For the first time, Students’ Council candidates participated in a SUBStage Forum to present their platforms and answer questions from the floor.
On March 15 and 16, candidates faced off on platform points. March 16’s crew consisted of potential representatives from the Faculties of Business, Education, and Native Studies. Other faculties were represented at the March 15 forum, however there were no Gateway writers available to cover the discussion and thus, no coverage.
The student body will vote on councillors March 22 and 23.
One of the most contested races for councillors is the Faculty of Education. Five candidates are running for three seats, including Malcolm McSween, Emily Howell, Kara Farris, Jonathan Barraclough, and James Thibaudeau.
Candidates were asked how they plan to maintain close ties with their faculty association, the Education Students’ Association (ESA).
Howell, a third-year French Secondary Education student, recognized the challenges Education students face as they often are off-campus on practicums.
“Connecting with the ESA, as well as our fellow students, is most effective to be online,” Howell said. “I am hoping to open up monthly consultation times for concerns to be brought up.”
Thibaudeau, a past vice-president for the ESA, emphasized the need to keep a presence and connection. If elected, he said he would like to attend all ESA meetings and have the Education councillors contact information advertised.
“Right now we do not have a strong connection with our councillor,” Thibaudeau said. “I would like to change that.”
As the past ESA liaison commissioner, Farris underlined how she would continue the newsletter initiative that begun this year. She also outlined her plan to create a meet and greet event in for Education students.
“I would like to communicate with our social commissioner to organize an event in September,” Farris said. “(This is) where students could come in and meet their councillors as well as their ESA representatives.”
McSween, another past vice-president for the ESA, described the asset his professional and personal ties with the people running for ESA executive positions would be.
“I think it is important to make sure that the ESA knows what Students’ Council does,” McSween said. “I think right now not many on the ESA know what Council does. I want to create that back and forth conversation.”
Barraclough plans to apply his leadership experience as an officer in the Canadian Armed Forces to the position. He hopes to take his training and experience in a team setting to represent students.
“I want to create a friendly environment for the ESA as well as talking to students,” Barraclough said. “I want a great open dialogue. I will work closely with the ESA and the faculty as their representative.”
Nathan Sunday, current Native Studies councillor, is running for re-election in an uncontested race. He was asked how he hopes to improve representation if elected.
“I think I did a really good job of representing aboriginal students,” Sunday said. “Something I could work on is better collaboration with other (Students’ Council) councillors.”
Third-year candidate for the Alberta School of Business Will Swain stressed his goals for greater Students’ Council transparency and accessibility. He hopes to improve promotions of services offered by the Students’ Union to his home faculty. The second candidate running in the race, Connor Palindat, was not present for the forum.
“I am incredibly excited to represent this faculty,” Swain said. “I hope to have bi-weekly tabling sessions in the School of Business so all students have the opportunity to make meaningful and impactful connections while raising their concerns in a face to face manner.”