Hopefuls gear up for election
On Monday night, candidates running in this year’s Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union elections were allowed to begin their campaigns in hopes of securing votes for their desired positions.
This year five students stepped forward to run for WLUSU president and CEO, with 18 running for board of governors, three for senate and two for board of governors. Last week fourth-year students Annie Constantinescu, Caleb Okwubido, Daniel Saad, Chris Walker and fifth-year student Jennifer Taborowski all stepped forward and announced they were running for president.
This is the first year since 2010 that five candidates were present at the beginning of the campaigning period, but one was removed for violating campaign rules. This year has also seen some new rules regarding where candidates can campaign on campus.
In previous years, passive campaigning was regulated, but this year it won’t be, which means that candidates can spread their campaign through the majority of campus, including WLUSU businesses.
“It was a lot easier to manage now that there are a lot less WLUSU businesses, because it doesn’t extend into the Terrace,” explained Sean Madden, chief returning officer for the WLUSU elections. “We wanted to provide a couple more spaces, a couple more common, easily accessible, popular spaces for people to work.”
However, Madden explained that this new freedom will be regulated based on candidate’s own common knowledge. For example, while they are allowed in the 2-4 lounge near the WLUSU offices, they shouldn’t be actively lounging around in the area.
“It’s union space, so they might as well be able to use it . . . but a lot of it will be common sense,” he continued.
While there are new regulations regarding physical campaigning, there are no new rules regarding how candidates can utilize social media outlets.
“We appreciate hat there is new social media out there, and it’s going to be touch and go to see how that’s handled, but generally the rules are pretty much the same [as last year],” explained Madden.
This year, four Brantford students are running for positions on the board, which is one more than last year.
“I want to make sure that Brantford and all students have a voice, I pretty much know students on both campuses; I’ll want to make both campuses have a voice and be heard,” said Nicole Gamsyager, a first-year Brantford student running for BOD. “I’ve been involved in student advocacy throughout high school and different groups, so I think I would make a good team member to the board.”
Colin Aitchison, a first-year student from the Waterloo campus running for BOD, also expressed issues regarding student’s voices being heard on both campuses.
“I feel like there’s a disconnect between the Students’ Union and the student body, especially as a first year, and if it hadn’t of been for my icebreaker I don’t think I would have known what the Students’ Union was, so I kind of want to fix that,” he said. “I feel there’s also a disconnect between the campuses, [so] I’m going to go out there everyday and talk to students, and make a few trips to Brantford to talk to students there; I just want to make sure I get everyone’s voice.”
While Gamsyager and Aitchison are running to ensure that students’ needs come first, returning candidates, such as Jordan Epstein and Matt Casselman, are running because they feel they can continue work they have started this past year.
“In my year as vice-chair I’ve learned a lot about the board, especially on getting the training on how to be chair,” Epstein explained.
“I really want to help continue the organization on its path and make some improvements as well, and make sure that we have a really strong board.”
Other candidates, however, are running for a position simply because they have strong feelings for Laurier.
“I think it’s a really great opportunity to get involved with the school,” said John Pehar, another first-year running for board.
“Laurier’s a school that I really do love, and I’ve grown a love for it so early.”
Despite their reasons for running, Madden left the candidates with one important tip to remember: “You win by being the best, not by being the last one standing.”