The race to the board of directors

Photo by Will Huang

Photo by Will Huang

The race is underway for the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union board of directors.

The campaign period for board of directors opened last Monday evening, at which point the official candidates were free to begin actively campaigning across campuses.

Though candidates have since been affixing posters, promoting themselves across social media platforms and engaging with members of the Laurier community in person, most have opted to ease themselves onto voters.

“It looks like it started off slower than most past years, which I actually like because it shows that the candidates are focusing on being students more than running,” said Colin Aitchison, chair of the board and chief governance officer.

“A lot of the times candidates’ academics slip because they feel that they have to go all out all the time, and then they burn out by the end of the race.”

This year’s candidates are unique not solely in strategy, but in numbers.

The fear of the possibility of low candidates turn-out or acclamations, as has occurred in years past, were dispelled when an incredible 20 nomination packages were submitted by board of director hopefuls.

“At first I was kind of nervous, but I think we got 10 or 11 nomination packages in that last 45 minute gap [before the deadline], for the board specifically,” said Aitchison. “We thought we were going to have to reopen, but then we didn’t.”

High candidacy this year, in particular the increased number of female candidates, is seen by many as a positive indication that interest and engagement amongst students is on the rise.

“It’s definitely nerve racking to see so many candidates,” said Shannon Kelly, candidate for the board of directors.

“But it’s good to see because this is a really important position, and realistically it really should be elected because they’re making major decisions like approving the budget.”

Turn-over, a common feature in all student run organisations, has been much discussed in this election given the low number of directors who have opted to run once more. Though the high volume of fresh faces will inevitably bring an adjustment and learning curve, the benefits which accompany this diversity will be an asset to the board.

“Amongst this year, when we had the new directors that came in, we had people from [Residence] Life, we had people from science, so we have all these different perspectives that come in and bring all these different voices to the board,” said Jonathan Ricci, current board member re-running for the board of directors.

“It will be very interesting to see when it comes down to decision making, that we hear all these voices.”

With such an array of candidates, the Students’ Union is hopeful that this will motivate the student body at large to make their choice known come election days on February 3 and 4 to increase voter turnout.

“Whether I get on or don’t get on, I’m just excited to see so many people involved in an election,” said Ricci.

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