VP Student Events Candidate Interviews

With Team Litchfield taking up 3 of the allotted 6 positions on the University Student’s Council Executive and the VP Finance and VP Communications positions moving to a hiring process, the last remaining position to be elected is Vice President Student Events. With the election being held among council members this Saturday, we wanted to provide some information as to the candidates running for VPSE.

You CAN reach out to your elected representatives and the candidates themselves if you have any questions about their platforms or visions for the incoming year.

Check out what the candidates had to say here:


Thomas Argent

thomas

4th Year Bachelor of Music Honours Specialization in Music Education

You can read Thomas’ platform here.

Or follow him on Twitter and check out more information on his Facebook page.

 1.What’s one platform point you want highlight and expand on?
A More Cohesive Event Culture: I want to make sure that faculty councils and clubs feel like they are being supported by the USC in their specific initiatives. By holding regular VPSE Roundtables councils across campus will be able to check in with each other on different events that are going on as well as help each other with different problems that may be arising. By doing this I will be able to make myself more accessible and approachable so that VPSE’s feel like they are being supported and feel like they can come to me when they are having any difficulties.

Furthermore I want to help support councils and clubs to work together when they are planning events to help avoid redundancy, ensure that events across are reaching more students, and allowing students to realize the different organizations on campus throughout the year.

Many students identify with their faculties specifically, so supporting faculties is of the utmost importance. This includes ensuring that the USC Executives are showing their support by being present at faculty initiatives as well as being present at faculty council meetings to relay information about what the USC is doing so that representatives are getting the information to pass on to their constituents.

2. Why are you running?
I’m running for the position of VPSE so that I can help to make Western more of a community, and I want to make sure that what I do in my term will be able to be passed on to VPSEs to come. Being from a smaller faculty I have felt a disconnect between the USC and faculty councils, and I don’t want our organizations on campus to feel like they are alone. I would love to see more collaboration between different student groups on campus as well as allow them to feel supported by the USC. I believe that my platform has some concrete and achievable long term goals, like a USC Programming App and advocating for environmental sustainability, that will be able to be worked on in years to come so that we are ensuring that the best student experience is set up for years to come.

3. If you had an unlimited budget for one event, what would the event be/include?
The idea of an unlimited budget is really exciting. If I could, I would love to hold an outdoor music festival across campus with stages in various locations like UC Hill, Huron, TD Stadium etc. with various artists of various styles playing throughout the day. Having different stages dedicated to certain styles of music would be really cool so that ideally there would be something for everyone. Although this is extremely unrealistic, how cool would it be if Western hosted the next Bonnaroo or Coachella style music festival?!

4. If you could eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be, and why?
Tacos, because tacos are amazing and Taco Bell is the best fast-food restaurant on the planet.

Danielle Lillico 

danielle8pp

4th Year Major in Criminology Minor in French

You can read more of Danielle’s platform here.
You can also follow her on Twitter and check out her Facebook event for more information!
1. What’s one platform point you want highlight and expand on?
I think an interesting point on my platform is taking a look at the   “get out to vote” process. With the federal elections coming up, I think getting students out to vote is more important than ever. Students are often seen as an apathetic audience to federal election candidates. They aren’t seen as important individuals in the voting process. This is definitely not true, students have a lot to say about what is going on in our country and I want to work to change this image. Many students want to be engaged in the process but need the tools to do so. I want to incorporate clubs into the “get out to vote” process. We have incredibly dedicated politically driven individuals on campus that have ties to the community and strong political ties. I believe it is important to work with these students to prove to candidates, that students are an important and engaged group of people, who should be listened to. Through our political clubs, I believe that we will be able to bring a debate on to campus and it will be a huge success.
2. Why are you running?
My reason for running evolves every day. When I began thinking about running, my reason was because I believed I had the most relevant experience within the student events portfolio and that I would be able to put students best interests first. I felt like I had a really strong understanding of what is lacking in the portfolio and I had the ideas on how to fix them. Although this is all still true, I have discovered how many more reasons to run. I am always ready to learn and evolve, I have extensive relevant experience, but I can’t even pretend to know everything. I have met with coordinators, club executives, councillors and students who have shared their frustrations and expectations with me. I don’t take these lightly and I am running to work to address their issues and concerns. I have always been passionate about helping students get the most out of their time at western and I am ready to work tirelessly to ensure students are getting everything they possible can from their students’ council.
3. If you had an unlimited budget for one event, what would the event be/include?
I would love to see a Western version of the ex, with rides and games and food galore. There would be all kinds of cool food trucks with really interesting and unique food options. Finally for entertainment there would be a huge concert with Taylor Swift, Beyonce and Jay Z, because I mean who would not go to that.
4. Who would win in a fight (and why), tacos or grilled cheese?
Wow, umm, this one is tough, but I am going to have to go with grilled cheese. Tacos are breakable and messy and stuff falls out, but grilled cheese really has its self together. Its got the gooey cheese that helps keep it together, but could also be used as a super sticky weapon. I just think the grilled cheese would be able to break the taco up and hold it down. #teamgrilledcheese

 

Taryn Scripnick

Taryn Scripnick for Vice President Student Events

5th year Brescia student – Double Major in French Studies and Family Studies.

You can read Taryn’s platform here.

You can also follow Taryn on Twitter or check out her Facebook page for more info!

1. What’s one platform point you want highlight and expand on?
One platform point I want to highlight and expand on is what I hope to do for clubs if elected. Clubs have a ton of rules to follow and this can make it difficult to actually be a club. I want to simplify the process. By working with the Clubs Governance Committee we can figure out if there are redundancies or similar rules that we can remove or change. On top of simplifying the process, I want to make clubs week more accessible for students and easier for clubs. In the summer, I would like to work with the Clubs Coordinator to figure out various categories the clubs could be placed. We would send these categories to the clubs and they would choose which one works best for them. Then during Clubs Week, we would group each club based on their category choice. By also creating a map of the space to indicate where each club would be located students will be able easily access a club rather then wandering around until something caught their eye. Clubs can also then attract students who otherwise would not know about them with all the clubs scattered around.

2. Why are you running?
I decided to run for this position because I am very attached to the events portfolio.
I have had the opportunity to soph, work on the Charity Ball Executive, be a President of a affiliate council and be a member of OPC. Through these experiences I believe I can support this portfolio and recognize areas of improvement that could benefit our students at large.

3. If you had an unlimited budget for one event, what would the event be/include?
I have been at Western for 5 years now and one of the best events I have experienced is the One Love Rally that takes place during Orientation Week. If I had an unlimited budget, I would want to have a week very similar to the One Love Rally Event. The week would showcase the various services and programs at Western such as the Peer Support Network, the Women Issue’s Network. We would bring in speakers like Laverne Cox or performers like Justin Hines to discuss issues they have experienced. Having speakers with an amazing message would benefit all students. I believe this week would be about empowering students, educating them and making them feel safe and at home at Western. No matter the number of years they have been here.

4. If you could add an item to the Spoke menu, what would it be and why?
If I could add an item to the Spoke menu, I think I would want to add some different types of sides to the menu. Sweet Potato Fries or a super cheesy Mac & Cheese!
If I couldn’t have these I would love to add some more veggie options to the menu like a veggie burger!

Huron VP University Affairs Candidates Profiles

Ever since making our trip to the Beaver Dam, we can’t seem to shake how amazing Huron’s Student Council truly is. This year, members of Huron Council reached out to it’s students to find out what truly mattered during Huron Talks and is pushing plans through to expand their library!

Want to know how Huron council operates? Check out an overview here.

Listed below are your candidates for VP University Affairs:


Huron VP University Affairs Candidates:

Matthew Patterson

You can read Matthew’s platform here.

 

Stephen Rogers

 

Third Year / Political Sciences

You can find Stephen’s platform here.

What’s one platform point you want to highlight and expand on?

I am extremely passionate about working with Huron’s administration to bring a fitness facility to Huron’s campus. All of Western University’s  residences, as well as King’s and Brescia have fitness facilities, leaving Huron as the only University College/Residence without one. This is both a recruitment issue and an issue of health, wellness and convenience for Huron students. I have been dedicated over the past two years to working through the HUCSC to help fund a fitness facility with the partnership of Huron’s administration and alumni. If elected I will work to ensure more work is done to ensure the creation of a well-built, properly equipped fitness facility for Huron students to use. It is also extremely important that students vote in the election so that they can vote YES/NO on the ballot question regarding whether or not the HUCSC should assist in funding the fitness facility. Before the HUCSC spends money on gym equipment we need to make sure that it is something students actually want!

Why are you running?

I’m running because I want to stand up for the interests and concerns of students at Huron. I want to bring much-needed change to the VP University Affairs position and portfolio so that its sole focus is reaching out to students and then properly advocating for their concerns to Huron’s administration.  I believe that my council experience, my hard-working and dedicated attitude, and my platform make me the best candidate for the job.

What would your perfect day consist of?

My perfect day would consist of traveling somewhere I’ve never been to before. I love exploring new places!

 

Voting ends TODAY at 8pm and you can vote online here. So Huron students, speak up and vote on who you want to represent you! 


King’s (KUCSC) VP Candidates Profiles

After witnessing the pure passion and dedication at the King’s University Student Council Presidential Debates, we wanted to know more about the amazing things that KUCSC offers and all the students involved with it. Since VP elections were approaching, we felt that it was a great chance to do some coverage of how affiliate councils operate and how they serve students!

Want to know more about King’s Council? Visit their website.

Listed below are your candidates for VP Events and VP Student Issues: 



VP Events:

Frank Inglis 

poster1

@FrankInglis 

Program: Honors Double Major in Criminology and French

You can read more about Frank and student testimonials on his website!

Frank’s platform can be found here.

I think the platform point I am most excited about is bringing “Careers and Coffee” to King’s with the help of our Dean of Students and the Alumni Affairs office here at King’s! A chance for students to network and see what kinds of employment opportunities are out there for someone graduating with a liberal arts degree.

I am running for the Position of VP Events because I have seen first hand how amazing events can have an impact on student life here on campus, it is my goal to make our events even better than they have been already, focusing on communicating and marketing them better to our students as well as supporting our students to ensure that all events are accessible to all students.

My dream job sounds dumb but I would love to be Beyoncé personal assistant. I am a highly organized and scheduled-oriented person and being able to use those skills for a legend like her would honestly mean I could die happy. :)

Becky Quinn

@queblonde

 

VP Student Issues:

Miranda Consorti

Year and Program: Third Year doing a double major in Criminology and Childhood and Social Institutions
@mirconsorti

Miranda’s Platform can be accessed here!

What’s one platform point you want highlight and expand on?

Awareness Weeks

Having a strong student body means that we can work collaboratively to make a huge impact not only on our King’s campus, but on the world too. That’s why it’s important that we need to work together to have our voices united on issues that we the students feel are important to us.

Nationally, almost every “day” and “week” in the calendar year has been designated for one or multiple causes ranging from things like “Breast Cancer Awareness Week“ to “ Hug Your Cat Day!” While there are many worthy causes out there, I feel we need to do an audit of what current awareness weeks we celebrate at King’s and have a full review of these with student input in choosing where we want to focus our efforts in the coming school year. That is why your input is so important, not only for choosing which weeks we want to promote, but also what activities we can do to celebrate each one to help raise awareness for issues that are important to YOU. This is another way that the new “Student Issue Teams” can help have your voices heard through one-on-one meetings, hosting information sessions, conducting surveys and by manning various booths set up throughout campus.

Why are you running?

My passion for King’s is to help make our student experience a positive one; not only by helping promote the academic excellence that is offered here, but also by making myself available to help serve students’ diverse social and emotional needs too. I think that there is a wealth of support that is already offered at King’s that many students are not even aware of. We need to better promote the social supports that already exist, while enhancing these with further benefits and ideas, not just those of my own, but from what I have heard from you the students during my time at King’s.

What is your favorite study spot in London?

Upstairs of the Student Life Center at King’s! The view of campus is beautiful.

 

Travis Tetreault

@VoteTravisVPSI

Year and Program: 2nd year studying Thanatology and Sexuality Studies

You can read more about Travis on his website.
Want to read Travis’ platform? You can find it here!

What’s one platform point you want highlight and expand on?

Out of my platform points, I would like to highlight my idea to bring together “Student Leaders” and unify their efforts! While this generally refers to first year success, it is applicable to the entire King’s Community! My idea is simple, to bring representatives from every Support Group on campus ( from Sophs, to Resident Assistants, to International peer guides) together to work as a unified team to provide the best student experience! I want to ensure all of these groups are connected and value each others contribution to the success of King’s! This will be the stepping stones to a unified approach to welcoming first year students as well as fully supporting them while at King’s!

Why are you running?

I choose to run for Vice President of Student Issues with the King’s University College Student Council for many reasons, but most importantly, I ran because of my passion for King’s and the Students, Faculty, and Administration that make it such a great Institution! I plan to turn my passion into action to enhance the Student experience through advocating for students, connecting key services, and most importantly, working for YOU! The students!

If you could be any animal, which animal would you be and why?

If I could be any animal I would want to be a giraffe! I think its super cool that their tongues are dark purple and given their height, they can see the world from a unique perspective!

 


Voting for KUSUC takes place between March 4th 8:00am – March 5th until 8:00pm and will be followed by the results at 8:30pm that day in the KUCSC Boardroom KC214A/B.

Students can also vote at the voting booth located at the King’s Connection (main floor, SLC) both days from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM.


We too, are with the Marching Band

This past week, we’ve seen a slew of endorsements for both slates from various clubs and political figures and as usual we were feeling left out. This year, deVOTEd has decided to endorse someone as well…

*drumroll please*

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We have chosen to endorse the Western Marching Band referendum!   This referendum asks if students would approve a $0.50 increase to their student fees to help fund the Western Marching Band. Unlike other schools, Western’s Marching Band currently gets no funding support from the USC or Western. They continue to be awesome purely on their own finances and grants, which isn’t sustainable.

A $0.50 fee increase is about:

– 1/3 of a Spoke Coffee
– 1/10 of your cover at some bar
– 1/170 of that course pack or textbook you bought

– and 100% worth the impact it will have on the students within this community. As much as one supports this cause through Facebook or in spirit, what they need is your vote. A 20% voter turnout is needed for a referendum to pass – last year we only had 19.6%. Should you choose to vote and vote yes for this referendum, you will be making a small but valuable difference in your community.

In typical deVOTEd fashion, we endorse the you – the voters – to vote February 10th and 11th, and keep the Marching Band in mind as you do so – after all the show must go on…

#ImWithTheBand

Team Sophie Commentary

TL;DR the slates platforms?  We got you covered. Want a second opinion? See what The Gazette had to say and for a more balanced perspective also check out what we said about Team Litchfield. Check out what we had to say about Team Sophie’s platform:

Learning

Strongest Platform Point: Focus on experiential learning
The Student Success Center has an entire team dedicated to increasing experiential learning opportunities on campus, so why not utilize them? Team Sophie sees this valuable resource as a way to enhance our learning quality, and so do we.

Weakest Platform Point: Advocate for Undergraduate Students to be on Tenure Board

If we are concerned with teaching quality, there are better avenues to address these issues. We believe that using the strong relations that faculty councils have developed with their administrators would act as a better medium in which students can voice their concerns. Or maybe the USC should look into ways that they can be more supportive to faculty councils and their approaches to teaching quality?

Most Underrated platform point: Course syllabus enhancement
How has this platform point manage to slip away during debates? Of course, putting resource information for mental health services on campus within a syllabus doesn’t tackle the root of the issue, but it will make the information more accessible for students, which is a wonderful first step.

Most Unrealistic Platform Point: Moving Fall Reading Week to Thanksgiving
We really hope does happen (eventually), but it took too long for fall reading break to happen in the first place. We’ll probably see pumpkin spice lattes back at Starbucks before we see this – we hope the slates prove us wrong.

Campus Life

Strongest Platform Point: Improving Food Options
Team Sophie is committed to providing a variety of food options available on campus (vegans and vegetarians rejoice!) and also expanding the menus to feature dishes from across the world. We ranked this as a strong platform point due to the high volume of students that year after year have asked the Wave/Spoke to provide a few more vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free options… and were met with new menu items that included food they want to avoid.

Weakest Platform Point: Reassess Spoke Service
We admire Team Sophie’s desire to make the Spoke more environmentally friendly with the idea of reusable dishes. All we can foresee is the Spoke running into the same issues that many Residences run into – begging students to bring back dishes at the end of the year.

Most Underrated Platform Point: Foodfest!
It benefits students by providing programming that appeals to a wide variety of the student body, features local London restaurants (giving back to the city), and has the ability to maybe convince some students to leave the Western bubble to try out their new fav dish!

Community Advocacy

Strongest Platform Point: LTC
It wouldn’t be a USC election unless a candidate brought up the LTC. We’ve all been left waiting or driven past which makes a functioning, reliable, and frequent LTC crucial for students.

Weakest Platform Point: LTC
Yes, this is a huge issue for students but LTC is one of the lowest funded transit systems. The USC has no direct purview over the LTC, we just happen to have the largest ridership in the city and hold a seat on the LTC board for advocating purposes. We are essentially just a big stakeholder. We question what changes can truly be made next year to the transit system without increasing student fees but appreciate the slate’s dedication to advocating for better service.

Most Underrated Platform Point: Growing Early Outreach
This is a simple step that will open the doors of opportunity for more participants and volunteers to experience this conference.

Most Unrealistic Platform Point: Restorative Justice Ticketing
We are a little confused as to how Team Sophie plans on bringing this into court systems. Instead of restorative justice, why not a more proactive approach?  Continue the efforts of Team Helfand with The London Police Commission to foster understanding and empathy between students and police within London.

Wellness

Strongest Platform Point: President’s Commission on Mental Wellness

Engaging students in the discussion to better mental wellness on campus through a collaborative and multi-dimensional approach such as this is a wonderful idea to gain diverse solutions and recommendation to bettering student wellness on campus. We believe that by creating a report it will ensure that advocating efforts do not end that year and can foster the success of long-term goals.

Weakest Platform Point: Mental Health Map on OWL

While we believe that any advocacy efforts and increase of accessibility of mental health resources for students are necessary efforts, we believe this a weak platform point because OWL has a reputation for crashing and therefore, would leave students unable to access this service. We love the idea of it but believe the implementation would need more work.

Most Underrated Platform Point: Exam accomodation for Mental Wellness grounds
One of the most innovative solutions in regards to mental health wellness is their commitment to advocating for students to be able to accommodate exams on mental wellness grounds. Here at devoted we are intimately aware of the lack of control students can face when trying to manage their mental wellbeing and this a crucial step in beginning to resolve mental health issues and stigma on campus.

Most Unrealistic Platform Point: Amend the 3 in 23 exam policy
We believe that the advocacy efforts are totally obtainable but a change in the policy seems unrealistic to occur within the school year.

Student Engagement 

Strongest Platform Point: Reintroduce Involvement Compass with campus partners
Western has over 150+ clubs on campus, it can be overwhelming when trying to figure out how to get involved on campus.  Team Sophie suggests that, like Tinder, students can find their extra-curricular involvement “match”. This tool will encourage students to find more opportunities that best cater to them as well as increase their involvement on campus. We swipe right to this platform point!

Weakest Platform Point: Online constituent surveys
Great intentions for expanding student feedback, but is this a realistic solution? It doesn’t tackle the root issue of needing to hold elected representatives accountable, gathering diverse student feedback, and the need to engage students that are outside of the USC.

Most Underrated Platform Point: Collaborative Vision Statements
We love this idea because it re-enforces one of the only strengths of the slate system — a unified vision. This has the potential to help long-term plans develop because incoming VPs would have access to previous vision statements which they can use to guide the direction of the USC.

and….

Executive Schedules
The slate wants the executive schedules to be available to students upon request. This gives students the opportunity to hold their elected representatives accountable and ensure that what they set out to do will be accomplished. This adds to transparency between the USC and the rest of Western.

Most Unrealistic Platform Point: Weekly Residence Visits
We admire Team Sophie’s desire to improve lines of communication between first year students and the USC, but we question the practicality of this one. With an extensive platform that has such a diverse focus, we just don’t see where the executives would have time to drop in on residences once a week.

Team Litchfield Commentary

If you think our commentary is long, try reading their platforms! Want a second opinion? Check out The Gazette’s platform analysis for this slate. For a balanced perspective, have a look at our Team Sophie Commentary.

Empowering You – aka Student Experience

Strongest Point: Putting in place mandate contingency plans for all outdoor and weather-sensitive programming (O-Week). This is more than just making sure events go on without a hitch, it also creates learning opportunities for event coordinators on how to mitigate risks. He also plans to continue Helfand’s initiatives such as HOCO on campus and Beer Fest (with a Wine Fest and Foodtruck option too).

Weakest Point: Providing support services and programming to help with the Second Year Transition, like having a soft second year student caucus that acts as a focus group for identifying areas of concern for second year students.

We need a president not a parent. It is true that the second year transition is tougher than other years (if you’re moving off residence, learning to cook, etc.) but there are services on campus already (UWO Housing) that help ease this transition. We don’t need a focus group to advocate for new supports.

Most Underrated Platform Point: Spoke To Go. This involves moving security check past the Spoke Café so late night take-out food is possible without having to go through security/ID checks. But one has to wonder if this is even an issue now, can’t you just say you only want food and they’ll let you go?

Most Unrealistic Platform Point: Working with the AVP Student Events to get mental health first aid training to professors, TAs, and staff members. Intentions are good, but you have no control over faculty members. The USC could maybe make a suggestion at most.

Special Mention: Team Litchfield has many points about environmental leadership that include ideas such as access to specialized recycling during peak periods (i.e. Move-out) and increased awareness of environmental initiatives already offered (i.e. composting).

Reaching Out to You – aka Communication initiatives

Strongest Point: Council Transparency. Making it easier for regular students to know what the USC is doing by releasing meeting agendas earlier and afterward, publishing a “Sparknotes” version of meeting minutes in an accessible area. Maybe you’re into it, maybe you aren’t, but if you suddenly find a desire to understand what your USC is doing this information will be available.

This point is also followed by another one on Financial Transparency so you can find out how your $700 (approx.) USC fee is spent.

Weakest Point: Commissioning an initiative to evaluate website accessibility and navigability…with all this talk about the USC website on platforms every year you think something would change by now.

Most Underrated Platform Point: Scrapping the Slate System. There have been many critics of this system and how it reduces candidate diversity. Let’s also not forget how voter turnout has slowly declined since its inception. It was a good test run, but it’s time to move on.

Most Unrealistic Platform Point: Western-wide Pod Group…the previous idea of Pod for clubs made sense, but this is just unrealistic. The utility of this idea is just not clear.

Representing You – aka advocacy to Western/London/Ontario

Strongest Point: Increase lobbying efforts for grant money from the provincial government relating to the $9 million recently announced for mental health. The strongest part of this point is the awareness of what our provincial government is doing.

Weakest Point: Positive Media Portrayals. This involves creating a media relations position in the USC responsible for highlighting student success in the media and generating more positive publicity. But that’s all it sounds like – publicity. This PR stunt is supposed to improve community relations?

Most Underrated Platform Point: Preventive measures for bike theft, such as security cameras on popular bike racks and information campaigns about the best locking practices.

Most Unrealistic Platform Point: Student Donation Fund freedom. This point advocates for faculty councils to have more control over how the money is spent, but this can’t be enforced by the USC. Each faculty council and their respective dean determines what happens to this fund, but the USC can still make suggestions.

Internal Platform

Strongest Point: Creating a “Safe Space” at the Rec Centre by offering beginner classes that cover things such as proper weight training and form.

Weakest Point: Better signage for vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, but no actually increase of vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free options.

Most Underrated Platform Point: Giving music students an opportunity to be opening acts for big performances on campus…hopefully this extends to all students too.

Most Unrealistic Platform Point: Creating a centralized resource directory – hasn’t this been the case for years now? When did websites become the new band-aids?

External Platform

Strongest Point: An advocacy awareness campaign that will inform students what exactly their VP External is advocating for, including what their schedule is. Careful though, information is not the same as engagement.

Weakest Point: Civic Engagement Coordinator, a new role in the External portfolio focused on helping students become more engaged with their community. But isn’t that what the new LYAC Western reps are for?

Most Underrated Platform Point: Maintaining police relations. Team Litchfield plans to continue the relationship with the London Police Service built by the Helfand slate. The commitment to increased understanding and empathy between the two parties is a solid platform goal.

Most Unrealistic Platform Point: 7 Day garbage collection. Although nice in theory, this affects more than just students. When this was proposed in 2013, London council estimated it would cost $700,000 to $1.3 million annually to make the switch, and given the economic standing of London, this is not a priority.

USC Slate Interviews 2015

We reached out to the slates and asked them a couple of questions. If you haven’t been able to make it to the debate, hopefully you can compare their answers here – or check out our post about the debate Twitter highlights.


Team Sophie

Platform

Presidential Candidate – Sophie Helpard
3rd Year, Political Science

1. What’s one platform point you want highlight and expand on?
One platform point I would like to highlight is the President’s Commission on Mental Wellness. While Team Sophie has produced many initiatives to start improving the state of mental wellness resources on campus, I believe we also need to dig deeper into this issue. If elected, I will begin a comprehensive review of support services on campus. This will include meeting with University stakeholders and hearing personal stories from students who want to share their experiences. The goal of this Commission is to produce recommendations to start solving the problems in a proactive manner. This Commission mirrors one recently done by Janice Deakin, the University Provost and VP Academic It is the time for the USC to also take a comprehensive look at something that affects so many of us.

2. Why are you running?
I am running because throughout my time at Western, I have experienced a lot of things on this campus, both good and bad. I have had the opportunity to devote time to working for students in order to help affect their experiences in a positive manner. I want to continue working for the students on this campus to improve their interactions with the USC, Western, and the entire community around them. I am fortunate enough to have worked alongside the USC, learned the goals and opportunities for change this organization provides, and have done so without dedicating all of my energy into the “politics” of it. I want to continue down this path – working for students – alongside Lindsee and Alex to make it easier to be a student.

3. Fun! What’s your favourite place to study on campus?
My favourite study spot on campus is a booth in The Wave. I love hiding in a booth, ordering a nice sandwich, and knocking out an essay. This environment works best for my study habits, regardless of what time of day it is!

VP External Candidate – Lindsee Perkins
4th year MOS with HR specialization

1. What’s one platform point you want highlight and expand on?
Restorative Justice is one of the focus points of the external portfolio. Restorative Justice is an educational program that provides students with options when they have committed an offence in the city. Research shows that taking positive steps, such as community work, to address an offence is more effective than paying for it financially. This program is in its infancy, but can develop during my term. I plan to work with the Police, the London Judicial System, and other city partners to develop this program that will benefit both students and London.

2. Why are you running?
I’m a student who likes helping students. The roles I have taken on throughout my university career led me to the realization that this is a passion of mine. I have worked in many portfolios within the USC, but I have the strongest connection to the external portfolio, especially municipal relations. I’m running because I want to do more and better the student experience on a greater scale. I was also fortunate enough to have found two other candidates who have similar visions and goals for the USC, which makes it the perfect time to run.

3. Fun! What’s your Spoke order?
Chicken fingers tossed in Honey Garlic sauce

VP Internal Candidate – Alex Benac
4th Year Media, Theory and Production

1. What’s one platform point you want highlight and expand on?
Experiential learning. At a time when universities are facing mounting competition from colleges whose experiences are predicated on giving students opportunities to “learn by doing,” Western’s focus needs to shift to accommodate student aspirations for their education. Dr. Chakma said it himself — the importance of experiential learning at Western University cannot be overstated. Integrating practical components into lecture-based courses is proven to improve retention, learning outcomes, and arguably most importantly, the student experience! Students have repeatedly expressed interest in being able to apply what they learn in the classroom to a “real-life” scenario, which is exactly what experiential opportunities do. By partnering with existing infrastructure like The Student Success Centre’s experiential learning team, the USC can promote a broader culture of engaged, hands-on learning at Western that will give students a more well-rounded experience.

2. Why are you running?
I’m running for Vice-President Internal because the people I have met over the past four years have inspired me more than anything else I’ve ever encountered. Western has been my school, workplace, and home, and in the time that I’ve been here, the people with whom I share this campus have given me the incredible honour of being able to hear their stories. Some are the very best of experiences, and unfortunately, some are the very worst. I have dedicated the last two years of my university experience to serving my fellow students, and faced with graduation, I cannot in good conscience walk away from a system that I know in my heart I can help fix. If I did walk away without so much as trying to participate in a conversation about what the University Students’ Council needs to do for students in the future, I might not regret it immediately — but I know I would regret it eventually. I feel I would be personally remiss if I heard these incredible stories and walked away from them. I passionately believe that Sophie, Lindsee, and I are a team that can build on the success of the past and use them to shape better student experiences in the future.

3. Fun! Who would win in a fight, taco or grilled cheese?
Grilled cheese. It’s simple and to the point.

 

Team Litchfield

Platform

Presidential Candidate – Jack Litchfield
4th Year Political Science

 1. What’s one platform point you want highlight and expand on?
I want to highlight my HOCO 2.0 platform point. Homecoming is a staple in the Western student experience. As a former varsity fencer I am very keen on this great tradition continuing. We have great potential for excellent on campus programming. I will make this happen by teaming up with entertainment companies and the university to give Western the homecoming it deserves.

2. Why are you running?
My time at Western has been a truly amazing experience. I want to give back to this school and make sure future students can have an equally amazing experience at Western. I have been involved in student organizations for the entirety of my time at Western. Through these experiences I have gained a great understanding of student issues on campus. I am running because I believe I can make a difference in students’ everyday lives. I am running because I want to have a positive impact on as many people as possible.

3. What/Where is your favorite study space?
Under a tree on UC Hill. Sure this is a seasonal spot but it still takes the cake. When I was choosing universities I was ultimately sold on Western’s beautiful campus. Four years later it still blows me away. It maybe not the most productive study spot but it’s definitely my favourite.

VP External Candidate – Richard Sookraj
MIT and Political Science, Year 4

 1. What’s one platform point you want highlight and expand on?
Active Partnerships is an underlining theme throughout a lot of my external platform. I am a firm believer that in order to best represent students we need to build up our external relationships by being more visible in the community and seeking out the opportunity to collaborate with groups around us. Through doing this, achieving many of our advocacy goals becomes much more feasible.

2.Why are you running?
Western has given me a lot. From leadership opportunities to lifelong friendships this campus has equipped me to tackle the challenges that are ahead. I am running so that I can give back to a community that has given me so much. I believe that, along with my teammates, further enhancing the undergraduate student experience is possible and I’d be honoured for the chance to do so before closing this chapter in my life.

3. What is your Spoke order?
Jalapeño cheddar BLT bagelwich with a medium coffee: skim milk, two sugars and cinnamon (thanks for bringing it back Helfand!)

VP Internal Candidate – Dilani Logan

1. What’s one platform point you want to highlight and expand on?
Mental health is a huge priority and issue on campus. Unfortunately, I can’t promise that wait times will vanish or all students will be completely rid of their mental health issues. However, I can spotlight mental health as a priority during my time as VP Internal. Through tangible, simple steps, I want to give students who are struggling supports to get them through the tough times.

Through services such as the Student Assistance Program and the Soft Transition Program, I want to make sure students are able to find out where to turn when they need help, and most importantly, that they get to those places. Furthermore, I want to expand the focus from helping students in crisis to helping students before they reach crisis. I plan to do this by better marketing the Peer Support Centre as somewhere students can turn when they are having a bad day or need someone to talk to. It is important to ensure that students know that no problem is inadequate, and at Western, there is always someone who will be there for you. Through engaging all of the USC in peer-to-peer marketing strategies, as opposed to the standard poster and Facebook pages, we can all play a part in making sure that EVERY student knows that they are valued and that they matter.

2. Why are you running?
Running for USC was not something I had anticipated ever doing. However, now that I am running, I’m surprised it didn’t cross my mind earlier. From the time I was in elementary school, I have always been involved with student council, including throughout my time at Western.

When I first looked into the role of Vice President Internal, I was drawn in because of the emphasis on ensuring students were feeling at-home, while advocating and working with the administration for the issues that impact student life. I’ve had a great Western experience over my four years, and I want to ensure every student feels that way when they reach fourth year!

3. Who would win in a fight, taco or grilled cheese?
Obviously the taco…With it’s crisp shell and above average toppings, it would win 100% (Plus it’s one of my favourite foods!)

 

2015 Faculty Candidate Interviews

We reached out to the faculty president candidates so everyone could have a little more info before voting day. If we’re missing anyone, it could be because they didn’t respond to our e-mail – but we are always willing to update the post. Check out this post for all their contact information.


Social Science

Arjun Singh
Year and Program:
Third year, Criminology and English
Link to platform

1. What’s one platform point you want highlight and expand on?
My platform is very comprehensive and is divided into five broad categories: Student Outreach, Advocacy, Programming, Partnerships and Internal Council Governance. The point I want to highlight and expand on is “Balanced Programming: Small and Big”
Over the past few days in this campaign, I have been asked what this means. Some have criticized and accused me of trying to rule out big programming like concerts. This is not true. Social Science has about 7000 students making it the largest faculty on Western’s campus. This means that SSSC has a huge job on its hands. We need to make every effort possible to provide programming that caters to different audiences. Concerts and bar nights are a great time but it is not for everyone. If elected President, I want to work towards achieving a balance in our programming and ensure that small-scale events happen on a regular basis in conjunction with the big events. This point came to me after a student from Social Science spoke at SSSC’s November meeting and stressed the importance and need for small-scale programming. The student also cited Science Council’s #WellnessWednesdays as an example. I couldn’t agree more and I want to work towards catering to all fellow Social Science students if I get into this position. As I said in my platform, The big events will still be there but we need to work harder towards having smaller events to serve everyone.

2. Why are you running?
I am running for SSSC president, because I believe this council has potential to serve students better. Social Science students deserve a student government that is responsive, responsible and delivers results based on student feedback. I respect students and always remember that I am a student myself and I wish to take the initiative to make our faculty council work better for all of us. Having been on SSSC for three years, I believe I am capable, qualified and ready for this position.

3. What is one special menu item you would add to the Wave’s menu?
I frequent the Wave quite a bit and being a vegetarian, they really only have a few things for me. I would love to add a bruschetta to the menu as an appetizer. It could be vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian and also have a meat option if needed. Second spot goes to vegetarian spring rolls. They used to have them when I was in first year. I miss them.

Brandon Palin
Year and Program: 3rd Year Dan Management student – Finance
Link to platform

1. What’s one platform point you want highlight and expand on?
- Increase first year involvement within the faculty
Having been a social science soph for the past two years I am constantly asked by first year students, “How can I get involved?” I find it frustrating that SSSC does not facilitate a system that allows the various clubs and associations to reach out to first years. By implementing a Social Science Guidebook during Orientation Week and running information sessions in the weeks following we can promote our associations and clubs more effectively. This will give the opportunity to the executives of various departmental clubs to come and speak with students and explain the opportunities that are available to them. 

In terms of increasing first year engagement on council, that would need to be figured out by the incoming executive. By offering more positions for first years within committees we could increase their short-term and long-term involvement on council. This is simply an idea that would need to be evaluated further before being put in place.

2. Why are you running?
Simply, to make a difference in the lives of social science students. I have gained the knowledge necessary to lead this council in my role as a councillor in 2nd year and currently in my role as Social Science Senator. I can advocate for the students within the faculty because I know what you need to do to make a change. As a council we have access to many resources and if used effectively we can truly make a difference for our constituents.

3. Favourite app and why?
Trivia Crack – procrastination at its finest but you somehow feel like you are being productive by testing your knowledge.

Science

Adam Faller
Year and Program:
3rd and Genetics
Link to platform

1. What’s one platform point you want highlight and expand on?
I would like to highlight the pillar of my platform entitled “Coordination”. Here, I touch on several opportunities for the SSC to partner with other campus entities to bring even better programming and student support. Ideas include coordination with the Student Success Centre in revamped review sessions for students that also focus on networking; better partnership with Sophs, using them as a two way street of information to students and back to the SSC department reps; club coordination, and a separate allocation of the budget to joint event efforts; and interfaculty connections that allow councils to use each other for support in events and advocacy.

2. Why are you running?
I have been on the SSC for three years, and the USC for one, and feel like I have gained all the necessary experience and knowledge to go forth and serve at the forefront of the council, as president. I have explored all facets of the SSC (Representative, USC Councillor, Commissioner, Committee Vice-Chair) and have developed an extreme passion and care for this council over the year, leading me to confidently believe I can fulfill all responsibilities of the position. With my concrete and innovative platform, I seek to connect the many groups and resources Western has to offer, and play our part in delivering the best student experience.

3. What song best describes your personality?
We’re Here for a Good Time — Trooper

Soo Choe
Year and Program:
3rd year Science
Link to platform

2. Why are you running?
While keeping the other SSC traditions, I want to initiate the “UWO Science Fair,” an intercollegiate, weekend conference that showcases our great health-related competitions, speakers, and vast venues to enhance the educational experience for all students across Canada, while being highly accessible to Western University students. The Science Council is the best suited to organize such an event due to its human resource/organization, and sustainability. This event was inspired from my eye opening experience at the Queen’s University CUCOH Research Conference. Although I won the Health Initiatives Competition for my registered nonprofit organization, I was disturbed that this wonderful feeling occurred at this odd territory. I am a firm believer that Western University Science Student Council has the potential to organize the “UWO Science Fair” and if elected as SSC President, I will use my full capabilities to make such an event feasible. However, this vision all starts with your vote.

Health Studies

Tara Chen*
Year and Program: 4th Year Health Studies

1. What’s one platform point you want highlight and expand on?
My goal for next year is to continue expand the opportunities that are available for students. For example, it is very difficult to find internships that are related to healthcare; specifically towards the topics that are discussed in health science courses such as policy, innovation, etc. However; through my research I have discovered that there are opportunities out there for students but they need to do extensive research. My goal is to update the westernhssa.com website and have a database of internships (local/global) that truly showcase what the health science degree is.

2. Why are you running?
I ran for elections again because I felt that there were still things that I wanted to advocate for. For example; I feel that academic support was not provided to the best of its abilities this year and I want to develop a strategy that would help students. In addition, I want to continue leading HSSA towards a path of success and provide students with opportunities that I wish I had when I was in first year university. I feel that I can continue to expand on the work I have brought to the table this year and make them better for future years.

3. What’s your favourite place to study on campus?
The gym! I love studying there. They have couches, chairs, plugs, what more do you need? :)

Arts and Humanities

Haley Everitt*

Music

Taylor Oliver*

Faculty of Information and Media Studies

Melissa Peterson*
Year and Program:
Media & the Public Interest, Year III

1. What’s one platform point you want highlight and expand on?
In my term as FIMSSC President I would like to revitalize the culture of student engagement within the faculty. By this I mean that I am hoping to address the sense of separation by those who feel that they do not fit with the “radical, countercultural liberal” stereotype associated with other students in the faculty. While there are mechanisms in place that provide an outlet for students to voice their concerns (i.e. the FIMS General Assembly), I feel like this sense of alienation fosters apathy which in turn only further perpetuates the division between those who are “involved” and those who feel they are not. I am hoping to reconfigure the General Assembly (FIMSGA) so that it takes the form of a governing body as well as a forum in an attempt to address the issue I have outlined. My idea behind restructuring the FIMSGA is the hope that students will be more inclined to attend and be a part of a institution of direct democracy when they know that there will be tangible results that extend beyond a mere discussion. For example, I envision a future GA in which students may–of their own accord–form subcommittees in which they make recommendations to the FIMSSC or the FIMS Administration that will be taken into account as representative of the opinion of the GA on behalf of the undergraduate student body.

2. Why are you running?
I am running for President because I hope to bring the passion I have for FIMS beyond the classroom and work to create a more inclusive faculty with a more involved and active student body.

Where is your favorite place in London? (outside of the Western bubble)
Locomotive Espresso

Engineering

Tom Grainger
Year and Program: 3rd, Engineering and Ivey Business
Link to platform

1. What’s one platform point you want highlight and expand on?
I’d love to highlight my platform point about building the Engineering Community through inclusionary practices and interfaculty initiatives.

2. Why are you running?
I’m running to make a difference in the daily lives of Western Engineers. It’s been some time since the UES truly has. Things have been better in recent years, but I believe I can bring it to the level where the impact is tangible.

3. What’s your dream job?
Right now: President of the Undergraduate Engineering Society.

Health Sciences

Brady Johnson*

Nursing

Ivy Tran*

*Acclaimed

USC Slate Debate Twitter Highlights

 

Did Starbucks install seating? Pick a number? No it’s just the start of the USC Slate Debate!
beginningOh look the The Gazette was there! They wouldn’t let us sit with them…

meangirlsJust kidding, they weren’t that mean:

meangirlstalkWhy are we at this debate again? Does this matter? Oh wait:

27mWhat did the slates say?

Something about the LTC obviously:

cityissue

ltcsighWhen asked what was one thing Jack did during his time as SSSC President:

brocial#Quoteoftheday

listening talkwithyoupeopleoverpolitics

 

Other hot topics:proactivehealthfairtrade

 

 

Sometimes we’re not looking for answers:

sophproblemWho knew we could predict the weather?

derekshaderesponse

shade

twitterfeudOur biggest regret:

biggestregret

In conclusion:

conclu

It ain’t over until the Marching Band plays…

marchingband

mattband

 

Seems like The Gazette felt the same, check out who they declared the winner of the debate.

Why asking “Why are you running?” Is So Important

Asking “Why are you running?” is possibly the most important question you can ask a candidate. The answer should just roll off their tongue, and if it doesn’t, well that’s warning number one for you.

There are many reasons people want to be a part of student government: personal and professional growth, a desire to change the way things are, or a willingness to represent the interests of students because they see value in the role of students within the university. It is in how they rank these reasons that gives insight into how they might fulfill their role.

Side note: A careerist is loosely defined as someone who is motivated by their own personal professional advancement – someone who wants the position for their resume – with no intention of fulfilling the job description. If this is all you are, then it’s bad. However it is important to note that being a careerist does not mean you’ll do a bad job in student government, just like being passionate about student issues doesn’t guarantee you’ll do a good job. It’s all about finding balance between skill and will.

Student government isn’t an easy gig. You’re constantly being criticized for everything you do and don’t do. With that said, some students don’t know what you do in the first place. Your reason to run for a position on council should not rest on external factors. Every decision you make should have the interest of students at the heart of it – without expecting anything from them. You should not expect your decisions on council to be praised or even acknowledged by the student body. If they are, great. If they aren’t, doesn’t mean that you should lose all motivation because of how under-appreciated you are.

Student interests are also a vague term, but they don’t refer to granting every student’s wishes. Sometimes as an executive you will have knowledge that other students don’t. Sometimes this information reveals that their request is not going to benefit the students at all. To make a decision in the interest of students is to look at the larger picture, and really interrogate and research into the greater externalities of that decision. But you have to be willing to undergo this rigorous process instead of dismissing their interest because it’s not something you want.

A role on the executive council is always more than one expects it would be, but if you are intrinsically motivated then that will help you get through the banal aspects of the position. If you lie about the reason you truly are running, well that is only detrimental to yourself.

(Views are my own, and do not reflect devoteduwo’s)