It’s that time of year again. Posters are plastering the walls, self-important student politicians are interrupting you on your way to class and there’s a guy standing in the front of your economics lecture dressed like Woody from Toy Story. It feels like the first snow of winter.
We love the Students’ Union election, which is one of the reasons why we make this supplement that you’re currently reading. Just like how all these folks are passionate about serving the student body and bringing change to campus — or getting that sweet resumé line — we’re passionate about informing students about who’s running, what they want to do if they’re elected and how likely it is that they’ll actually get those things done.
On Family Day weekend, we compiled a panel of our staff, cleaned the office, put on some nice clothes for once and interviewed (almost) every executive and Board of Governor representative candidate in this year’s SU election. Each interview follows the same format: We give each candidate up to five minutes to pitch their platform, then spend 10 minutes asking them questions. After that, we write up these little profiles to help inform students about the crowd of candidates.
There’s a number of pressing issues at the forefront of this year’s election, but the biggest theme is change. Upcoming provincial and federal elections could mean significant political shake-ups both in Alberta and throughout Canada. Plus, new University of Calgary president Ed McCauley is settling into his job. If there’s any time to push for change external to the SU, it’s now.
Beyond that, issues surrounding Open Educational Resources, Bermuda Shorts Day, MacHall redevelopment, policy reform, long-term financial stability for the SU, mental health and sexual violence are all central to one or more of the contested positions in this election. These are things that affect all students and SU elections have a significant impact on how those issues are handled. It’s your electoral duty to elect competent officials to represent you. Take that responsibility seriously.
In addition to the elected positions, this year also has a referendum for increasing the SU Volunteer Services fee from $0.75 to $1.50 for full-time students per semester. You can read our thoughts about that in our editorial at the front of this supplement. We’ll also have news coverage of the referendum throughout the campaign period online at thegauntlet.ca.
Don’t just read our candidate profiles and endorsements. Read the candidates’ submitted platforms on the SU website, attend some forums — or the Gauntlet’s presidential debate, taking place Feb. 28 at 2 p.m. in
MacHall’s Cassio A/B — and ask candidates questions yourself.
And make sure to vote through your myUofC student centre from March 5–7, ya turkeys.
Vice President Student Life
The vice-president student life is in charge of student clubs, events like Orientation Week, Frostbite and Bermuda Shorts Day, as well as mental health and overall student wellness initiatives. Pick a candidate who understands all parts of the portfolio and is enthusiastic about campus life.
Alisha Gordon is acclaimed as vice-president student life. That being said, she is an excellent fit for the role, having served as an elected student-at-large senate representative for two terms as well as in various committee roles on campus.
Gordon has plenty of experience with student clubs and her passion for their role in student life comes through in her platform.
Gordon is well-versed in the student life portfolio and knows her platform inside out. Her strongest platform point involves engaging with student clubs to increase awareness of the SU, provide better access to conference and event spaces and streamline workshops such as ClubHub101 to make sure they are interactive and meet the needs of club executives.
Mental health is another strong component of Gordon’s platform. She wants to ensure that there are more culturally diverse resources for mental health and that professionals on campus are capable of taking a trauma-informed approach to mental health, something she feels is currently lacking. Ensuring students feel safe in The Den and that staff receive bystander intervention training is one of her concerns. Gordon also wants to expand on her predecessor’s Stress Buster workshops to ensure they work with clubs’ stress-less initiatives, rather than competing with them.
The weakest portion of Gordon’s platform is her understanding of the way the Dining Centre operates. She feels the current system is exploitative and encourages unhealthy eating habits with the ‘all-you-care-to-eat’ program. Gordon means well in this area but should work on fleshing out concrete ideas and solutions to the various issues that exist with the Dining Centre’s meal plans. Gordon also hopes to work closely with Dinos Athletics to increase attendance at sporting events. She should create a concrete plan for this as well.
Overall, Gordon is a competent, passionate advocate for student life. We don’t love acclamations, but we can’t complain that it’s Gordon who got the role.
• Student-at-large senate representative, 2017–18
• Vice-president external, Faculty of Arts Students Association, 2018
• Committee member, Indigenous Strategy Working Group, 2016–18