Election process begins for WLUSU

Photo by Jessica Dik

Photo by Jessica Dik

Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union has already begun preparations for student elections this coming winter.

Elections are held annually to allow students to elect their peers into a variety of positions, from the board of governors which governs the business aspects of the university, to the Senate which addresses academic operations.

There is also the role of president & CEO of the Students’ Union, as well as the board of directors, who advocate for the student body at the administrative level.

This year, the Students’ Union has already released all policies and nomination packages and have begun their promotional campaigns.

“We’re doing these like little pieces about people who have been in the Students’ Union, people who have been successful in their elections,” said Bianca Anderson, assistant chief returning officer for the Students’ Union. “Those pieces go out periodically while we’re leading up to the campaign season.”

Nomination packages are available at the U-desk, online, as well as at the WLUSU offices on both the Waterloo and Brantford campuses.

Students from either campus are eligible to run for all positions. The board’s goal is to accurately represent Laurier’s student body, an aim currently undermined by the gender disparity amongst representatives. This year, there is only one female on the board.

“So the board isn’t actually indicative of our students. I’m pretty sure our student population is 60:40, 60 per cent female, so ideally that would be the goal,” said Anderson. “It’s maybe not going to happen in one year, but it’s like a long-term plan to have the actual campus represented in the board.”

WLUSU is hoping to draw in potential candidates through promotion of the post-graduation benefits and skill transferability of these positions.

“One of the big reasons any student comes to Laurier, or any university I guess, is at the end they want to get a job,” said Colin Aitchison, chair of the board of directors. “We want to highlight the importance of roles like this in regular corporations.”

However, certain requirements of the roles have been altered to ensure candidates are in line with the student aspect of the role, such as requiring elected representatives to be enrolled in a minimum of one class per semester during the year in which they run.

Students with an interest in running have the remainder of the semester to consider their applications, with nomination packages due January 18. This will be followed by an all-candidates meeting that evening, with campaigning officially commencing the following day.

This will give students the opportunity to share their platforms with the student body prior to elections days, being held on February 3 and 4.

Marketing to voters has already begun, with WLUSU representatives meeting with members from Residence Life to encourage awareness amongst first-year students.

The Students’ Union’s broader campaign, #LaurierVotes, will also continue to market the benefits of being engaged with politics to students. It is a campaign to encourage a higher turnout. The campaign began with the federal election, though organizers are certain the best route to a higher voter-turnout is by increasing student involvement with the election.

“We want a higher candidate turnout than we had last year,” said Aitchison. “Hopefully a higher candidate turnout will also reflect a higher voter turnout.”

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