with Adam Samson, 3rd year aerospace engineering student at Polytechnique Montreal and brand new Vice President of External Affairs of the school's Student Association.

How long have you been involved in your student association?
I was appointed Vice President of External Affairs on January 21. However, I have been involved in the organization for 10 months and was working with Jérôme Laviolette, my predecessor, on managing the external affairs of the association.

Why did you decide to take on the role of VPex?
Because I like the idea of representing students outside the school, especially with players in the academic world. As part of this position, I am in contact with many players who affect student life both directly and indirectly, such as the other national student associations, certain government bodies that work with the educational world, professional associations and organizations, including the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec, in order to get the as many advantages as possible for our students.
 
How do you work with the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec?

My role is to make sure that the OIQ continues to hear the needs of students, especially as concerns their path, from the end of school to membership in the OIQ. I distribute advertisements, and advertise the OIQ’s services. The association regularly conducts surveys on the student experience, so my role is to forward the survey results to the OIQ so that it can take student requests and needs into consideration. For example, due to the results of an engineering student survey conducted last year, my association and the Québec Confederation for Engineering Student Outreach (QCESO) worked together to ask the OIQ to support us in connection with academic reforms, particularly as concerns the teaching of ethical training. This training is important because it properly prepares engineering students to become engineers one day.
 
Is being a VPex time-consuming?

In addition to my full-time studies, I work 20 to 28 hours per week as a VPex. The job primarily consists in being in contact with students and institutions, answering requests by e-mail, and attending meetings at Poly or elsewhere. Of course, it is a completely voluntary position. As for my term of office, it is four months, because I am finishing my predecessor's term, but normally a VPex is appointed for a 12-month term.
 
How do you meet students?

Polytechnique's Student Association is very active on campus, which means that it is well known to students. Students are always welcome to visit our office, call or write to us if they want to share their problems or ideas about improving student life.
 
Adam Samson is a 3rd-year aerospace engineering student at Polytechnique Montreal.

To find out the contact information of the Vice President of External Affairs at your university or faculty in association with the OIQ, click here.