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From the perspective of past experience, Corey Helie-Masters is certainly qualified for the position of MSU President.

His experience includes being a past SRA member, a continued involvement with the Kinesiology faculty society culminating in his current position as President, as well as coordinating the Kinesiology games conference, which operates at a budget of $200,000 and attracted 1,000 individuals last year.

He’s a safe bet to know a little about what he’s getting into, at the very least.

But his platform also contains what is perhaps the riskiest objective out of all of the candidates: a plan to overhaul the structure of course timetables at McMaster, which he calls “Your 20 Minutes.” The idea is to transform the current schedule of 50-minute blocks to 80-minute blocks; therefore, a class that runs three one-hour lectures a week would convert to two hour-and-a-half lectures a week.

“Something that I think encompasses a lot of student issues is time ... [my] biggest platform point focuses on getting more productive time out of the day,” he said.

Q: Opponent you would vote for?

A: Tristan

Q: Opponent platform point you would criticize?

A: John Tambakis- The Marauder Club

“The premise of it sounds good, I would just love to hear a little bit more detail on it, on the plan.”

Q: Most ambitious goal?

A: Your 20 minutes

Among other benefits, Helie-Masters cites the advantage of expanding the “inefficient” hour break that students are often forced to deal with between classes. The change in scheduling also adds a few minutes of class each week, which means the same amount of teaching hours can be accomplished in a fewer number of days.

“That fixes something I have a big issue with, which is next year, where we don’t have a day break between classes and exams,” said Helie-Masters.

Feasibility is immediately the first concern when considering an entire schedule change, however.

Logistically, the plan will have to take into account all nine faculties, and will likely disrupt or even change the way professors teach and structure their courses.  The restructuring would also need to account for the fact that many non-traditional courses do not follow the three lectures per week mold, as well as the potential for reduced engagement for students in a longer lecture format.

But beyond that, his overall platform lacks the coherence and depth that other candidates have in their platforms. The rest of his platform includes a confusing pledge to improve clubs resources, and a number of unspecific commitments to student issues such as food prices, environmentally friendly initiatives, and student housing. Although one of Helie-Masters’ key points is improving the resources and support for clubs and faculty societies, he admitted, “I have not had enough time to talk to everybody I need to talk to.”

Helie-Master’s other main goal involves a Hamilton Welcome Day as part of the Welcome Week experience, where students would explore Hamilton in an event structured similarly to Shine Day. In order to address the issues with student engagement that Shine Day has, Helie-Masters explained his desire to “market it the way you market MacConnector,” as well as having the event occur much earlier during the week.

Although more details on his platform will be rolling out as the campaign continues, Helie-Masters will need to develop more concrete ideas around his goals to demonstrate dedication to the general student body. While he can boast a schedule that includes varsity swimming and managing a faculty society, his credentials can only take him so far.

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The games have begun.On Friday, the candidates for President of the McMaster Students Union were confirmed and announced. Five students have put their names on the ballot, each with the goal of leading a multi-million dollar organization focused on improving life at Mac.

This year’s slate includes five men: Matt Clarke, Corey Helie-Masters, Ehima Osazuwa, Tristan Paul, and John Tambakis.

We asked each of these newly declared candidates why they wanted to be MSU President.

Clarke:

I want to be MSU President to make a difference at this school, and really incorporate community and the way that we call McMaster home and the way that we all interact and create relationships.

Helie-Masters:

I have wanted to be MSU President ever actually since one of my first days in school here. And the day I decided to run actually was … the middle of my first year, about five years ago, when Matthew Dillon-Lietch—I was on his campaign team—the night he won was the night I was like I need to do this, because this might just be one of the best things that I could ever be involved in. The idea of working for the MSU and having the opportunity to do all these fantastic things—it’s so exciting.

Osazuwa:

I’m running for MSU President because I want to make a difference to the lives of the students and the McMaster Students Union … I feel I’m very qualified to lead the organization. I’m running for MSU President to be the change I want to see in the organization.

Paul:

Traditionally, the MSU, when we talk about engaging students we often say that students don’t want to get involved, they don’t really care about issues on campus. What this past year has showed me, and especially from first year to now, I’ve realized that students do care about issues. They do want to get engaged in the conversation, but right now there aren’t those mechanisms in place to do that. So why I’m running—well, I want to connect students to the MSU.

Tambakis:

I thought this was a great chance to put students first and make sure that students are the centre of the university experience in every facet.

The campaign will officially begin Sunday, Jan. 18 at 12 p.m. Stay tuned at thesil.ca for ongoing coverage of the election.

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