Photo provided by Artimes Ghahremani
The Strand reached out to Artimes Ghahremani, VP Internal candidate for the 2017 VUSAC spring election, to ask about her platform and how she plans to accommodate the sustainability portfolio in lieu of a candidate for the commission.
The Strand: Why are you running for VPI?
Artimes Ghahremani: I knew that I wanted to run for VP Internal this year about halfway through my term as secretary. I spent the last year making small changes around the VUSAC office, both in terms of space and conduct, that ended up having a big impact on how well we could serve students. If elected as VPI, I hope to continue the work I’ve started and take it a step further as an executive member.
TS: What makes you an ideal candidate for the position?
AG: My experience in office administration and internal affairs makes me the ideal VPI candidate. I worked as a secretary for several years before being hired at VUSAC, which allowed me to build on my administrative skills. Beyond that, though, what makes me the ideal candidate is my dedication to the jobs I choose to take on, and I would be delighted to take on the responsibilities of the VP Internal.
TS: How do you plan on ensuring that sustainability remains a priority within VUSAC while the position of sustainability commissioner is vacant?
AG: Sustainability, like equity, is something that we need to incorporate into all our portfolios, particularly in the absence of our Sustainability Commissioner. I have tried to do my part this year by running a paperless campaign, as tons of paper and ink go to waste every election season because of postering. I will also look into bringing a compost bin into the VUSAC office, and follow up with Phys-Plant to push for Victoria College to separate compostable materials from the garbage as well. We are also hoping to encourage all our clubs and levies next year to use Greenshift products for their food-based events, an idea brought forward by our current Sustainability Commissioner.
TS: Can you elaborate on the “safety and security” aspect of your platform? What concrete steps are you going to take to try and remedy the perception of VUSAC as an unsafe or unwelcoming space?
AG: This year, VUSAC ran into several problems that I plan to address if elected. In terms of security, there were several instances in which personal belongings and office supplies were stolen from the space. At the same time, VUSAC has a reputation for being closed-off, exclusive, and unwelcoming. This section of my platform is dedicated to ameliorating the VUSAC experience for those who are running now and in the fall. The members of our council are devoting their time to serve the student body, and they should feel safe and comfortable doing so. My one-on-one meetings are meant to check-in on our council members. I plan on taking immediate action on incident reports to make sure their concerns are taken seriously. In order to make the space more secure, but also more open, I plan on moderating council’s use of office spaces, placing restrictions on overnight access, and holding routine events like snack breaks or study sessions to bring students into the office.