Photo provided by Gabriel Calderon
The Strand sat down with Gabriel Calderon, Commuter Commissioner candidate in the 2017 VUSAC spring elections.
The Strand: Why did you decide to run for the position of Commuter Commissioner?
Gabriel Calderon: I want to run because I am already involved with VOCA, so I see this as a next step, as a challenge, and just because I want to help commuter students out.
TS: Why are you specifically a good fit for this position?
GC: I’ve been commuting the past three years, and the fact that I’ve worked with VOCA extensively and I see it as a next step and as a challenge
TS: Why do you believe campus life is important?
GC: My first-year commuting took a toll on me, and I didn’t know what to do. It was just going to class, and doing the work, and going home. It was kind of boring and depressing. It wasn’t until the second half of my last year that I finally got involved. It has really improved my experience at Vic, so hopefully by becoming commuter commissioner I can help other students get involved and hopefully see improvement in their lives in the same way.
TS: How do you plan to involve commuter students more into campus life?
GC: A first step would be during orientation week. I am also going to be doing orientation as an exec, so I think it’s very crucial to reach out especially to first year students [to let them know] that there are these opportunities that they can take advantage of in their first year. If they take advantage of them, it is likely that they will continue to, throughout the rest of their university careers.
The second step is just through the regular VOCA events for commuters—for example, the pancakes every Tuesday. A lot of people go to those, even if they are not normally involved at Vic. There will be at least a sense of community for them, and something for them to do, and hopefully that will be a gateway for them to get involved. The reason that I wanted to get involved was to be involved in the pancakes; that’s how I ended up joining VOCA, that’s why I’m here now.
TS: Regarding the current portfolio, what is one thing that you would keep from this year and one thing that you would change?
GC: I think last year they didn’t [run a game of] assassins, and this year we brought it back in a better and more inclusive form, which has had a lot of people excited. That is one aspect that has been successful.
One thing that I would not do… I can’t think of anything right now. I think they did a pretty good job. Karen [Indraatmadja] has had some really good initiatives, and so has Isaac [Khouzam]. It’s pretty much a matter of building upon what they have done, instead of dismantling things.