By: Lorelei Kenny & Morin Mawhinney
Justin Clory is a third-year political science major who is currently an Arts Rep on the SU council and a representative on the SU Advocacy Team. Although he claims to be involved with other committees and initiatives, he does not outline them on his website. Clory divided his platform into three sections: engaging, adapting, and learning.
His biggest strength is that he understands the role of a leader. He recognizes that the job of the president is to look at the big picture, “I’m the type of leader who tells his team, look, these are our responsibilities, this is your portfolio, run with it. I’m there to critique, challenge and support my team members. I’m not there to shut down ideas unless I absolutely must. I think one’s time as president should be spent looking at the big picture, being there to support the VPs and the councilors.”
Clory’s most attractive idea is his plan to spread SU events around campus. Many events are hosted in the Student Centre. He recognizes that many students do not spend much, if any time, in the Student Centre. He wants to bring events to different buildings and believes it will increase the opportunity for the SU to engage with more diverse groups. Clory’s number one priority is engagement.
He plans to increase engagement through expanding communications by increasing SU’s activity on social media and addressing students more frequently through surveys.
What’s unique about Clory’s platform is that many of his ideas focus around making changes inside the SU and its current processes. If elected, he plans to change the election calendar to create better competition and dialogue. He also plants to create more detailed report systems to make transition week smoother and open up discussion with MAPUS about joining the SU.
Where he falls short is his involvement around the campus; it is limited to the political science society and SU. He presented no connections to NSO or the international student body, two bodies of people he is hoping to engage. He also put forth the idea of moving council meetings to McMillan Hall. (What happened to spreading SU events to other buildings?) Sure it is a larger place but how will the council go in-camera when discussions are privacy sensitive?
When asked about how he plans to continue relations with student advocacy groups CASA and CFS he says “I think they both have a place.” He explained that in his opinion, CASA does a great job being at the table and talking with the government. Whereas CFS is valuable because of its media presence.
Clory is pragmatic and most of his ideas are plausible. Moreover, he is very familiar with what the SU has accomplished in the past, and with the ins and outs of the SU. Yet, it is unclear whether he has established strong connections with a diverse number of groups on campus.
Hammad Ahmed is a third-year engineering student who has been actively involved since he first arrived on campus. He started volunteering at Student Affairs and the International Relations Office. Since then has held several leadership positions on campus. Ahmed was President of the Society of International Students in his second year and is currently the Buddy Program Coordinator and the International Rep on the SU Council. He also mentioned his involvement with SU’s New Initiatives and Future Directions Committee. He has also actively been involved with NSO every year.
Ahmed’s platform revolves around four main points: creating an inclusive campus, campus food options, intersectional awareness, and universal accessibility.
He recognizes the disconnect between the SU and diverse groups on campus. He has had many students express to him that they feel segregated in the sense that they do not feel like a part of the larger campus community. Ahmed plans to strengthen that bond by expanding communications by widening the social media platforms to include “WeChat” and other platforms familiar to the international community.
Ahmed also wants to lengthen promotion periods for SU events, notes that many times this year advertisement for such events was not out early enough, and believes this will increase sales. Hammad also remarked that many of the SU and UPEI services are underutilized, and plans to increase awareness about them.
This candidate also wants to explore putting printers into different buildings on campus so students do not have to walk to the library. (But really… The library is never more than a 6-8 minute walk from any point on campus, are multiple printing areas across UPEI which is a relatively small campus worth the cost? Probably not.)
One of Ahmed’s most unique ideas is his plan to create a subcommittee, spearheaded by the Clubs Coordinator made up of various councilors and executives from clubs and societies, with the specific function of campus-wide networking, collaboration and getting feedback.
In the past, Ahmed has negotiated with Chartwells to bring Halal food options to residence. If elected, Ahmed plans to work with them again to negotiate expanding their offerings further, saying, “If you have five dollars in your pocket, what do you do? It is currently very hard to get affordable food on campus!” He also wants to increase the number of vending machines in building so students have more access to cheap snacks.
When asked about how he plans to continue relations with student advocacy groups CASA and CFS he says “If either organization offers help that we need I plan to work with them and make use of their services which we (UPEI students) all pay for.”
Having lived in residence, actively participated in every NSO since his first year and held many leadership roles over the past two years it is evident that Ahmed has built strong connections all over campus and is actively part of many of the communities that he wishes to further engage. At the same time, he does not seem as well versed on policy and processes.
He ended his discussion with The Cadre by saying, “I want students to know that I Hammad Ahmed am not running for this position for any political purpose, I’m doing this for students, I want to help students. Lastly, all the points in my platform are from you all.”
Sam Ferguson, who is running for President, is a third-year Political Science Major with a Minor in Business. His past involvement with SU councils, such as Advocacy, Street Team and Clubs Committee gives him a relative knowledge of the SU’s inner workings. Having run in previous elections, Ferguson has learned that creating a concentrated platform he feels passionately about, is more effective than attempting an all-encompassing game plan. “Don’t try to be everything to everyone,” he explained wisely.
With this in mind, Ferguson has composed his platform around three main themes: “student convenience, consolidating programs and interests, and long-term advocating.”
At first glance, several of Ferguson’s platform points seem to be treading on the toes of Vice President of Student Life and The Cadre, such as the planning of theme weeks, putting together event calendars, and creating videos regarding current events around campus. Ferguson remained unphased regarding the crossover, though, and explained that the SU will act “as a team,” mentioned the possibility of working with The Cadre to create said videos, but also asked if there were any rules prohibiting the SU from producing their own footage.
His other ideas include negotiating with Trius Transit for outcomes related to student weekend travel and route changes, as well as references to rideshare models. When pressed further, though, the outcomes that Ferguson hopes to see regarding student transportation were vague and unclear, along with how he plans to achieve them.
Since student convenience is one of Ferguson’s overarching goals, he also hopes to create special offers on food for students at The Wave, and others locations that were not specified “around town.” His plan of action to achieve these meal deals is based on the “open dialogue” the SU has with Chartwells, but Ferguson failed to go into detail.
Undoubtedly, one of the most relevant problems to face this year’s election candidates is The Wave. Both visually and monetarily, most candidates hope to remake it. Ferguson address this prevalent issue by saying, “I hope to find funding for moderate renovations and new marketing.” This is a noble goal, however, due to the Student Center Refresh Program, they are goals that have already been put in motion, including consulting with a designer.
Although Ferguson claimed to be up to date with these developments, this particular platform points comes off either uninformed or lacking concentrated thought.
Monetarily speaking, the campus pub is currently producing no revenue whatsoever. By having a background in Business, Ferguson tackles this with an entrepreneurial eye. It’s a risky move, but by lowering food prices, he hopes to bring in more customers to The Wave, and therefore more revenue. He, however, mentions that he would need to view a complete audit of The Wave to talk on the subject further.
Finally, Ferguson’s platform also includes a desire to inform students better of the underutilized benefits of the SU. The examples he uses are the Health and Dental Plans.
Overall, this candidate has obvious determination and resilience. But in order to get past the “candidate” stage into the presidency, he will need to prove to the student body that he takes the election, and the SU presidency, seriously, by providing ideas with more in-depth research, and plans with more detailed action.