At least meet them before you vote
1. Why did you want to meet here of all places?
2. Aside from wanting to represent students, why are you running for this position?
3. What sets you apart from the other candidates?
4. What is something that students may not know about you?
5. Candidate-specific questions
Nolan Kreis (interviewed in the BRAC West Building, Brantford)
- To be completely honest, this is what I’d say is my ‘home riding.’ I’m from the Brantford campus and I don’t think the Brantford campus gets a whole lot of exposure. Obviously the majority of the student population is in Waterloo and that’s completely understandable that a lot of events and stuff happen there, but it’s always nice to be in your home setting.
- I came in here in my first year right from O-Week, I saw how WLUSU was and really wanted to be a part of it and the whole experience for me has been phenomenal. In my second year I became an icebreaker and learned more about what WLUSU was like. In my third and fourth I became a general volunteer and was on different committees and this past year I was a coordinator for promotions. I kept taking the next step and the next step and then I thought to myself that there’s never been a Brantford president before, so I thought to myself kind of half-heartedly that I’d run for president. After I’d put that thought in my head I kind of ran with it and did a lot of the research into it and what the position entailed. Starting right from September, I put in a lot of research, talked to a lot of people from both campuses. The more I found out about the position, the more I found out about the electoral process, the more I wanted to get involved and I’m really glad I took that next step.
- I definitely think what separates me is that I just have more knowledge on one campus over the other and the same thing goes for them too. Obviously they might know a little bit more about Waterloo than I do, but I definitely know more about Brantford than they do. That’s not taking a stab at them, that’s simply stating that I’ve spent my entire five years on the Laurier Brantford campus, I know the ins and outs of it. Obviously I try to understand Waterloo by meeting with all the people down there I possibly can but my points for Brantford are very sound.
- Something voters might not know about me is – I know I don’t look it – but I’m extremely involved in sports, I played fastball all throughout when I was younger. I’ve been going to provincial tournaments since I was 14 and to two national championships. I played rep hockey for a while. I’m the extramural captain for our dodgeball team here in Brantford.
- How would you bring Brantford more into the fold if elected?
Especially with the new structure that they have in place here, it’s a multi-campus governance structure so the idea is to equally represent both campuses. What I’d like to do personally would be to be down in Brantford a lot more.
I’d definitely want to get a lot of the VPs down here too, a lot of the VPs will be hired out of Waterloo, I understand that, but I’d really like to see them come down here a little bit more and see what this whole campus is about. If you asked the average student from Waterloo, ‘What do you know about Brantford?’ They might go, ‘There’s a Brantford campus?’ I’ve gotten that response before.
Are you concerned that being the ‘Brantford candidate’ will eclipse other things you have to say to voters?
I’m definitely fighting an uphill battle I think because people automatically see that you’re from Brantford, ‘why should we vote for you when we have three candidates from Waterloo?’ I’m trying to get my voice out there as much as possible.
I try to keep in regular contact with some people in Waterloo, so I’m definitely trying to make sure the fact that I’m from Brantford doesn’t eclipse what I’m trying to do. Obviously it would be cool to be the first president from Brantford but that’s not the only reason I’m running. There are things I bring to the table that I think I could do the best job possible and if I didn’t feel that then there’s no reason to be running for president. I really do hope people look at my platform, people can see what I’m trying to do and all in all if they think my platform is the one that they agree with most, I hope that they vote for me.
Michael Onabolu (interviewed in the SBE Building)
- I love being on campus because you get to see your friends and people around and what’s happening but I find it difficult at times to be able to work in the Concourse or in the atrium or wherever, but this spot is perfect because it has everything you need, it’s functional and the ability to be able to see out and see everyone on campus – I still felt connected to campus, I still felt engaged in the Laurier community but I was doing my own thing, taking care of my own business.
- My first day at Laurier, I remember going into the Athletic Complex, seeing 2,000 students going crazy and the energy in the room. Colin Lefevre came up to the podium and I remember thinking, ‘This guy is the president, what is the road to become something like that?’ It just seemed so far off but was always something that was in the back of my mind. [In] third year I was set to be a don which I thought was exciting because I’ve done all these different areas and I’ve always had in the back of my mind that it would be cool to be president. Donning happened and because of all the things I’d committed to and some personal things that came up it proved to be too much for me and I ended up taking a term off, I had to drop out of donning and drop out of my courses. That was a really difficult time for me but people still kept reaching out to me to ask how I was doing and if I was okay. I was going through a state of depression and the fact that people were still trying to reach out to me and see if I was okay and just cared, it made me really examine my own life and I had to dig deep to find my own care for myself.
Thinking about all my experiences and the growth I’ve had at Laurier, I wanted to ensure other students got that opportunity to excel academically and in social interaction opportunities that we have on campus.
This is that role I can actually do something powerful with. I wanted to try that, to test my own limits and see if I’m able to do this. It’s a challenge for me, which I like because it allows me to grow more.
- Some things that are unique to me are that I’ve been involved in this kind of a role from a very young age. I’ve always been working with different groups like school boards. Having that innovative mindset as well as that mindset of ‘how can I advocate on behalf of students or on behalf of people who aren’t really having a voice,’ I’ve always kind of been in that role. A lot of my experiences really complement the role I’d be stepping into.
I love telling my own story and hearing everybody else’s stories. I make a lot of time for my friends or make a lot of time to talk to someone because it’s just the best part of life for me, interaction. This is an opportunity for me to just live that. I feel like this role is just something I live in my day-to-day life. I’m going to be paid to focus on supporting students? Why wouldn’t I want to do that?
- I really like science fiction, I like comic books and anime and things like that. I really like world affairs so my perspective on a lot of world issues and my perspective on life in general are kind of formulated by what I take in from the media and also what I see in literature. I always see a message in anything that I read, so even in science fiction I have that whole dreamer kind of mindset.
- What do you think you bring to the table that can have the most tangible outcome for students?
I think mental health and awareness and support, tangibly speaking I can do a lot with that. All the candidates realize that this is a big issue and something we should work towards fixing and I’m sure everyone has dealt with some kind of mental health issue in some form or some way but I guess for me uniquely I really battled with it, it was something very real and very scary.
Secondly campus safety […] I know how important that is. I’ve had friends that have been jumped or attacked or many worse things and I hate that I couldn’t do something there then to be there for them. This is my opportunity to establish something where structurally we are working for the betterment of students. Those two things are big and near and dear to my heart, not that other things on my platform aren’t as important […] but in terms of how those issues have touched me, it’s something I want to really push for.
Jenny Solda (interviewed in the Dining Hall)
- There are a couple of reasons, my platform is about communication and I have found especially through campaigning that the dining hall is the easiest place to openly have a conversation with students because most aren’t studying, they’re eating so they’re willing to have a conversation and you’re not disrupting peoples’ studies. Another reason is part of my platform is outreach to first-year students and given my experience with orientation week, I’m very passionate about the first-year experience. I wanted to come somewhere where – this is where first years spend most of their time – and bring a focus on first-year students and the importance of mental health and different programming opportunities available for first-year students.
- The reason I decided to run for president was over the past four years I’ve been involved in a lot of different capacities whether directly within WLUSU or through campus clubs and after all those experiences – especially through board – it gave me an insight into what the president does and how the WLUSU offices operate. I really wanted to take the work I’ve done and translate it into this position. I started to think about leaving after four years and I just realized I wasn’t done yet, I wanted to give Laurier back so much of what it’s given to me. It’s enabled me to develop into a strong student leader and also given me the best student experience I could ever ask for.
- I think what I bring a little bit different is first my experience, I have been involved in a lot of different capacities across the university for the past four years.
I just have a fairly heavy experience in different areas within the school so I have a very good understanding of what the students’ union is because I’ve been part of most of it, which is a little bit different than most of the candidates. Candidates don’t have so much experience across the table – it’s usually concentrated. I think my other thing is my passion and drive for student experience and student leadership opportunities. I always tell people that I want to stay at Laurier for the rest of my life, I love this school more than anyone could ever know, I am so passionate about it and I just want to take that passion and put it into the position.
- I’m fairly well known because I’ve been a head ice and if you know me or have seen me around, students know that I’m very high-energy, I love cheering, I love being wild and fun and a very high energy student, but something students may not know is that I am a business student, I have worked in that atmosphere a fair amount so I can be professional when need be. That’s something a lot of students don’t know about me, yes I’m a lot of fun and can be the fun, relatable student, but at the same time because of my experience through different work opportunities and my actual schooling, I can be extremely professional and have serious conversations and ask those hard questions and hold the university accountable but also work with our own vice-presidents and employees to make sure I’m accountable to the role. I will be a professional manager to them. A lot of students view me as this fun, go-lucky person but actually have a dual personality in that sense.
- How would you respond to criticism that some of the platform contents of this year’s candidates may not be attainable within the role of WLUSU president?
The thing I was very careful about in my platform was that I wanted to make sure everything I put in my platform was attainable. Anything I don’t have direct control of is in the advocacy and representation section. I was very, very clear to identify that I am advocating on behalf of students for these things that may not be attainable – for example food services, increasing study space, Internet, everything of that sort.
It might not happen in a year, as we see with the Internet, each year it slowly improves but I will work towards that. Everything else in my platform that isn’t under the advocacy section is 100 per cent achievable. I wouldn’t be able to get up in front of students and promise them something I can’t give them.