Photo by Kyle West
On Jan. 26, two days after Josh Marando was elected the next McMaster Students Union president, The Silhouette sat down with Marando to discuss his campaign experiences and goals for the future. The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.
First thing, how are you feeling, and how have the past few days been?
I think I’m still a little bit in shock. The past few days have been a bit of a wild whirlwind. I wasn’t expecting to hear as soon as we did. Last year, I knew that they heard at, around 3:10 a.m, so when Ikram called me at 9:00, I wasn’t really sure. I thought she was joking at first. I really expected her to say, ‘Just kidding.’
What did Ikram say?
I just remember her saying, ‘Congratulations to the president-elect,’ and then I said, ‘You’ve gotta be freaking kidding me today.’ I really just needed to make sure that she was right… that she got the right number [and] she got the right person.
Who did you tell after? Who was the first person outside of the team?
The first people I told outside of the team were my parents. I sent a nice little text in our group chat just saying that I won. And then after that, a lot of phone calls kept coming in.
Was running for president something you’ve thought about for a few years?
So it’s definitely something that’s always been in the back of my mind. Before I decide to run, I talked a lot to the MSU vice president (Administration) Kristina Epifano. I was like, “What do you think I should do? If I don’t run for president, I would likely run for vice president (Administration).” But then I was talking to MSU president Ikram Farah and she said, ‘It just like seems like your goals are bigger than that. It seems like you would really benefit from being in this role and it seems like your ideas would really benefit the students by being in this role.’
Over these 12 days of campaigning and several months of planning and deciding that you wanted to do it, what did you learn about yourself?
I learned that I’m more capable than I think. I remember the biggest thing that made me nervous was making a platform. But I think when that started to come together, that’s when I really became confident in the idea that I could do this role.
Why do you think students voted for you? What about your platform or you personally appealed to them?
Something that we really try to do is just talk to students and see what exactly they wanted, and also some things that they would have wanted when they were in first year. Because in reality, I think that’s something that’s said very often. People are like, ‘Oh, the MSU president doesn’t really do much.’ But that’s really not true. They do a whole lot. It’s just that there’s very few things that can happen in one year. Often times, you see the changes made by a president the next year or the year after.
What are the first platform points that you’ll address after your term starts?
Obviously there are some projects that are easier to do than others. I have no doubt that we’ll be able to make the MUSC student lounge and I would love for that to happen by the start of next year, so I’m probably going to start working on that.
What is your message to students now?
The first thing is, thank you to the students who did vote. Even if they didn’t vote for me, I’m still happy that students were engaged and I just want students to know that my care for students didn’t end when election night ended. Now that the election is over, that’s when I feel like I need to talk to students even more because, in reality, I’m here to represent them, not only during the election, but for the rest of this year and next year.