What each Students’ Union presidential candidate has planned for student life

With the Students’ Union  election closer than ever, the future of the undergraduate Laurier experience is in the hands of this year’s candidates; Shane Symington and Ezra Ceniti. 

One of them will be directly responsible for overseeing the union that represents the over 19,000 undergraduate students at Laurier. Simply put, the candidate who wins will determine whether the following year will be akin to a blockbuster college movie or resemble a depressing indie flick. 

Each candidate has his own ideas for how to ensure a student life that is equal parts welcoming and enjoyable. Symington plans to increase engagement through a range of events, from Fantasy Sports pools to Bachelor and Bachelorette viewing parties, along with more hockey nights in the Turret. 

If elected, he would introduce a “Battle of the Houses” event inspired by Western’s “House Olympics” in which Laurier student houses compete via Instagram to see which is the most fun. He also wishes to increase wellness services, such as puppy therapy and peer support groups. 

Ceniti has included the needs of off-campus students in his plan, proposing the continuation of virtual programming next year and a hybrid model for events during busy times. In addition, he would allow Laurier’s Off-Campus Advisors (OCAs) to request funding for transportation to events. 

He also hopes to allow reimbursements for OCA purchases that go towards event prizes. To further show appreciation for off-campus students, OCAs would be part of the icebreakers team in orientation week. 

As for building a welcoming culture, Symington aims to replace the SU’s dismissal of drinking culture with initiatives that promote safe partying. 

In collaboration with the Center for Student Equity, Diversity and Respect, as well as Laurier Students’ Public Interest Research Group, he will promote equity-deserving clubs. He also wants to make an annual event of the walk-out that occurred on Sept. 23, where students stood in solidarity with those impacted by gendered and sexual violence. 

Candidate Symington seeks to make menstrual products free on campus through funding by suggesting a $1 undergraduate fee to make this possible. 

Social justice is also important to Ceniti, who wishes to introduce mandatory disclosure training for SU volunteers. He plans to invite the Board of Directors, institution members and campus clubs leaders to join. He will also enable the possibility of anonymous identities on the current violence, harassment and sexual violence form. 

Through a “Filter before you fill” campaign, Ezra’s goal is to improve the cleanliness of drinking water on campus and save students’ time. We’d be able to report replacement requests for drinking stations to SU, who would help Laurier buy quality filters and track how many are needed. 

So, will next year be a blockbuster college movie or depressing indie flick? It’s up to us, and our equally promising candidates, to decide.

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