Leaders and visionaries

Ana Qarri
January 23, 2015
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

We analyzed their platforms, pointed out their flaws, and their most ambitious points. But at the end of the day, it will be you, the students, who get to decide who your next MSU president will be. It’s fair to say that most of you are probably not familiar with the inner workings of the MSU and you’re going to vote on how much you like the person and the ideas they’re bringing forward.

In my three years at Mac, I’ve noticed that MSU elections are a time when the triumphs and failures of the MSU are brought out of its offices for the entire student body to see. Campaigns have become so flashy and loud that it’s difficult to go here and be unaware of the election.

The presidential election is more than just a race for a position. It’s a race for the future of the MSU, a race that determines who will be privileged enough to bring their own vision for the organization to life.

But more often than not, it becomes a competition of small ideas.

This year, some of these include John Tambakis’ Marauders Club, or Matt Clarke’s laptop charging station, or even the late-night take-out options discussed by a few candidates. There is no doubt that these are small promises that will make McMaster a more convenient place. Some of these ideas can be impactful, but they don’t tell us anything about the candidate’s vision of the MSU, or how they will shape the organization once elected. A platform that consists only of small ideas, in my opinion, doesn’t amount to a whole lot.

Take, for example, Teddy Saull, the current MSU President. He had a vision – he wanted to bring people together and strengthen the Mac community. Teddy didn’t present this vision by bringing forward one small project. He had big ideas like a year-end celebration or a better frost week. Some of his ideas have flopped. Some were successful. Others are still in progress. But a vision is larger than the small projects it consists of. Teddy wanted an MSU that reached more people. His projects might not have accomplished this as much as he once hoped, but his vision of community has shaped the MSU regardless.

I’m not arguing that ideas don’t matter. They do. Having a well thought-out and researched platform is of paramount importance. But the little ideas aren’t the whole picture and neither is the feasibility of each point on someone’s platform. A platform with a vision often aims to push the limits of the union’s current structure and goals, or defy it altogether.

Visions are a strong indication that the candidate knows what they will bring to the MSU, and how they will shape it in the years to come.

Little things will happen regardless of who gets elected. It’s in the interest of the university to make sure its infrastructure and facilities don’t fall apart. Even things like napping centres and MUSC upgrades can be funded through the Student Life Enhancement Fund, if enough students are interested. Bettering student life, in the context of MSU presidential elections, should extend beyond the small things: the charging stations, the late-night wraps, the food trucks.

So when you vote for someone, ask yourself: why, and how will this person make the MSU better? How will they improve the way my student union represents and serves me, and will they have a lasting impact on the McMaster community?

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