The Students' Union wrapped up a week of election forums with a showdown between three presidential candidates, Fri., Feb. 9. Two SU rookies--Andrew Gilchrist and Joel Skaley--contended with veteran Dalmy Baez for the top job in the organization, armed with ideas for change in the organization.
"I'd like to make university more affordable for students in some way, shape or form," said Gilchrist. "An increase in the number of available affordable housing for students, the creation of a calgarystudenthousing.com, an off campus publicly available website."
Gilchrist explained students make good tenants, noting they pay the bills, do their homework and leave during the summer.
Skaley identified his primary goal if elected as increasing awareness among students as to what the SU does for them.
"Turning students from apathetic to being amped up to what the SU is doing," said Skaley. "We're going to be putting out landmarks people can identify with and creating a house band. If people are amped up about the Students' Union, it'd be way easier to get them on board with the external things and academic things we're doing. So, my number one thing is to change the attitude about the SU."
Skaley pointed out a lot of his ideas are things that simply cannot be accomplished in his term alone, and identified a partnership with future SU presidents as the best way of going about seeing his large-scale goals through.
"I want students to feel like they're being more represented," said Baez. "A lot of people don't really like the SU that much they don't feel like we're there for them and I'd really like to change that. One of the ways of doing that is by inviting them to sit on committees."
Even as a member of the SU, Baez noted she still had trouble getting involved and sitting on committees.
In Dec., the SU voted against active protest of tuition increases, attempting to use more diplomatic methods to limit the increase, prompting a question in the presidential forum as to where each candidate stood on the SU's decision.
"The Students' Union voted no for a tuition increase, however they did make this extensive document saying that if you are going to increase tuition, which was likely going to be the case, we want to see these recommendations take place," Baez explained.
While Baez endorsed the decision in Student Legislative Council, she said she would reconsider her position in the next year, based on what she hears from students.
"You've got to give things time to work," Skaley said. "If students are benefiting enough, if we're seeing an increase in the quality of our education, the quality of our university experience, then it's justified. If we're getting our money's worth, then what can you do?"
Skaley also believed it was important to wait and see how things turn out before making a clear decision as to whether or not he would support an increase in tuition.
"I think it's importantly to just symbolically protest tuition hike," Gilchrist said.
Gilchrist also pointed out the difficulty measuring the increase of the quality of the student experience in terms of the percentages noted in the document the SU had submitted during tuition consultation.