Candidates address students at GSA open forum

On Thursday, March 25 the Graduate Students Association (GSA) held their open forum, introducing candidates and providing them with the opportunity to speak about their goals and answer student questions.

The two presidential candidates, Christinia Landry and Adam Melnik, spoke about their qualifications and platforms, demonstrating what their plans are for next year if they are elected to office.

“I want to build on graduate students’ visibility… I’m going to be able to give a voice to what graduate students need,” said Landry.

Landry also pointed out that if she were elected one of her main focuses at the start of her term would be to work on parental leave bursaries for students who are new parents. This would provide those students with a percentage of their TA ship or scholarship while they are on maternity leave.

Melnik discussed his intention to work towards a sustainable future, getting involved with the Laurier chapter of Net Visibility to look at opportunities such as a solar power project to cover utility expenditures.

He also hopes to benefit from his experience in the MBA program, not only applying what he learns in class to a role as president but also in involving the MBA’s more within the GSA.

“[Current GSA president] Melany [Banks] has done an excellent job getting MBA students involved with the GSA, historically there have been no MBA reps on the board….I’m really excited to continue developing that relationship,” said Melnik.

Also speaking at the open forum were board of governor candidates Javaid Iqbal and Paula Bryk. Both spoke of their vision of sustainability at Laurier as a main priority, while Bryk mentioned how her experience at the University of Waterloo taught her to appreciate that at Laurier, students are faces rather than just numbers. Iqbal pointed to his experience at the University of Guelph, and his Innovative Leadership Recognition Award, as beneficial to this role.

In addition, the acclaimed candidates spoke, sharing their vision for their next year at Laurier.

Melissa Skerritt, acclaimed vice president of advocacy, discussed her desire to make sure that all student voices are heard, and plans to make herself available to all programs to respond to student inquiries and issues.

“I really feel that there is an inconsistency in [hearing student voices] right now,” said Skerritt.

Julian Mason-Espin, the acclaimed vice president of finance, hopes to enhance their current network and use his experience in the MBA program to properly look after the GSA finances.

Sarah Quinlan Cutler, acclaimed senate representative, is currently standing as the graduate student senator and explains her excitement at the opportunity to continue in that role.

“It’s exciting to learn about how the university operates.”

Not present was the acclaimed vice president of student life, Jeremiah Beggs.

Polling for the GSA elections will be available online on Tuesday, March 30 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the results will be announced and ratified at their AGM at 6:30 p.m. that evening.