English and Cultural Studies Level IV
Justin Monaco-Barnes’ unusual MSU-related experience as the service coordinator for Underground, the Union’s media and design service, makes him a standout. His campaign shows that he is in touch with student and campus needs, as his platform discusses several of the major themes in this year’s election: sustainability, student costs and campus space.
Building on current MSU President Ehima Osazuwa’s commitment to lowering student costs, Monaco-Barnes aims to make courseware more affordable by having students print it at Underground. As the service coordinator of Underground, Monaco-Barnes’ experience with affordable printing is pushing him to expand the service’s ability to offer courseware at a lower price.
Yet, the critical consideration of how much money would really be saved through reduced courseware prices definitely comes into question. Despite promised price cuts of up to 30 to 50 percent, the unfortunate reality is that the financial benefits from this are pennies compared to the fortune students pay for tuition.
Making a direct impact with regards to environmental sustainability is another principle aspect of Monaco-Barnes’ campaign. He plans on working with McMaster to address the recycling issue on campus, and perhaps even the implementation of solar panels and low-flush toilets across campus.
“We need to take advantage of our relationship with McMaster and the Office of Sustainability to ensure that we are not just doing grassroots things like creating awareness, but actually investing in the infrastructure itself,” he said.
Monaco-Barnes’ charisma combined with his genuine passion for a greener tomorrow may have a shot at winning over students who are indifferent to environmental awareness. “A lot of this has to do with creating that passion,” Monaco-Barnes added. “It is my responsibility if I want to see change, to become that change itself… I want to act and hopefully inspire those around me to think the same way.” However, with Jonathon Tonietto’s campaign focusing strictly on sustainability, environmentally conscious voters are faced with a tough decision.
An expansion of The Pulse is something on the minds of many of the presidential candidates, Justin Monaco-Barnes being no exception. With a number of complaints being expressed regarding the overloaded gym, Monaco-Barnes’ campaign hopes to facilitate and support this expansion in the interest of the student body.
A discussion on an expansion of The Pulse is already underway by the Athletics Department. “It’s really for us partner with them and to work alongside them,” he said, “as well as to aid and assist with what they need to ensure that everything happens effectively and efficiently with student needs in mind.”
Although The Pulse expansion would certainly be beneficial for much of the student body, the role which Monaco-Barnes would play appears small. It is doubtful if the involvement of the MSU in the facility’s expansion would be truly impactful. Additionally, it is unclear why in his online platform Monaco-Barnes’ expansion of the Pulse is presented as a novel idea rather than as an initiative that is already in progress.
His platform also addresses the topic of bursting the “MSU Bubble.”
“There has been conversation throughout campus that the same individuals have been doing a lot of the same roles and keeping all the MSU activities internal,” he said. “What we are really looking at is expanding the MSU into regions of the campus that don’t normally get touched upon and creating more opportunity for a wide scale of students.”
With a strong and clean image but no strong focus on a particular issue, the debates will be important in determining where Monaco-Barnes stands relative to the other candidates.
In his words…
Most ambitious platform point
Candidate platform you are critical of
Mike’s Student Life Centre
“I think it will end up costing students more money, and I’d rather look at what can we do with what we have, as far as addressing space.”
For or against VP Referendum
Opponent you would vote for
Photo Credits: Jon White/Photo Editor, Michael Gallagher/Production Editor