Arts Undergraduate Society’s presidential elections come to a close

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Starting on Monday, Feb. 11, Wednesday, Feb. 13 was the final day of voting for the Arts Undergraduate Society’s (AUS) presidential election period.  

The two candidates this year are Alex Hermosa, who will be going into his third year, as well as Jenny Nguyen, who will be going into her fifth year. The current presidents of AUS are Shelby Dockendorff and Alexandra Dickinson. 

 AUS is responsible for 28 different clubs available to arts undergraduate students, such as the Association of Political Science Students, Global Studies Students’ Association and WLU French Club to name a few, providing these clubs with the resources and funding to be able to cater directly to students in those disciplines.  

Hermosa, the current associate vice-president of clubs & associations for the Students’ Union at the Waterloo campus, has centered his platform around clubs, communication and transparency in AUS funding. This is to ensure students know exactly where their faculty levy is going and how each club will be supported by AUS, not only financially, but physically by the AUS executives. 

“Being associate vice president of clubs set me up with a lot of experience and I saw where there was room for improvement and it made me want to run for president,” Hermosa said. 

“There is a decent amount of money that floats around, so I really want to make sure that the way we’re spending the money is really clear to students and how it brings value to their experience outside of academics.”  

“It’s also proving to students more than ever now that there is a value in having AUS, with the changes in ancillary fees from the government,” he added.

Each student at Laurier pays into their specific faculty at Laurier, on top of paying into the Students’ Union; however, due to changes under the Ford government, some of these faculty association fees may turn to opt-put programming if they are not seen as an “essential” service. 

“You specifically pay into your faculty: so I work with a lot of Students’ Union clubs, but faculties will have a little bit more money to work with which means they can put on a lot more programming for students,” Hermosa said.

As for the challenges that come with the presidency, the current presidents hope to continue retention of students within AUS and clubs to provide them with the best co-curricular experience possible at Laurier.

“Usually it’s focussed specifically on integrating that learning beyond the classroom, so APSS which is under AUS, they will do talks and bring in faculty related to political science, so I think that’s a really big part of it.” 

Nguyen has also focused on the transparency aspect in her platform, especially in funding, as every student pays into their faculty; but also transparency in what AUS is and does for arts students, as well as building a strong team to ensure all these goals can be met in the upcoming year. 

“Personally I feel like I’ve been involved in a lot of things here on campus and I’ve learned a lot about my community through my peers, my team, my mentors and everything — and I want to express the importance that you’re more than just an academic student,” Nguyen said. 

“Being president, I feel like expressing that through my leadership — it would make a difference. Being there for the students and just always being there for advice is something the current presidents do and I want to continue that.”  

Voting for the presidents ended at 8 p.m. on Wednesday and the campaign period for both candidates was finished on Sunday, Feb. 10 at 11:59 p.m. 

“I feel like a lot of students go, ‘Oh, what is AUS?’ like when I was walking around campus and telling people to express their right to vote and telling them I was running for AUS president — and I feel a lot of people neglect the idea of AUS,” Nguyen said. 

“I feel like they kind of forget what AUS is or they don’t know; so I think my biggest thing would be promoting to arts students that we do actually have a faculty club, because I know half those students don’t know what it is.” 

As for the current presidents, they would love to see their successor continue on with the hard work they’ve built over the past year to upkeep the standard they have set for AUS as a governing body. 

“I think the biggest thing for me was building relationships with clubs; that was the biggest thing this year, we really tried to get to know the presidents, get to know the clubs,” Dockendorff said. 

“Always, we want to get the most engagement from the general student body. But that’s a hard one to tackle, so the club presidents were a good step for us to go in,” Dickinson said. 

Although both of their roles will be fulfilled by one person in the upcoming year, both presidents are pleased with the candidates and they way the elections process has gone this year. 

“I was really impressed with it, I think that we tried to make sure all the candidates were prepared, it’s great to walk around and see everyone’s posters up, they were coming to us all the time making sure everything was in order. I’m just really happy with what they’ve done and everything their posing is in line with what we want,” Dockendorff said.  

As for the challenges that come with the presidency, the current presidents hope to continue retention of students within AUS and clubs to provide them with the best co-curricular experience possible at Laurier. 

“I would love if the next president has success with first years, because I think that’s something every club and association deals with, it’s hard to get first years involved because they don’t know,” Dickinson said. 

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