Presidential breakdown: Tristan Paul

William Lou
January 22, 2015
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

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Tristan Paul imagines every student as a piece of a puzzle that makes up the McMaster undergraduate student body. As a result he has centred his platform on getting students involved and collecting feedback from the student body.

“The role of the MSU and the MSU president is all-encompassing,” said Paul. “So what I’ve tried to do with my platform is incorporate those mechanisms where we can give students the tools to essentially provide feedback […] and have a meaningful role in shaping their student experience.”

One of Paul’s most prominent communication strategies is the MSU Drawing Board, an online portal where students can submit feedback and vote on their favourite ideas. He also hopes to implement MSU Messenger, an online chat room, and MSU Town Hall, a meeting in term one about the progress and goals of the MSU.

In the area of academics, Paul hopes to improve the course selection process by adding mandated mid-term evaluations and working with the university to make existing course evaluation data available to students.

He also wants to implement course intentions, a system where students map out their desired courses in advance to give administrators an idea of how many students may enrol in a course.

The feasibility of a course intentions system is still questionable. Many students may not know what courses they will take in upper years, and these decisions often change as a student progresses through their degree. While a good idea in theory, only time will tell how this works in practice.

Q: Opponent you would vote for?

A: Matt

Q: Opponent's platform point you would criticize?

A: John Tambakis - EARN Service

“I think they’ll encounter the same problems that the Peer Tutor Network had.”

Q: Most ambitious goal?

A: Grocery store

When asked about his most ambitious goal, Paul discussed his idea to open an on-campus grocery store.

“[Through] one-on-one conversations with students we realized that the convenience of a grocery store on campus is something that students really want,” said Paul.

“[It’s] ambitious in the sense that it requires a lot of consultation and working with various stakeholders.”

After researching existing models at Western and Queen’s, Paul began talking to university administration about this idea. The response he got from both Hospitality Services and McMaster administration was positive.

Yet, with Mac Farmstand in the student centre every Wednesday and Thursday from June to October and a bus to Fortinos that runs from Mary Keyes every Wednesday, the effort and expense of opening a grocery store may not be necessary. Paul has discussed the idea with administration and one-on-one with students, but only a survey of the student body will tell if this idea reflects students’ needs.

The idea of improving clubs is common across all candidates, but Paul has a unique idea. He wants to administer anti-oppression training for club presidents and create an opportunities portal where clubs can recruit volunteers in order to improve the extra-curricular experience.

A more obscure idea, stemming from his love of film, is converting a lecture hall into MSU Cinema. This theatre service would mirror Western University Film’s success. Again, it is unclear whether this is a service that is in demand from students or how it would be put into practice.

Paul has begun conversations with the university about his ideas, but has mainly researched student need through one-on-one conversations. Whether or not the entire undergraduate student body will determine these ideas to be their top priority is unknown.

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