Photo | Hana Nikčević
In the current VUSAC 2017 Spring election cycle, an uncontested council is being decided upon by students. Each position, besides Board of Regents, is running unopposed. Candidates have been campaigning their platforms on Facebook, by talking to students, and at the VUSAC Townhall, held on March 17th. An efficient council depends on an informed student body. The Strand officially presents students with every candidate’s platforms on one convenient page.
Zoe Ritchie: Academic and Professional Development Commissioner, Victoria University Senate
Ritchie hopes to make networking, research, and academic opportunities more available and accessible. They will specifically focus on connecting students to the abundance of services offered at Vic like the Writing Centre and Research Centre. Additionally, Ritchie wants to improve access for students to mental health and financial aid services. They also seek to strengthen ties between VUSAC and the Alumni Affairs and Advancement Office to find ways that best represents what students want.
Stephanie Spagnuolo: Scarlet and Gold Commissioner
Spagnuolo aims to continue the high numbers of ticket sales and more open availability for Highball, as well as the use of Google Forms for event registration, and for collecting critiques from the VCU community. Giving more options to students in terms of the types of events available is another part of Spagnuolo’s platform—like creating both dinner and dance tickets for Highball and other alternative and “low-energy” events for students during events like Highball.
Shailee Koranne: Equity Commissioner, Board of Regents
Koranne’s platform focuses on the differences between equality and equity, as explained by the fact that “equality” as a focal point of policy provides opportunities that are not open to everyone. If elected, Koranne explains that, because they are unable to represent every identity at Vic, partnering with cross campus organizations such as VicPride!, the Muslim Students’ Association, Black Students’ Association, and the Native Students’ Association, each group will have a platform to represent themselves. They hope to enforce equity training for the council both semesters, which will provide a year long, well rounded awareness of equitable practices. As a Board of Regents candidate, the main initiative is to provide a direct line of communication for equity issues and concerns on campus.
Artimes Ghahremani: Vice President Internal
Through a paperless campaign, Ghahremani aims to practice proactivity by addressing interpersonal disputes immediately. They are running on a platform that seeks to welcome all students by creating opportunities, and where the VUSAC office will be an accessible space for students for “other reasons than just printing,” as Ghahremani stated at the VUSAC Townhall.
Gabriel Calderon: Commuter Commissioner
Calderon wants to provide representation of commuter voices within the council, as they are a dominating demographic at Vic. If elected, improvement and integration of commuter students with other student groups at Vic, such as VOCA, will be a priority. The hope is to expand variety at VOCA pancakes each week! This includes more toppings and gluten-free/vegan options. Calderon hopes to continue the current Commuter Commissioner portfolio as he found Khouzam to have done an exceptional job.
Katie Cohen: Vice President External, Victoria University Senate
Cohen hopes to maintain a positive relationship with the Dean’s Office where the voices of students are heard and treated fairly. They will also work to connect students with programs offered by the Dean’s Office that often remain unattended, due to the lack of coverage by student fees. Cohen is running on a platform to reevaluate and discuss alternative options for events. A major part of this will be reintroducing a mass Calendar for student clubs/levies/groups so that information is streamlined. Also, Cohen hopes to bring in niche clubs and give underrepresented groups a voice and platform for events within VUSAC.
Zahavah Kay: President
Kay has three major pillars to the Presidential platform: transparency, equity, and support of clubs and levies. By publicizing votes in meetings and organizing one-on-one consultations before budgeting periods, Kay hopes to improve transparency within council members. Under Kay, equity training will be implemented for both semesters, which leaders of students groups, residences, and levies will be invited to attend. Working with the Dean’s Office to begin a fund for students participating in unpaid internships is also a part of Kay’s platform for equity. VUSAC members will show support for other student groups by being mandated to attend at least three club/levy hosted events.
Blànaid McNally: Arts and Culture Commissioner
McNally aims to promote effective transparency of the commission through social media and verbal engagement. By working closely with The Bob and VCDS, there would be more emphasis on content warnings before shows to ensure safety and comfortability for all students engaged with the arts. McNally wishes to continue the Blue Moon cafe which was reintroduced to Vic two years ago. Their platform hopes to implement more casual program-planning that engages the Vic community through fun activities that serve as de-stressors from school.
Isaac Khouzam: Board of Regents
After serving as Community Commissioner for Victoria College, Khouzam hopes to apply prior experience on the council, coupled with his sound judgement and ability to be a team player. Khouzam hopes to influence more substantial outcomes for Victoria College’s interests as a whole. In addition, they hope to strengthen the connection between commuters and Victoria College. They will also work towards balancing and listening to the interests of all active groups in the Board to achieve peaceful cohesion.
George Wilson: Board of Regents, Victoria College Council
Wilson hopes to enlighten others as to how the Board works in this position, ultimately allowing an adequate representation of student voices. The duties and roles of student representatives will be advertised more efficiently, through both Facebook and increased presence at events like Caucus. They previously served as a Board of Regents member for the Victoria College Union and will utilize such experience to promote effective implementation of student feedback.
Hannah Brennen: Board of Regents, Victoria College Council
Brennen hopes to push the expansion of Northrop Frye Hall to accommodate more study spaces, a multi-faith prayer centre, and more appropriate class sizes. Brennen also aims to advocate on the Board and Council for all-gender washrooms. They will promote a more accurate portrayal of Victoria College with more depth and less on aesthetics. Brennen will encourage the publicity of the review system available that can be utilized by students to share their concerns for Victoria College.
Alexa Breininger: Board of Regents
Breininger hopes to make representation and diversity their highest priority on the Board of Regents by challenging opinions in the Board’s decision-making process. Breininger’s platform highlighted property being one of the major focuses for the upcoming year, hoping to make campus a more inclusive space overall.