Candidates' comments: 2012 MSU Presidential Election

opinion
January 26, 2012
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 8 minutes

Chris Erl

“We can do better”

 

I’m running for the presidency of the MSU because I believe in this student union.

It’s sometimes hard to remember what we are here for. The SRA spends its time dealing with mundane things like the price of chairs and paperclips instead of dealing with the issues that affect you.

That’s not right. You pay into the MSU and expect us to deal with the everyday problems you face. We can do better. You should feel like the MSU is acting in your best interests, not just the best interests of itself and the small clique that runs it.

As a member of this year’s Assembly, I’ve been fighting for you. I helped implement our new Anti-Oppression policy, and rewrote our policy on public transit.

There is still work to be done. After hearing the concerns of students over this past year, I have developed a platform that is practical, responsible and works toward improving life on campus.

I am fighting for better bus service. We can bring the B-Line back through campus. We can also supplement your eight-month bus pass by offering you a twelve-month option that would work over the summer.

Better food on campus is another issue students have brought to my attention. I will work to get MSU clubs exempted from Paradise Catering’s monopoly and provide better food options at TwelvEighty, and introduce a $4 pint and local craft brews. And I’ll start a community garden on campus to provide food for Mac BreadBin, our MSU-run food bank.

Anyone who understands the organization knows the MSU needs to work better for students. By simply putting a job and volunteering board in Union Market, we can let everyone know about the different opportunities that already exist in the MSU.

I’ll give up the president’s apartment to incoming first years who have done good work in their community. We can work to improve our community in other ways, too, like fighting for multi-faith prayer space in the student centre and funding student art projects in Hamilton.

I am fighting for real, practical solutions that students want to see. I have the vision to see what needs to be changed and the expertise to know how to change it.

We can do some amazing things next year, but there is a lot of work to do. As your president, I will take up the fight for a student union that works for you. We have the ideas, we have the momentum, now let’s get the job done.

 

Siobhan Stewart

“We have something for you”

 

Hello McMaster! I want to first take this opportunity to thank all of you for reading this article, visiting the table behind the Tim Horton’s in MUSC and asking questions.

I love meeting with everyone and discussing the ways in which we can work to make McMaster a better place for all students.

I hope you have had the opportunity to visit my website and to read up on the different initiatives that I am passionate about bringing to our community.

To develop each of my eight platforms points, I have spent the past few months speaking to all of the stakeholders involved in these issues, from students to professors to administrators, including President Patrick Deane.

Their overwhelmingly positive responses have made me even more dedicated to making each of these ideas a reality, if elected MSU President.

When developing the platform, I wanted to highlight the issues brought up by Mac students, and develop solutions to address them. Mental health is a very important issue on this campus, and many partners, including students, the Student Wellness Centre and the Student Success Centre, have all begun to develop ways to address these issues.

While some candidates have similarly recognized mental health as an issue that the MSU president should be focusing on, I alone have created an action plan to tackle this problem – The Peer Support Line, as well as the Fall Break. The Peer Support Line aims to cut the long wait times currently faced by students attempting to access the Student Wellness Centre, by providing an anonymous peer with whom one can easily reach out.

Furthermore, the Fall Break, in one of the various forms it may take – depending on the wants and needs of students – would be a way to take time to regroup and recharge in order to be as successful as possible in all parts of life.

So, if you are heavily involved with MSU club life on campus and want to use part of Clubs Training to collaborate and foster relationships with other clubs, we have that.

If you want an alternative to the library with Bridges as a study space during exam period, we have that too.

If you want a student-developed Marketing Strategy so that we can all better connect with our MSU, we also have that.

No matter what, I know that we have “Something for You.”

 

David Campbell

“Tangible, affordable objectives”

 

“The power of presidentials.” This is a phrase I’ve found myself using a lot lately. It is a phrase to reflect my optimism surrounding the whole process of our student elections, and the possibilities of our Students Union. Last year, students spoke up about study space, and with thousands of students championing the issue, the University dedicated half a million dollars to the libraries. Thode was renovated and libraries were opened for longer hours. Though the problem is still far from fixed, the issue was acknowledged, and positive steps are being taken to address it.

This is the power of presidentials. The elections give students a chance to speak up, and tell the University what they care about. Students tell the MSU where they are falling short, they tell the University what is lacking from their experience at Mac, and most of all they lend their voice to what they want to see done about it.

So what do students want to see from the MSU? My platform is based on the idea that students want tangible, affordable objectives. They want to see ideas, both those that are small and practical, and those that dream big, which the MSU can achieve and which will affect their lives.

With this as my starting point, I have formed my platform around three pillars: Education, Student Life, and Sustainability. Educational points, like mid-semester evaluations, give students a voice in how they are taught. Other initiatives, such as addressing service levels at the Student Wellness Center, aim to improve the student experience. Finally, practical sustainability programs, like the expansion of composting on campus, help to address students’ concerns about the environment.

Ultimately, I think this is what students want. The MSU next year has enormous potential, with good financial standing and a University administration that wants to hear its ideas.

My goal is to make sure we take advantage of this opportunity. I want us to take the reins and guide the MSU to better address our concerns about education, to promote diversity and support in our student life, and to work toward a sustainable future.

I think this is possible next year, and that together we can make this vision a reality. But in the end, it’s not up to me. It’s up to the students who vote.

After all, that’s the power of presidentials.

 

Mukhtar Galan

“Positivity and perseverance”

 

Throughout my years here at McMaster, I have been involved in the McMaster Engineering Society as a Welcome Week Representative for three years, and served on its executive for two.

This year I finally decided to get involved – specifically with the Maroons as Social Coordinator. I felt that this was a perfect way for me to be a part of the MSU, because it embodies something that I am very passionate about: spirit. It was through this role that I was able to show my maroon colours, learn about my leadership style and understand how I could fit in to the MSU fold.

I have also recently become involved with the Student Representative Assembly (SRA), as a member of the Engineering caucus. This was a particularly eye-opening experience for me. My time on the SRA has taught me so much about the MSU and the different perspectives that each student brings to this organization. Although it is clear that my involvement with the students union is not as extensive as some of my fellow candidates, it was these experiences that affirmed my desire to run for MSU President.

As President, I believe that I have the ability to bring about change. That #GoodFeeling I keep talking about is not only a representation of my ideas for the MSU, but also for my personality. I am positive, optimistic and passionate. One thing that I will always strive for is to be happy. I can assure you that I will bring my positivity to this position, without losing focus on achieving my goals and those of the McMaster student body. As President, I am aware of potential road blocks ahead of me, but I will approach these the same way that I always have, with positivity and perseverance.

The MSU should represent all students and provide services for our undergraduate student body that will improve student life. I believe that my platform and vision for the MSU adequately represents the needs of the student body so that they can get the best out of their time here at McMaster. My vision is simple and achievable. I want to improve the efficiency of this campus and the MSU for the betterment of student life.

Throughout the course of this campaign thus far, I have gotten to know all of my fellow candidates and I would like to wish them the best of luck with their campaigns and their future projects. I am so thankful for all of the support of my team and the McMaster community; I can promise nothing less than my best.

 

Alex Ramirez

“Join the revolution”

 

This is not my first election, but it is by far my biggest.

Running for a seat as a Social Science SRA three separate times (being successful in two of them) and also running for VP (Education) in the previous two years have given me a fair amount of experience in the circus that is MSU elections.

But I was born a fighter, and have personified myself as an example of student integrity and a champion of student dignity throughout my five years here at McMaster. This has been exemplified from the countless amount of student peers who, although they disagree with me on many things, still respect my strong-willed principles and relentless dedication to student engagement and community activism.

The first couple of days of campaigning have been hectic and exhausting. I will never forget the emotions I felt at 7:58 a.m. on Monday morning, when the hysteria of the elections really kicked in for everyone involved. I could sense it. Seeing campaign members of every team scrambling to get into their positions for the best strategic areas of the student centre, hearing “ 7:59! Go! Go! Go!”

I think it is safe to say that this election will generate a substantial amount of voters who never voted before. There are five candidates with dedicated teams, recruiting supporters every second they can. I can sincerely say that I would never have expected the climate of the election to be at the level it has been within the first couple of days. But finishing my last year of my undergraduate degree, there is a growing momentum towards student politics that I am happy to finally see.

I have had a number of great discussions with students who are genuinely interested in discussing certain elements of my platform – and I have thoroughly appreciated each and every one of their perspectives.

As the next week will be nothing short of a long, hard fought battle, I only see more students getting involved and engaged in political debate, which I would argue is not only healthy for intellectual creativity, but necessary to transform and innovate the collective culture of the McMaster student body.

2012 is the year of transformation. That is why I encourage the student body to Join the Revolution.

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