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Louie Villanueva

Student life candidates focus on events, mental health at forum

By Fabian Mayer, February 25 2016 —

The four Students’ Union vice-president student life candidates — Zehra Buzreba, Austin Campbell, Graham Duff and Patrick Ma — attempted to distinguish themselves in a relatively crowded field at an hour-long forum in MacHall on Thursday afternoon.

Current vice-president student life Kirsty McGowan hosted the forum, which drew a crowd of 40–50 students.

Buzreba highlighted her plan to tackle loneliness on campus by reaching out to less engaged students with frequent events in MacHall.

“This school needs to constantly encourage students to meet each other,” Buzreba said.

Campbell focused on his theme of community. A start-of-year event called “Community Unity” featured prominently in many of his answers.

“It would get everybody on campus to know each other early in the year,” Campbell said. “That way throughout the rest of the year students would already have a network established.”

A new start-of-year event is also central to Duff’s campaign. “MegaDen” would create an expanded first Thursden of the year.

“MegaDen is a combination of the MacHall concert venue and the Den to create a BSD-type event inside of MacHall to start the year off on a fun note,” Duff said.

Ma, who enlisted former vice-president student life Jonah Ardiel to help run his campaign, touted his work on mental health initiatives.

“I really want to focus a lot on mental health on campus,” Ma said. “We need to make sure we’re dealing with the real problems students face on campus.”

Political science student Cory Fingas watched the forum but remains undecided.

“They all talked about different things and obviously had different levels of public speaking skills,” Fingas said. “Whether or not that’s the most important trait of a vice-president student life is another question.”

SU election voting days are March 1–3.

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