By: Zach Geldert & Elizabeth Iwunwa
It is student union executive election season! As a preamble to the March 1st debate, hosted by the SU and moderated by the Cadre at 7:00 pm at the Wave, we sat down with all the candidates running for executive positions. Each candidate was asked to outline their platforms and the key points in it. The Cadre then posed questions about the practicality, specifics, and the implementation methods that the candidates would use to achieve their policy goals.
Taya is a third-year political science student who has been heavily involved with student organizations on campus including being a managing editor at the Cadre and director of communications for the SU. A self-proclaimed “policy nerd”, she is an independent candidate who openly supports Justin Clory in his bid for the SU presidency.
Taya’s focus areas as VPAX will be increased student engagement through increased polling and diversification of the UPEI advocacy team. Her policy-oriented goals include advocating for open educational resources and more experiential learning opportunities for students from all faculties.
When pressed about how she would frame her advocacy for experiential learning opportunities for the student enrolled in fields of study that typically require advanced education, Taya said that she would advocate for the ‘opening of existing co-op opportunities” to the larger student body.
Another concern that the Cadre expressed was how her endorsement of Justin Clory may be seen by some of the electorates as an effort to conglomerate power within the executive, essentially having two voices speak as one.
On this worry, Taya assured the Cadre that while she and Justin share some similar opinions, they are not afraid to go against each other. Furthermore, she characterized their relationship as a “working” relationship, quashing fears that the SU executive would be dominated by a singular group of friends if she and Justin were to be elected.
Taya was knowledgeable about the inner workings of the SU and the what would be required of her if elected to the VPAX position.
The Cadre sat with Eric Brookins, third-year 2+2 transfer business student from Holland College and contender for the position of VPAX. Right off the bat, it was evident that he was a straight shooter, dishing out his platform points and expanding on them swiftly. He, however, quickly began to veer towards issues particular to the roles of the President and the Vice President Student Life.
He emphasized student engagement as an issue he hoped to tackle during his time as VPAX if elected. The rationale behind this, he explained, was that it was impossible to make effective and efficient policy/advocacy requests if the constituents at the receiving end were not consulted.
Brookins spoke of status updates on policy and advocacy developments. At the moment, there exists a log of advocacy interests in progress but no updates available when advocacy wins go through.
With regards to Open Educational Resources, he stated that he would encourage faculty and create a framework for members to utilize said resources, especially for introductory 100 series courses.
When asked about the role his potential office would play in the indigenization of UPEI, Brookins’ response made it evident that he was not well-versed on the issue. He stated that he believed Indigenous Studies courses should be made available but not made mandatory.
This candidate possesses a working knowledge of the Student Union which is quite remarkable being that he has been at the university for less than a year. Eric has done his groundwork in meeting with current executive members but needs to focus on his role and sell points besides the buzz phrase “student engagement”.