By Kayla Perry, Editor-in-Chief
If you spend any time at all in the student center, you’ll definitely recognize Iain Park: at almost any given time, he can be found in the Students’ General Association (SGA) office, headphones around his neck, listening to music.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with him, here’s everything you need to know: Park is a long-time Vice President of Student life in the SGA. Not only has he served in this position for four years, but he’s also an owner of Rhythmworks, a Sudbury-based concert promotion business specializing in electronic music. This spring, he’ll graduate with honours from Laurentian University, with a major in Communication Studies and a minor in Legal Studies, and is also a successful local DJ.
First elected to the SGA in 2011, Park reminisces that he felt like “just a kid” when he was elected.
“I may have been immature, but I knew what I was doing with regards to the music and student life programming. (I was) kind of a fish out of water regarding the functionality of the association, but there were a number of conferences (I attended) that taught me a great deal about the job.”
In part, he may be most known for the concerts he’s held while acting as VP, hosting artists such as The Adventure Club, The Arkells, The Weeknd, and Tim Hicks. His Mac Miller frosh concert sold-out, with nearly 2000 tickets purchased.
When another concert, featuring the Adventure Club, had to be postponed last minute due to the band’s grounded flight, Park instead moved the party to The Grand, with Hydee headlining, and Park himself acting as opener and closer for the show, with the Adventure Club playing the following night at The TEN.
“We took in a lot of money for the association that weekend, in part because The Grand was closing and their liquor license was cancelled early by accident. This meant I had to spend basically the 24 hours leading up to the show at the South End LCBO begging them for a Special Order Permit so that we could run the bar with the SGA Liquor License. Begging included a lot of paperwork, so I learned a lot. For the record, back-to-back sold out shows on back-to-back nights,” Park recalls.
However, despite his success in this aspect of the job, Park insists that there are many other things SGA executives focus on in order to promote a functional corporation, including making tough decisions: a skill he attributes learning from his older brother, Andrew.
“I would say one of the most important things I learned was how and when to make tough decisions, decisions (that) might include people that had become your friend. My brother was an assistant coach at Carleton for the Ravens men’s soccer team (good riddance) and he taught me about (making decisions) and always looked out for me.”
When reminiscing about his favourite time in office, Park reflects on his first year in office.
“Mike Martino was the other Vice President in my first year, he was a dreamy ginger hippie and we were the best of friends. We each held each other up; he will always be fondly remembered. In all seriousness, one of the most stand-up, honest, and reasonable people I have ever met, and it was a pleasure to not only serve with him, but to be considered a close friend.”
Although he has come to cherish his time in office, Park admits that keeping the balance between school and his position in the SGA was difficult.
“(The position) it makes school 100 times more stressful. I guess that’s the hardest thing, the balancing act, and to tell you the truth it has been exhausting. If it weren’t for my close friends, and my family members I wouldn’t have made it. A support system is critical, and that goes for accessibility services as well. Family can only hear so many problems, if you’re having problems and it’s bugging you out, go talk to a counsellor, I’m happy I did.”
Regarding the incoming executive, Park maintains that team work is crucial in such a high-pressure position.
“The job has changed a lot since I started. (Now, when planning, you need to) give reasons, numbers, (and) proof of why your plan will work.. You need to be able to work with a team: this is no place for cowboys that do not want to work with their board, executive, council, or the school’s various administrative bodies.”
As for the future, Park said he’s “just trying to finish school like anyone else scheduled to graduate. I’m also looking for work: hopefully I’ll find something where I get to deal with public policy, marketing, event management, or public relations. Basically, any one of the four hats I’ve had to wear during my time at LU.”