By: Clint Maramag
NOVEMBER 16, 2020 – Vying Vice President for Student Life (VPSL) and President candidates for UPEISU gathered at the Fox & Crow to reflect visionary tenacities to prepare for the upcoming by-elections on November 23rd -24th, 2020.
The VPSL are Nathan Lacroix and Anthonia Bebiem, while Riley Mackay and Akshay Bhaskar are for President. Each candidate was given a chance to introduce themselves and platforms to the public during the opening statement. After the opening remarks, candidates answered general questions about their agendas and explained how they would hope to accomplish their plans if elected. Candidates were then given the floor to discuss with their competitors the questions they had for each other. The moderators also picked some constructive questions from the audiences for the candidates to answer.
Starting with the VPSL candidates, Lacroix emphasized the revamping of Fox & Crow for students. He wanted to make the school pub more accessible for students, especially on the weekends. He believed that this revamp would provide practical and safer options for students. Additionally, he wanted to host more events for students that could accommodate the diverse environment of UPEI while giving students the platform to voice out any concerns as they represent the union.
Bebiem embraced the theme of listening and serving. She proposed the idea of a panther clubhouse where check-in sessions can happen during the start, middle, and end of a semester. She mentioned that this would be a way to address any genuine concerns that students may have since the gathering’s primary goal would be to assist the students of UPEI as they try to ease back into the new normal. Additionally, she also brought up the importance of mental health for students while reinforcing the diversity of UPEI.
The general discussion between the VPSL candidates reflected mutuality from their proposed goals while dissecting some of their specific goals for the public. In the end, both parties gave thoughtful perspectives that reflect their initiative to lead.
Through the Presidential candidates, Mackay brought up the importance of reconciliation and support for international students. Having been part of the UPEI Blood Team and UPEISU Health and Wellness Representative, Mackay got more inspired to help students in need. He acknowledged the hardships students face, such as housing, finance, and mental health struggles. To sum it up, a solid and unifying network was something Mackay vowed to accomplish for all students during these difficult times.
Bhaskar had a year of experience being in the council of UPEISU and represented the board of governors for the current academic year. He wanted to step up his responsibilities to greater heights by running as a president for the by-elections. He brought up issues about parking around campus and planned to refurbish the system to an optimal state. Additionally, he also wanted to start a Student Excellence Program and form an entrepreneur club for students.
The discussion between the presidential candidates sparked some questions regarding specificity on how they plan to accomplish their proposed goals. The exchange of remarks between Mackay and Bhaskar still reflected a mutual determination, nonetheless.
Voting for the by-elections will happen on the 23rd – 24th of November! Be sure to check out the social media accounts of UPEISU for more information on how to vote! Vote wisely!