2018 Students’ Union presidential candidate Q&As

Reading Time: 25 minutes

 



Ryley Fletcher


How / When / Why did you decide to run for Students’ Union president?

“I think based on my experiences from the last four and a half years at Laurier eventually led me to have a huge passion for the student experience and mental health as well. So I think that through my experiences is what made me want to run for the position of president and ceo of the Students’ Union.”

“Last year I was the associate vice president of finance and administration with the Students’ Union, so I worked with the management team, the president, the vice presidents. And that’s where I realized that being the president of the Students’ Union is something that I could actually do.”

“In the past, it’s always been like that person that you see in The Cord or in The Sputnik, you see them walking around campus and it’s like the president, like some far away kind of like, not distant person, but like super professional individual, whatever. But working with the management team last year is when I realized that it’s an actual person first off, and a lot of the qualities that the president, over the past few years, have had are some similar qualities that I think I have, and that I would be capable of doing the role.”

“So while I was an AVP last year, before I was wrapping up my term in April is when I started meeting with students to ask them what they would like to see from the Students’ Union. And throughout the summer and throughout fall term, I had a lot of meetings with more students, with Students’ Union staff—both management team and the full-time staff—and then also with university officials, so David McMurray, Dan Dawson, Adam Lawrence, Leanne-Holland Brown, I have a meeting with on Monday just to talk about different things that students want, see their feasibility, kind of what I would be able to do for the students within reason, because I know that it’s not necessarily possible to spend millions of dollars on a project within a year and get it done for students within in a couple.”

…a lot of the qualities that the president, over the past few years, have had are some similar qualities that I think I have, and that I would be capable of doing the role.

“I based my platform around principles. So, for example, I know that students are wanting more access to the student Wellness Centre on both campuses I’ve had that feedback. So rather than saying, ‘okay what I would like to do is a, b, and c,’ I said I would like to find a way to make the student Wellness Centre more accessible for students, and then I’ve pitched a couple ideas of how that might be able to work, so that I then am not then bound to my platform in a year if I am elected. Sorry, I would be bound to the platform, but I wouldn’t be bound to that specific idea if I ended up finding out another way that was even more financially feasible so students didn’t have to pay more money or more time sensitive so we could get it done quicker so we could serve students quicker.”

“So it’s through like the meetings that I’ve had with people that I helped develop that platform and all of those ideas coming together made me realize that I think that I would be a good candidate for Students’ Union president.”


Why are you the best candidate for this job?

“I think that my, based on platforms alone, I think that my platform is, A, it’s shown that it’s accessible because anybody can find my platform online or on my Facebook page or on Twitter, you can find it where you like. Or at my booths and stuff. But also, reading through the platforms I really want students to read through all platforms and think about, not only what they want from the Students’ Union and what would be great for student services, but also what’s feasible. I’m not going to come in here and propose that we’re going to spend like three million dollars on the building of a project because the Students’ Union has an over ten million dollar operating budget, but three million dollars is nearly a third of that, and it’s unrealistic to expect that students are going to be able to have those additions if they’re not going to be paying more money towards these projects.”

“So look at what you want from the platforms, but also think about the feasibility and if each of these candidates are elected, is it actually going to happen? Ask the important questions at open forums, message each of the candidates individually if you have questions about their platforms.”

“I think that one of the biggest things that makes me the best candidate for the role is my determination. So I might not know everything about the Students’ Union right now, and I would argue that none of the four of us do, or even the people who are currently in their positions because it’s tough to do that. But, I will learn everything that I need to in order to make critical decisions, this is where I have made a platform based on principles not on tangibles, because I have offered potential tangibles, but if a different thing comes up that is more feasible, that is the option that I’ll go with because I want students to be best served and in order for them to be best served, we have to spend their money properly.”

Ask the important questions at open forums, message each of the candidates individually if you have questions about their platforms.

“And also, I have a personality for the role that would be able to work with other people, and I think that I would ultimately represent students in the way that students would want to be represented, not the way that I think students want to be represented, if that makes sense.”


If president, how are you going to advocate for students on the Brantford/Waterloo campus?

“So I think that it does pose a bit of a difficult situation because the president’s main office is in Waterloo, right. And the president will be in Waterloo a majority of the days, but it’s important to recognize that it’s equity, not equality that we’re going for. So I wouldn’t want to split my office hours 50/50 because that’s unrealistic.”

“So being able to be in Brantford and have a presence there is something that I would absolutely want to do, but recognizing that there’s fourteen-plus thousand students in Waterloo, and there’s three thousand plus students in Brantford, so being able to split it up equitably is kind of how I would do that.”

“And in addition to that, one of the points of my platform is about representation groups. So one of these representation groups would be having the presence of the faculty associations come sit around a table and talk to the president about what concerns these students are seeing or anything they want their voice heard about, and there are five faculty association presidents from Waterloo and there are two faculty association presidents from Brantford, so that’s another way that I could incorporate all students, both Waterloo and Brantford in on the same kind of opportunity.”

…one of the points of my platform is about representation groups. So one of these representation groups would be having the presence of the faculty associations come sit around a table and talk to the president about what concerns these students are seeing or anything they want their voice heard about…

“I think it’s important to recognize that—not to separate students between Brantford and Waterloo—ultimately we’re all golden hawks and we’re all Laurier students who are here to get an education and we have services offered to us by the Students’ Union that we can all use, so I think it’s important to recognize that as president, you’d be advocating for all students, not just students on one or the other campus.”


Can you critique one aspect of the current president’s performance?

“Yeah, so several times I’ve had this question, but I think that it’s important to recognize that Kanwar is probably the most knowledgeable person that’s not Phil Champaign—which is the executive director of the Students’ Union—about the organization. He’s brilliant. I think that, if asked to critique him, I would say that I would do some of the stuff that he’s doing differently. So he has a big passion for advocacy and working with government, so he’s been to a lot of different stuff with the university affairs department, for example, working on advocacy.”

I think working with departments and organizations internally is something that I would focus a little more on than the Students’ Union has this year.

“Where that I think that it’s important to have a really good relationship between the Students’ Union and other departments of the university and other organizations, for example like WLUSP and student publications. I think it’s important to keep open communication so that when things come up for student publications for example, you’re able to chat with the Students’ Union, kind of get the information you need, we’re able to provide that for you. And then you can write your story and we can go on with our day, rather than—almost like cutting off ties, or it’s not really cutting off ties. I think working with departments and organizations internally is something that I would focus a little more on than the Students’ Union has this year.”


You mentioned improving the support and resources for the Students’ Union in your campaign platform. How exactly would you go about accomplishing that?

“So my way of improving support and resources is through multiple parts of my platform. One, for example would be through seeking feedback more effectively. Right now, the Students’ Union’s main feedback-seeking method is by having a customer-service feedback form on every page of their website. But I would argue that a lot of students probably don’t even know what the Students’ Union’s website is. And I think that there’s a more effective way to do that, which they did through an event this year actually. They had students come up and provide feedback.”

“And we would better be able to provide all students with support if we had a better feedback-seeking mechanism. So I would also like to do a bit of an environmental scan across Ontario and or Canada, even the states, to see what other student organizations do to seek feedback from their student population.”

“Another way to do that from the opposite side of things would be through the Clubs and Associations department, for example. It serves thousands of students, it’s like the biggest department in the Students’ Union, numbers-wise or population-wise I guess. And they need more support for the department in order to better support the volunteers in that department, and then in turn, better support the students that access the services from clubs and associations. So it’s a long string of things, but I think something that was supposed to be implemented three years ago, and it just hasn’t year after year after year.”

…we would better be able to provide all students with support if we had a better feedback-seeking mechanism.

“Because right now, we have the vice president of clubs and associations in Waterloo, and we have an associate vice president of clubs and associations in Brantford. The VP in Waterloo gets so caught up in day-to-day operations every day. Signing expense reqs and approving new clubs and doing all of this kind of stuff that the VP shouldn’t have to do. VP’s in other departments get to work a lot on strategy and looking at how their department can best move forward with new ideas, new initiatives, whereas the VP of clubs and associations, since my time of involvement with the Students’ Union, has been overwhelmed to the point where they don’t have the option or the opportunity to be looking at that critical, like, growth mindset because they’ve been so caught up with the day-to-day operations. So by adding in that AVP clubs and associations in Waterloo, the VP would be able to take more of a strategic direction in order to eventually better provide for the volunteers and the students that access those clubs and associations.”


 


Idris Omar Hassan


How/When/Why did you decide to run for Students’ Union president?

“While I was sitting in the Students’ Unions board of directors as a director of the board, I’ve noticed that there are quite a number of different changes that I would like to bring in to the general functioning of the organization. Just around my very first term of me being a part of the board of directors, that’s when I kind of decided that I want to take a bigger position with in the Students’ Union and since then I’ve been thinking about it. The more I think about it the more I come up with better ideas.”

Just around my very first term of me being a part of the board of directors, that’s when I kind of decided that I want to take a bigger position with in the Students’ Union and since then I’ve been thinking about it.

“Then, when I started having conversations with undergraduate students; especially those that I know individually. Then I took it a little further and I’ve had conversations with different groups and clubs and associations, including international students. Then I decided I need to run for presidency because I think I can bring better change into the function of the organization to assist more of the undergraduate students.”


Why are you the best candidate for this job?

“I mean let’s face it, there are quite a number of different things that make me very different than the other three candidates that are running for this position. The first one is that I am more mature than them, I have more life experience than them and I have more professional experience than them. I have had quite a number of other professional experiences, such as working with the provincial and federal government.”

…when an issue comes onto the table from undergraduate students or from the organization itself, I am not only going to be looking at my experiences within the university, I will be looking at my experiences that I’m bringing from different stakeholders that I was part of in my time for the past number of years…

“Working within other institutional settings as a director of the board, working for non-for profit organizations. Those outside institutional experiences that I am bringing to to the table is absolutely a huge asset for me to be the best candidate for this position. Because when an issue comes onto the table from undergraduate students or from the organization itself, I am not only going to be looking at my experiences within the university, I will be looking at my experiences that I’m bringing from different stakeholders that I was part of in my time for the past number of years. that’s why I believe that I am the best candidate for this position as president and CEO of the Students’ Union at our university, Wilfrid Laurier.”


If president, how are you going to advocate for students on the Brantford/Waterloo campus?

“The first thing I look at is that we are all undergraduate students. If I get elected as president and CEO, I am a president and CEO for not only one campus but all undergrad student regardless of their campus. With that being said, there is one challenge that most of the executive team, including the president and his team, normally faces which is the multi-campus. It’s under my platform to ensure that both students in both campuses will receive the exact same, equal — or very similar equal — [amount of] my time, ideas, to sit down with them, to ensure that two days I will be in Brantford, maybe three days I will be in the Waterloo campus because the Waterloo campus has just little more students than the Brantford campus. But that doesn’t mean that they’re less equal or more important than the other.”

It’s under my platform to ensure that both students in both campuses will receive the exact same, equal — or very similar equal — [amount of] my time…

“I will ensure that I am available to both students regardless of their campus and I will ensure I have the time to sit down and listen and at the same time to work with them for the best interest of all undergraduate students at our university.”


Can you critique one aspect of the current president’s performance?

“The president is doing a great job currently, because I have seen and I have noticed quite a number of great leaders within the functioning of the organization. However, as I mention in the open forum and the other interviews that are being conducted for the last couple of days, I believe that as president and CEO it is your responsibility to ensure that the staff that you are responsible for should completely know with what they should involve themselves and with what they shouldn’t involve themselves.”

So the one thing I’m critiquing for this current president is that somehow I felt based on my experience that he was lacking to separate the relationship between the board of directors as well as the operational staff.

“Generally speaking, what I mean by that is that there are two important units within the organization; one being the board of directors, and the other one being the operational staff. As president and CEO you are responsible for the every day operational staff an you report to the directors of the board. So the one thing I’m critiquing for this current president is that somehow I felt based on my experience that he was lacking to separate the relationship between the board of directors as well as the operational staff. I’ve noticed at times that the day-to-day operational staff  was getting involved into the day-to-day staff of the board of directors which is sometimes, in my opinion, very unprofessional and in violation of the chain-of-command. But the two units are supposed to be functioning differently. Each unit is responsible for a specific direction of the success of the organization. Other than that, generally speaking, he’s been doing pretty well.”


In your platform, you mentioned you wanted to encourage the Students’ Union represent the interest of all groups including minorities and international groups. Why is this important and how might you go about doing this?

“Generally speaking, we have noticed that there are quite a number of students that are not necessarily aware of what’s happening within our Students’ Union as an organization. Those students are obviously the international students. Somehow, I felt that based on my own experiences, if you go to the international department and try to see or have a conversation with an international student, they might even be able to tell you anything about the organization. So I feel like that’s some sort of a lack, we as an organization and Students’ Union are lacking to reach those students. Similarly, did our number of other minority groups at our university that might not have the  same opportunity that the majority of students might have. This is an issue that we absolutely need to face, and this is an issue that we need to talk about.

…it’s my plan to reach out to those students specifically, and to ensure that there is a representative that is representing every different group regardless of if it’s domestic, international, mature students…

“Under my administration, if I get elected as president and CEO, it’s my plan to reach out to those students specifically, and to ensure that there is a representative that is representing every different group regardless of if it’s domestic, international, mature students — as long we are all undergrad and we are under that umbrella, each one of us is required to have that assistance and to have that full right to have access, to have equal opportunity under our Students’ Union organization and that’s what I plan to do because right now, we’re lacking.”


 


Tarique Plummer


How/When/Why did you decide to run for Students’ Union president?

“Since first-year I have thought about running for Students’ Union presidency. But I didn’t officially make the decision until this past summer after being elected as chair and chief governance officer and thought about my love for politics and governance. The rational that went into me deciding to run for president is simply this; for any individual who has been involved since first-year until this very moment, an individual who has come to understand the culture of Laurier, who has come to understand how the Students’ Union functions, who understands the policies and procedures, where the red tape exists and how to make certain things happen, I feel like one of the best individuals to be put into that capacity is someone who has the knowledge, someone who has the experience, someone who will be able to get the job done because they have an idea of what the system looks like and how to navigate the system itself. Another reason why I decided to run for Students’ Union president is because I genuinely care. I genuinely care for the students; I genuinely care about the concerns of students which can be seen in my platform. I try my best to have programs that have direct benefits to students. I believe at the end of each year, students must be able to say at least one thing a Students’ Union president has done for them.”

“Another reason why I want to run for Students’ Union president is because I wanted to represent all groups on campus. There are certain groups on campus that have been neglected, have been marginalized, have been completely forgotten and I want to be the individual to bring them back into the fold to say ‘hey, we know you’re there. Let us help you, let us be there for you, let us give you the support that you need.’ And by doing that, that will essentially get more individuals involved in the process. Something that has been on my mind for the longest time is that how can we have one of the highest involvement rates but one of the lowest for voter turnout? What’s the correlation? Why is the voter turnout not equivalent to the level of involvement that we have around campus.”

I feel like one of the best individuals to be put into that capacity is someone who has the knowledge, someone who has the experience, someone who will be able to get the job done because they have an idea of what the system looks like and how to navigate the system itself…

“I think it’s time for Laurier to have a leader who is willing to make big decisions. Not only sitting in the office and doing their routine and going to meetings. An individual who can introduce innovative programs, an individual who’s going to say ‘I don’t care what the culture or tradition has been, I’m going to do it this way because students need to see direct benefit from this.’ I think Laurier and the Students’ Union needs a leader who will essentially be the president and CEO — not just on paper, but one who walks into the office and runs the office as though it’s a business and students as a customer and to satisfy them. I feel like based on my public track record of performance, I am the individual for the job as I’m the individual who thinks of individuals, thinks of the people, gives you the benefits that you need and has a track record of leadership.”


Why are you the best candidate for this job?

“One, when it comes to overall involvement in a Laurier fabric I feel like my list of activities that I’ve been involved with — clubs, organizations, associations — far surpasses that of my opponents. I’ve done so many different things, and I’ve grown and I’ve learned and I understand a great deal of what the culture at Laurier truly is. And I know the needs and desires of the people. That is what makes me a strong candidate. Something else that makes me a strong candidate is my involvement with the Students’ Union. From first-year as a general volunteer, I’ve worked my way up to an executive, to coordinator, to being given coordinator of the year award, to being on the board of directors, to being chief governing officer of the board — an individual who has been involved for a long time knows the organization and knows the system, and knows how to get things done with the system that’s currently in place. And, even knows how to alter the system as it currently stands. So familiarity is a key thing, and with familiarity one might say because this individual has been involved since day one, the learning curve will be shorter than the learning curve of anybody else.”

“Realistically, the president and CEO of the Students’ Union has five months. Five effective months to get the job done. After that, from May to September, after that process you’re thinking about the next election period. Now, many people will not know that, many people think they have the entire year — but you really do not. For me, transition might be two weeks for someone who might have a transition of two months to understand board procedures and policies and the range of your power and authority, that’s something that gives me an advantage over my opponents.”

I have the experience, I know the system, I try my best to represent all the major groups on campus, I’m an individual who truly cares about them and wants to be there for them, an individual who has feasible plans for the long term and short term and looks at the overall development of the entire Laurier student body…

“Something else, is the relationship I share with numerous campus partners on both campuses. Because I’ve been involved with so many different organizations, associations and different departments, I have developed a relationship with them and I know their desires and I know their needs. We’re already on a professional-friend level. I don’t have to work to create those things because they already exist. Another thing that puts me above my opponents is in my platform, the ideas I put forward are not political. Some initiatives are long term, because I believe in planing for future generations, but some of them can be actualized during my year as president.”

“My platform, I believe, comes close to being so broad that each student can find something that they’re passionate about and I feel like because I’ve done the research and I know that all the things I’ve committed to can actually actualize, I feel like those are things that make me a strong candidate. I have the experience, I know the system, I try my best to represent all the major groups on campus, I’m an individual who truly cares about them and wants to be there for them, an individual who has feasible plans for the long term and short term and looks at the overall development of the entire Laurier student body. An individual who is a leader and who has a vision.”


If president, how are you going to advocate for students on the Brantford/Waterloo campus?

“If you have a look at my platform, you’ll notice that ideas are either labelled multi-campus, or Brantford specific or Waterloo specific. We have presidential candidates that are saying that they are going to listen to the students, honestly, you should have listened to the students before you decided to run. You should already know exactly what their needs are before you decided to run. And I’ve done that way before I decided to run, and those are the needs I put in the platform, with proposals on ways to address those needs. My physical presence will be on both campuses. Not just presence; my approach will be that I’ll be physically there, I’ll be involved in events that you have occurring. I will be physically there, I will be making an input in these events, I’ll be associating with you and I won’t just be confined to an overall office.”

Not just presence; my approach will be that I’ll be physically there, I’ll be involved in events that you have occurring. I will be physically there…

“The plans I’ve made in my platform are ideas that I’m committed to, and committed to actualizing. So you can hold me to a standard, you can hold me to that as a measure, you can hold me to what I put to you as my absolute promise, to see if I can come good on that. So for representation I’ll be in both Waterloo and Brantford all in platform, all the ideas that I’ve committed myself to, the presence I want to have on both campuses, with involvement I want to have with different faculty associations and clubs, interacting with people, and not just be in a general office space. I’m not Superman, so I can’t promise things that are outside my perimeter, but what I can promise you is that I’m going to be there.”


Can you critique one aspect of the current president’s performance?

“Whenever I’m asked this question I always say this and some may say it means nothing, but in fact I’m giving you everything. If you ask 10 students on campus what one thing the president and CEO has done for you this past year, let’s see how many students can actually even answer because my best guess is that maybe one out of the 10 who would be able to tell you what the president has done for you. If you can’t have at least half the student body say what the president has done for you, then the president and CEO would have failed.

…when you ask for a critique of the president, I say direct that question to the people. Ask them to tell you one thing the president has done for them, if they can tell you, then I accept responsibility that I’m wrong…

“You had an entire year to publicize and to reach students, you have a whole host of volunteers at your disposal — why don’t people know what you’re doing? And that raises questions about transparency, that raises questions about approach and about what you’re actually doing. So when you ask for a critique of the president, I say direct that question to the people. Ask them to tell you one thing the president has done for them, if they can tell you, then I accept responsibility that I’m wrong. If they can’t tell you, then we have our answer right there.”


Your platform includes a lot of bold and ambitious ideas for next year including a Laurier app and the SU Successful students application. What are your plans for bringing these large scale items to fruition?

“When it comes down to Laurier App, a few things as soon as I get into office I would do is ensure a higher developer, an app developer, and bring students who have been involved to see if they can learn through this entire process as well. Because I don’t want to contract this process out, I want students to actually be able to make impact and be able to learn what’s going on. This is going to be a pilot program, I’m not going to guarantee that it’s going to bee 100 per cent effective or efficient, it’s just going to be a start to see if we can move in a direction that is with the contemporary society. It’s going to be difficult to get all the information from all clubs, in terms of up-to-date information we can put on, that raises a few questions that we’re hopefully going to be able to answer. No promises it’s going to be 100 per cent effective but I will promise that we’re going to try our best to implement it to see what results it will give. That’s where I’m coming from with Laurier App.

“When it comes to the SU Successful student application process, what I envision — and there’s a rational behind this — I have had students come up to me and say ‘my tuition has not been paid and I can’t take courses or do this semester at all,’ and the question is who do these students really go to when they’re having these issues. Wouldn’t it be lovely if the Students’ Union could do real representation and advocacy and accept at least five applications per semester of students who are truly struggling in areas like tuition or mental health and see if we can help them to actualize their wish. I spoke to individuals in the Dean’s office about this and this idea that I have cannot just be done by the Students’ Union. It has to be in partnership with campus partners. Whether it be the Dean’s office, student awards, the Wellness Centre — it has to be in partnership with these different groups on campus. I feel like because I already have that existing relationship I can definitely have that collaborative effort. Fall semester, have five students we can help out. Winter semester, do the same thing again. And then see how successful it is.”

If a student can say ‘hey I had legal related issues, I had no one to turn to, my family could not help me; I turned to the Students’ Union and they had my back.’ That would be a truly student driven organization…

“Most of these bold and ambitious ideas mentioned in my platform, they are pilot programs. They’re programs I want to see if students can get direct benefits [from]. They will have kinks. I will have individuals coming up to me very early on and saying how will this work. I haven’t worked out logistical features, I just have the main idea, I just have an understanding of how it will work. When it comes to much smaller details and the intricacies are things that are going to be explored later on. But all these ideas are ideas that accomplish a need and give students value. It makes it so much easier to be involved and engaged. If a student can say ‘hey I had legal related issues, I had no one to turn to, my family could not help me; I turned to the Students’ Union and they had my back.’ That would be a truly student driven organization, one that has a much broader focus, and one that’s actually there to help you out. That’s what my entire platform is and my entire campaign is — a helping hand. That’s what all my ideas point to.”

“And at the end of the day if students don’t elect me, I would be disappointed, but it would be a loss to the student body. Because you’re not electing an individual, you’re electing a vision. The question is, which vision is the vision you want to see for Laurier as a whole. Ask yourself this question: will it be a loss to the Laurier community to not have these ideas actualized?


 


Ali Saghari


How/When/Why did you decide to run for Students’ Union president?

“I learned about the Students’ Union in second-year when I started joining clubs. I was more and more interested in the projects that they do and the initiatives that they run. I thought that it served a very important purpose at our university. When I became more involved in the Students’ Union by joining AUS [The Arts Undergraduate Society], I was more intrigued in holding a leadership position at the union.”

…everything I’ve managed to do at AUS and all the positive experiences I’ve had at the school before that have sort of led me to wanting to take the year off next year and dedicate myself to the Students’ Union…

“When I was elected to run AUS, over the summer is when I seriously considered the possibility of being able to run for president of the Students’ Union and this first term, everything I’ve managed to do at AUS and all the positive experiences I’ve had at the school before that have sort of led me to wanting to take the year off next year and dedicate myself to the Students’ Union and improving it in any way that my skills and experience can offer me.”


Why are you the best candidate for this job?

“I believe I make the best presidential nominee this year due to the fact that my experience both inside and outside of school have practically prepared for exactly what my platforms hopes to accomplish. My experience in publications and student clubs have taught me what the students need and what is lacking from the Students’ Union. My experience in leadership through things such as AUS and managing two startups have taught me the difficulties and the challenges that come with management and project development.

Because of my interest in politics I’ve been a part of two different parliament candidates campaigns for different parties. I’ve also been involved with University Affairs and talking with local MPP’s regarding several of the issues that are actually on my platform.

Being a political science with a legal studies option is also going to be a great resource for me. Because of my interest in politics I’ve been a part of two different parliament candidates campaigns for different parties. I’ve also been involved with University Affairs and talking with local MPP’s regarding several of the issues that are actually on my platform. I’m familiar with a lot of what the job is going to ask and I’m also very much prepared because of my experience here at Laurier. Whether it be in school, outside or even academically.”


If president, how are you going to advocate for students on the Brantford/Waterloo campus?

“As someone who started their school year in Brantford, I can tell you first-hand the most significant thing that we need to consider when making decisions as a union for either campus or decisions that affect both of them tat the same time is that these schools’ have completely different dynamics even though they share the same student body. Brantford is integrated into the downtown core and Waterloo is in a slightly more secluded area in the city. I think there’s important lessons to be learned from both campuses and I think that’s the most important thing that, as president, I need to promote and make clear that it is a huge advantage for both campuses to have.”

“For example, there’s projects in Brantford with mental health where it’s a lot more integrated into the community just because of the dynamic of the campus there. Where, here in Waterloo, again it’s a little more isolated within the campus itself and definitely room for growth and expansion into the community when it comes to mental health resources or when dealing with sexual assault.”

Whether that be improving things in market square so when students from Waterloo go to Brantford have a social that they can feel comfortable in. Or, if it’s allowing for bus transports from Brantford to Waterloo so the students in Brantford can come to classes here and use the resource…

“Of course, Waterloo also has incredible resources for Brantford. How I plan to advocate for both campuses is to show that the students that, again, that this is a positive relationship that we have, this is a unique position that we’re in and we need to use the resources that we have on both campuses to help the university grow as one collective unit. Whether that be improving things in market square so when students from Waterloo go to Brantford have a social that they can feel comfortable in. Or, if it’s allowing for bus transports from Brantford to Waterloo so the students in Brantford can come to classes here and use the resources that have been built into Waterloo campus.”


Can you critique one aspect of the current president’s performance?

”I would just like to preface that Kanwar, as a person and as a president, is someone I very much look up to. I got to know him a little bit through political science. He’s a very smart student — I’ve seen him in board meetings and he’s a very capable leader and very intelligent when it comes to the policies and guidelines when it comes to the Students’ Union.”

…he could have been more ambitious with his projects and started new initiatives that would impact the student body directly

“I believe that during his term, if I had to critique one thing, is that he could have been more ambitious with his projects and started new initiatives that would impact the student body directly. By this I mean, projects such as revamping and updating a lot of outdated Students’ Union processes. And just in general, working with some more internal affairs within the school as opposed to advocacy. Even though advocacy has been very big this year and I’m proud of the work the Students’ Union has done under Kanwar’s leadership.”


In your platform you mentioned developing programs for free academic materials. Why is this a priority for you and how might you go about accomplishing this as president?

“This year, the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance, which is a compilation of different university Students’ Union representatives, made it a priority to push for and lobby for open educational resources. This is something that has happened in British Columbia and it saves students upwards of five million dollars. The current Liberal government has shown active interest in providing more resources for universities. I believe that the Students’ Union could do more when it comes to this. Especially internally, they can speak to faculty and facilitate the culture that is necessary for this kind of program.”

I believe that with open educational resources and subsidized textbooks and educational materials we can do that as well. How we can do that is by talking to our faculty and talking to our students and facilitating a culture necessary, all the while continuing to advocate and lobby for further resources…

“The Students’ Union has always done some projects that have seemed impressive for the size of our university. For example, for fall reading week we were one of the unions that really led that charge and really showed that it’s needed and it’s practical as well. With also things like sexual harassment and mental health, the Students’ Union at Laurier has always been a front-runner in advocating for change and progress.”

“I believe that with open educational resources and subsidized textbooks and educational materials we can do that as well. How we can do that is by talking to our faculty and talking to our students and facilitating a culture necessary, all the while continuing to advocate and lobby for further resources that would make this project possible. I do believe that it’s very possible and already in development.”

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