Two of the four WUSA executive positions have only one candidate: VP of Education and VP of Operations.
They’ll face a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote, where they’ll need 51 per cent of voters on their side to get elected.
Only one presidential candidate, Abbie Simpson of Team Vision, showed up to the debate out of the three students vying for the position. Presidential candidate, Kevin McGuire, was in San francisco during the debate and declined to call in while Steven Wong gave no reason.
Here’s what happened at the WUSA executive debate hosted by Imprint.
Vice President of Student Life
Ian Tan is a 1B Geography and Aviation student seeking to expand club support, mental health advocacy, and support student needs on campus.
When asked about improving the quality of student life at UW, Tan noted a lack of “night life” at UW and hopes bringing back the Bomber Shelter will help fill this deficit.
“As a student, I am very studded for the reopening of the Bomb Shelter, I think that will bring a lot more life to the University,” Tan said.
To promote student mental wellness in relation to WUSA wellness days, Tan believes more advertising for wellness days will attract students towards utilizing WUSA’s mental wellness resources.
“By hosting wellness days, I think we need to put more advertising around the school so that more people know what wellness day is,” Tan said.
In promoting student life on UW satellite campuses, Tan believes student societies should be allowed to take a more prominent role in the development of student life on all UW campuses.
“Right now, I think GBDA society, WASA and UW architecture… They don’t really do much in terms of helping students,” Tan said.
Tan believes student engagement is reduced due to clubs having issues accessing all of the resources WUSA offers, often in the form of lengthy procedures and paperwork.
“For example, room bookings take a very long time. When you are a club, and you are trying to book a room for an event a month from now, you will have to literally get started right now,” Tan said.
Nada Abouelnaga is a 3B Biomedical Sciences student looking to make club processes more efficient and help expand WUSA services.
When asked about the quality of student life at UW, Abouelnaga noted the varied perspectives and applications of student life by students on campus. Abouelnaga believes UW has a variety of clubs that are aptly appealing to the diverse definition of student life held by the student body.
“We do have those clubs. We do have cultural clubs… so on so forth I can list them for you. We also have services that appeal to different populations,” Abouelnaga said.
Abouelnaga believes it is important to continue holding WUSA wellness days throughout the year but believes speaking to wellness day leaders and looking for student feedback will also improve the initiative.
“It is important to get feedback from students… so let’s say we are holding an event for students and we do not appeal to a whole lot of the population, having feedback would be really helpful,” Abouelnaga said.
To better address the needs of students on UW satellite campuses, Abouelnaga advocates for the availability of clubs, societies and student services on the campuses.
“Services are not just for the SLC; [the are] for all students. Whether [students] are in the SLC, residences, University colleges or Satellite campuses,” Abouelnaga said.
The campus life fair, Abouelnaga says, is crucial towards maintaining student engagement at UW but encourages its revaluation.
“I think [the campus life fair] is a great way for students to learn about what WUSA has in terms of what it has to offer,” Abouelnaga said.
Manas Suri is a 1B Economics student, looking to shed some light on the issues experienced by first-year students at UW.
When asked about how he planned to bring student life to UW, Suri stated reopening the Bomber Shelter would be essential towards this development.
“I think we will be opening the Bomber shelter for [parties]… including bigger concerts and events so we can also keep in mind the budget. On Saturdays and Sundays, we will be organizing parties in the SLC… I think that is the best part of relieving stress,” Suri said.
Setting up posters and advertisements around the campus is one way Suri hopes to inform students on upcoming stress-relief events in the SLC.
In terms of student life on satellite campuses, Suri aims to provide the services available on the UW campus to the Stratford one.
VP of Education
Megan Town is a 4B Chemical Engineering student who aims to focus on hosting town hall meetings for students, accommodating for public transportation needs and listening to the unique needs of each faculty.
When asked how the candidate hoped to appeal to coop students who feel the University is not enforcing student rights, Town believed advocated for action at a provincial level. Student feedback would also be vital in resolving this issue.
“It’s about seeing if this issue does still exist by consulting with our students. And taking that feedback back to the coop as evidence that they still need to work on this issue,” Town said.
To encourage mental health on campus, Town plans on addressing inconsistencies between student and instructor expectations on course load.
“Your instructor would be required to write ‘you should expect to spend five hours per week on this course’… and then to follow up [there will be] course evaluation surveys,” Town said.
Town hopes to work with OUSA on supporting issues UW coop students are having as well as the overall experience of international students at UW.
“Right now, domestic students have a lot of support from the government. I think it would be great if some of that support were extended to international students as well,” Town said.
Abbie Simpson is a 4A Recreation and Leisure, Social Development Studies student advocating for sustainability initiatives across WUSA’s various operations, support for mental wellness and support for student societies.
Simpson pledges to make collaboration a focal point of WUSA’s operations if elected and believes collaboration is the best way to act out the role of WUSA President.
“One way our team decided to take [collaboration] to the next level was to advocate for more town halls around campus,” Simpson said.
In addition to town halls, Simpson believes listening to student societies and catering to their individual needs is crucial in fostering collaborative efforts between WUSA and UW students.
Simpson hopes to better shape WUSA’s image as a student union at UW by focusing on community building practices.
“Something that I have noticed since I was a first-year student is the lack of community. I want to make sure that we are really taking a focus on engagement,” Simpson said.
With a student housing crisis underway, Simpson emphasis a push for a more effective student housing action plan after attending city council meetings and personally experiencing similar housing issues.
“[We] Would take the housing strategy that is currently being developed and take that and advocate it to the region,” Simpson said.
Alana Guevara is a 4A Economics student who will be focusing on fiscal responsibility and balanced budgeting, the Bomber project, and the availability of more student jobs through WUSA.
When asked about how students would be made aware of the purpose of their student fees, Guevara commented that WUSA is already making sure students are educated before opting out on various student fees.
“If [students] try to come to one of our events and they haven’t paid their fee, we try and explain to them what that [fee] is [for],” Guevara said.
Guevara also plans on helping to oversee the reopening of the Bomber project with the help of student feedback on multiple occasions.“We sent out a survey, and 4000 students answered that survey. What my team and I plan on doing is hosting town halls to get further feedback,” Guevara said. “My job isn’t necessarily to create more jobs but to prioritize the money we do have and give our students more responsibilities,” Guevara said.