Candidates fight for student vote

One candidate had withdrawn, but for the other three, it was game on.

After the shock of candidate Zahra Sultani’s last minute resignation wore off, the remaining three candidates in Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union presidential election had to get back to the initial reason they gathered in the Concourse Tuesday afternoon. For Nolan Kreis, Michael Onabolu and Jenny Solda, it was time to make their last impression on the voters before they hit the polls.

The presidential candidates took questions from current and former WLUSU execs and directors and the general student population as the largest crowd of the day gathered for the final event of the WLUSU open forum.

After opening statements, current WLUSU president and CEO Nick Gibson went to the mic with a specific question for each presidential hopeful. Kreis, Onabolu and Solda went on to address the often-contentious issue of communication with union members outside the so-called ‘WLUSU clique.’

“Obviously we do have that issue, it’s been outlined in the majority of our platforms if not all,” said Kreis. “Working with the marketing department we have here at Laurier and in the Students’ Union would be a great asset.”

Solda and Onabolu expressed similar sentiments, with Solda focusing on potential partnerships with WLUSU’s marketing department, as well as various areas around the university. Onabolu discussed the possibilities of getting students informed about WLUSU before they even arrive at Laurier.

Later the candidates were confronted with the issue of mental health at WLU, something that has been a topic of debate since a proposal to add school days to orientation week in favour of instituting a fall reading break didn’t make it to a vote at the Laurier Senate. All the candidates acknowledged that the two were separate issues.

“They’re two different things,” said Onabolu. “There’s a lot more issues that surround a fall reading break other than just how it affects orientation week.”

“I am the biggest lover of orientation week, but as much as I love it, there are some serious changes that need to happen with it,” added Solda.

A student then raised the issue of study space on campus, which each candidate discussed in their platforms.

“It’s a pressing issue,” said Solda, who the question was specifically aimed at. “I chose to [propose using the Turret] because we have direct control over that space. I wanted to take advantage of the space we have.”

Onabolu, meanwhile, focused on making existing study space such as the library and the Science Building Atrium more efficient by adding lighting and extending hours.

“No matter what we do, there’s not going to be enough study space for everyone on campus, it’s just a size issue,” he said.

“But what we can do is improve the study space that we already have.”

Kreis discussed the study space issues facing Laurier Brantford, explaining how the campus shares a library with the city and only has a few designated quiet areas for studying.

Towards the end of the forum, Ted Brown, who currently sits on the university’s board of governors, asked them to identify their standing representative on the board and outline how they intended on working with that person.

Onabolu was the first to point out that Brown was the standing rep and outlined how the two had already met to discuss how they would work together. Kreis then acknowledged that Brown was the board rep, however the two had not yet spoken.

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