Meet your WUSA presidential candidate Nick Pfeifle


WUSA presidential candidate Nick Pfeifle wants students to know that he and his party, Renew Waterloo, are ready to bat for students.

Pfeifle, a fifth-year nanotechnology engineering student, is running on a platform of improving WUSA’s governance structure, advocating for students’ co-op rights, and holding UW accountable for its environmental footprint. He is the presidential candidate for the Renew Waterloo party, which also consists of its five director candidates: Rida Sayed, Theresa Nguyen, Emma Lee, Nush Majra, and Daud Khan.

Pfeifle said that creating Renew Waterloo was “an effort of finding people with shared interests, with shared strengths and strengths in different ways and trying to find a team that has a deep respect for each other and for the seriousness of the subject matter.”

Though only one member of Renew has previously sat as an officer for WUSA, Pfeifle said that from the team’s perspective, due to their similar interests and backgrounds, “it was a case of ‘hey, if we’re going to get in there, we might as well get in there as a team so we can work together to make sure that the … advocacy that we’re doing is a unified front.’”

Pfeifle explained that he was inspired to run after experiencing much frustration over the past year with the transition to the new governance model and unnecessary systems of bureaucracy and hierarchies. He cited the system where the president selects the subcommittees for the university senate as one example of unnecessary hierarchies, stating that when a new president comes in who hasn’t worked with the senate before, “there’s not a lot of dialogue there, and the president is by default assumed to be any higher role or more experienced than the other.”

When explaining the need to improve WUSA’s governance structure, Pfeifle pointed out the effect that WUSA’s transition from a council to a board model had on who is able to run for office. “One of the big things that sticks out to me every time is how handcuffed we are to the whims of provincial legislation,” he said, referring to Ontario’s not-for-profit corporations act which prevents political refugees and potentially those who have experienced identity theft or hospitalization for mental illness to run for officer positions as a “shame”. Pfeifle also criticized the new structure for replacing the bicameral system, which formerly included the student council, board of directors, and executive, with one singular board of directors.

“Board is a very limited body within regulation because we’re not acting as a student government, we’re acting as a nonprofit corporation and a nonprofit corporation isn’t built to really work as a little democratic organization. So we lose a lot of the democracy,” he said. He acknowledged that though the student council may have been poorly attended, it gave students a formal setting in which to voice their concerns, something he says is now missing.

To mitigate the issue, Pfeifle aims to move the advocacy committee to be directly under board so that it is “student controlled to almost its entirety,” and to establish regular town halls to provide students a place to voice their concerns to a body “separate from … the day-to-day operations of WUSA”.

Regarding his co-op platform, Pfeifle said that due to issues he’s witnessed like a lack of effective student consulting from Co-operative and Experiential Education (CEE) and an overall lack of regulation, he hopes to lobby CEE for better protections for students.

He expressed frustration with the “company first mentality within co-op,” stating that they seemed to ignore “fairly obvious” solutions such as the stable marriage algorithm, which he suggested was one imperfect but potential method of ensuring more students get jobs.

“[The co-op student council is] something that I’ve exclusively seen abused to present incredibly negative policy changes to other bodies on campus with the quote-un-quote ‘approval’ of students. It’s ridiculous that we’re continuing to allow them to walk all over us and giving them the rhetorical ammunition to do so,” Pfeifle said. “But I think we are willing to go to the negotiating table before we would take any drastic action.”

Pfeifle said that he and his team hope to carry their previous successes in student advocacy forward if they were to be elected. These include Rida Sayed’s work to drop Campus Wellness’ six-session limit and Nush Majra’s ongoing project with the Waterloo Engineering Endowment Foundation to revitalize campus spaces.

“We’re not just good intentions. You’ll see that … it’s not just through our words, but it’s also [through] our actions that we’re trying to prove to the student body, how much we care and how much we’re putting on the line,” Pfeifle said.

Voting for the WUSA general elections opens at 12 a.m. on Feb. 12. Students can vote online at