Brantford representation during Students’ Union elections: Matching the student perspective of a growing campus

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Photo by Nirupam Singh

With the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union election around the corner, student participation in the democratic process, especially from the Brantford campus, will be more crucial than ever to inform how the direction the next academic year will take.

With one Brantford candidate running for the position of President and two for the Board of Directors, representation from the Brantford campus in the Students’ Union election will be lower than it was in comparison to last year, which saw five in total. 

Talha Naeem, the sole Brantford Presidential candidate, is not concerned by this. In contrast, he and his campaign team have been preparing the rest of the campus to be as involved during the election season as possible.

“Brantford students are much more informed per person as compared to Waterloo students in terms of elections,” Naeem said. 

“We have spoken to every single group of the students on the Brantford campus and had a conversation about ‘why is this representation important?’” 

As Brantford has changed from a small-sized to mid-sized campus, with the acquisition of additional educational and administrative buildings, so too must its representation as a school increase as well.

“We can hold our organization accountable and make the strong statement that we are not just a small campus that nobody cares about. We are individuals and we have a strong voice.”

Naeem is convinced that what must be included in this expansion is one of the “student perspectives” as well.

“We need to let the Brantford students know how we are advocating on their behalf. If they need better food services, if they need something like Wilf’s or [the] Turret, if they need multi-campus transportation, if they want to be acknowledged and recognized — what is the way to do that?” Naeem said.

“That is only possible if we have representation equally from the Brantford campus and for that, it’s up to Brantford students to decide whether they want to be involved in the process or not.” 

Candidates like Naeem are showing more resolution with regard to the issues that Brantford is facing as a campus, especially when it comes to showing how strong their collective voice is. However, to do that, he urges active participation in the election process. 

“This is their chance to vote and show a strong voice and it’s an opportunity for me to reach out to my fellow students and talk to them and let them know ‘hey, we can make this happen through this election, through this annual general meeting,” Naeem said.

“We can hold our organization accountable and make the strong statement that we are not just a small campus that nobody cares about. We are individuals and we have a strong voice.”

Despite the reservations or physical distance that may make the Brantford campus feel ostracized, alienated or isolated from the Waterloo campus, it is this year’s election that will set the tone of the level of involvement Brantford students will want to have in the upcoming year.  

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