This October, the SFUO is holding a by-election to fill vacant positions in the Board of Governors, Board of Administration, and university senate. The election will also determine the new SFUO president, vice-president of services and communications, and vice-president of finance. The vice-president of services and communications was left unfilled after the previous SFUO election. Former president David Gakwerere resigned before the semester began, and former vice-president of finance Taylor Davidson resigned in September. Students can vote from Oct. 21-23 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Anne-Emilie Hebert—Fourth-year, science with specialization in psychology, minor in women’s studies
Hebert wants to make a positive impact as president by making the campus more inclusive.
“We are not an accessible campus for those that are disabled in any form,” she said. “I’ve broken a leg and had to go up three flights of stairs in Tabaret because the elevators were out of service that day.”
Hebert said she would change the way the SFUO deals with the university. “In the past they’ve been a bit aggressive, so for sure we won’t be taking that approach,” she said. “We’ll be having more discussions, discuss what are the issues with the students, and to really try to get them to understand our point of view.”
One of Hebert’s main focuses will be the cafeteria. “First year students who are residents being forced to use the meal plan should be among the things we discuss,” she said. “Also how we lost student space, and how we should be able to sit in the cafeteria.”
Hebert said her main role as president will be to support the various vice-presidents in their endeavours. She wants to present a unified front. “The main goal is to be accessible,” said Hebert. “We need to have better equality and inclusiveness on this campus, and that’s what I will be fighting for.”
“I just want to be there for the students, and be visible,” she said. “Hopefully the students will be more aware of what’s on campus and what we are offering, because they do pay money for our services and they should know the amazing things that are offered.”
“She’s really amazing, she’s a powerful woman who’s in charge of her life when asked which fictional character she’d most like to meet, Hebert selected Alicia Florrick from The Good Wife.
Vice-president of services and communications
CT LaRochelle—Fifth-year, political science and administration
CT LaRochelle says he wants to be the vice-president of services and communications because he wants to implement a consistent communication strategy. “The entire approach needs to be changed, and what I want to do is be more inclusive,” he said.
LaRochelle, who previously served as an executive of the Economics Student Association, said he hasn’t been too impressed at what he’s seen from our student representatives of late. One of the first things he plans to introduce is a way to measure how effective SFUO services are. “Right now there’s no publicly available standards, statistics as to how goals are achieved,” he said.
Another key focus for LaRochelle is to re-introduce an online voting system, which was abandoned in 2010 after the U.S.-based company refused to work with the SFUO, following complications. “We’re living in a time where we have a plethora of tech companies that can create a viable online voting system,” he said, which would vastly improve voter turnout.
LaRochelle said he supports the “yes” campaign on the health care referendum. “Honestly I feel like it’s a no-brainer.”
“If I brushed up on my Latin, Cicero,” said LaRochelle, on who he’d like to meet if he could meet anyone. “He single handedly did so much for languages everywhere and political thought and all kinds of thought.”
Roméo Ahimakin—Third-year communications & anthropology
Roméo Ahimakin, is running for the vice-president of services and communication position, after serving in the position as the interim, as well as the interim president.
“I know that students should vote for me as vice-president of services and communication because I’ve had, for the past six months, a wonderful opportunity to work in that capacity, and I’ve been able to do a lot of great work,” he said. “I’ve been able to build new and diverse ways of communicating with students.”
Ahimakin said he’s been working on bringing information on the SFUO’s 13 services directly to students, as well as revamping the service’s logos. Ahimakin said they’ve been utilizing different social media platforms, created a snapchat account, and sent mass emails to reach out to students. Alongside the other executives, he’s participated in weekly outreach.
If elected, Ahimakin plans to pursue the development of “an app for the student community” to help students interact with each other and the SFUO.
He said he’s already put in the work to research student apps at different campuses across the country. “Building that app would enable students all over campus to be aware of different activities that are happening.”
He’s also working on reaching out to students for the General Assembly, which is scheduled for later in the semester.
Ahimakin said if he could meet anyone, it would be the late French comedian Louis de Funès.
“He opened the door to so much when he started doing comedy, and also, he had a lot of strong opinions on how people should express themselves.”
Melanie Malo—Fourth-year, translation minor in Spanish
Melanie Malo says her experience working with the Faculty of Arts will help her as vice-president of services and communications. She served as the vice-president of communications for the Student Federation of the Faculty of Arts as well as vice-president social for the Translation Students Association.
“I’ve worked with the faculty on numbers of occasions over the past three years,” she said.
She also hopes this will help her deal effectively with the university. “I’ve developed a good relationship with my faculty, and would like to develop that relationship with the (university) administration too,” she said.
She also wants to make the SFUO more present in the lives of students.
“One of my goals is to improve accessibility of information,” she said. “Focusing on bilingualism and making sure everyone finds out about the information.”
Her proposed methods include a new events calendar on uoZone, promoting events on campus, and better communication between federated bodies at the university.
“Everyone is different, they find their information in different ways, and it would be great to reach out to different kinds of students.
Malo also wants to use data from SFUO elections, General Assemblies, and other events, to gauge the SFUO’s performance. In addition, she wants to collect data on student opinions.
“I want to do a campus-wide ‘what do I want?’ survey so students can tell me what they want improved,” she said.
“I would love to have dinner with Paul Walker,” said Malo when asked who she’d like to meet if she could meet anyone. “He was my role model for a long time, he was a humanist, an environmentalist … he was a genuine person people can look up to.”
Nicholas Robinson—Second-year, physics
Robinson wants to make the SFUO more accessible to the student body, by using the Internet more.
“This is the year 2015,” said Robinson. “There are a lot of possibilities we can use safely and effectively through the Internet to get our message across.”
One way he plans to do this is through promotion on social media, which Robinson calls “an underutilized platform.” He also suggests updating the website, including updating the clubs listing and adding online petitions.
As for relations with the university, Robinson is unhappy with how things were handled in the past, and wants to see a less adversarial approach. “We need to work with the university, not against them,” he said. “It’s just a matter of coming together, trying to make a consensus, and trying to make gains where we can.”
Robinson wants to make sure “It’s important that the SFUO spend students’ money responsibly,” he said. “It’s important that the SFUO keep a balanced budget and not go into debt.”
Robinson said good fiscal management will be key, especially with tuition fees steadily rising. “The SFUO needs to make sure that it’s not adding to that burden,” he said.
This means using money effectively, he said. “No more spending $10,000 on fireworks.”
“This isn’t our money, this is students’ money,” he said.
“Well,” Robinson said when asked who he’d like to meet if he could meet anyone, “The guy that first comes to mind is Carl Sagan.”
“He’s been a huge influence on my life, reading his books pushed me towards going into physics, and I think there’s a lot we could talk about.”
Camelia Touzany—fourth-year Human Kinetics
Camelia Touzany says her goal is to see that what students want is reflected in the budget.
“My job will be to ensure a balanced budget that truly reflects the needs of students, and most importantly that the services and projects that students care about are prioritized,” she said.
“I’m going to make sure the budget is transparent, just like the previous VP finances have done,” she said. “I’ll also work closely with the VP social to see which events can be more accessible.”
She also wants to improve online procedures, including adding online clubs registration.
As for relations with the university, Touzany said she’s already noticed a change over the past few months. “They’ve done a phenomenal job re-establishing good relationships with different federated bodies, with the administration, and clubs and services in general,” she said. “I’m going to continue to do that.”
“I think my role model would be Angelina Jolie,” Touzany said when asked who she would like to meet if she could meet anyone. “She’s pretty badass, and I feel like she could educate me on a lot of things because she’s involved with a lot of charity work,” she said. “She’s definitely someone who could inspire me.”