Photo by Matty Flader / Photo Reporter
Giancarlo Da-Ré is a Level V chemical biology student at McMaster.
Da-Ré has held several positions within the McMaster Students Union, including Creating Leadership Amongst Youth part-time manager, Spark sessions coordinator and Horizons leadership developer. He is currently the residence orientation advisor for the Peter George Centre for Living and Learning.
Da-Ré’s platform highlights three areas that serve as umbrellas for 14 actionable points: accessibility, climate action and student experience.
To address accessibility concerns at McMaster, Da-Ré proposes six points.
The first point proposes a new MSU website that is both easier to navigate and in line with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
His second point aims to increase the number of McMaster courses that use Echo360, a system that records lecture audio and visuals and stores them online for students to access. The MacPherson institute is one of the partners that Da-Ré would work with to fulfill this initiative.
Da-Ré’s third point calls for an environmental audit of the McMaster University Student Centre. His platform states that the building is currently physically inaccessible and that an audit could be used by future years to inform MUSC improvements.
Citing mental health difficulties as one of the largest concerns for students, Da-Ré’s fourth point plans to advocate for additional Student Wellness Centre counsellors. He would also raise awareness of the Student Assistance Plan, a free online platform that offers psychological counselling to McMaster students among other services.
Da-Ré also aims to address financial barriers to being a Welcome Week Representative by introducing a voluntary “Welcome Week Rep Suit rental program”. Currently, rep suits cost approximately $60, with additional costs for extra decorating supplies. Through this program, Welcome Week Representatives could pay a deposit for a rep suit, which would be reimbursed upon the return of a clean rep suit.
Along with advocating for Ontario Student Assistance Program, Da-Ré plans to simplify McMaster’s scholarship and grant application process by transitioning to a fully online system. This would include collaborating with the Financial Aid office to provide workshops and advice on students’ applications.
Da-Ré’s platform has four points based on climate action.
He plans to collaborate with the McMaster Sustainability Council to work on phasing out the sale of plastic water bottles on campus. He cites 14 other Canadian universities that have banned the sale of plastic water bottles on their campuses.
Da-Ré would introduce a self-serve cleaning station for reusable mugs at The Grind. He would also increase storage space “for-here” mugs, plates and cutlery. The Grind currently uses single-use counterparts, which Da-Ré calls costly and unsustainable.
With his third point, Da-Ré plans to reduce cross-contamination of waste products by developing consistent waste signage and increasing the number of green bins on campus. He claims that cross-contamination of waste streams is one of the largest problems for Facility Services and increases waste sent to landfills.
Da-Ré’s fourth point aims to reduce the use of single-use coffee cups on campus. He suggests a program that would allow students to buy select hot beverages at The Grind or Union Market for $1 on the first Monday of every month, provided they bring a reusable mug.
Da-Ré dedicates five points in his platform to improving the student experience at McMaster.
The first of these points aims to support international students by increasing communication between MSU cultural clubs and the Student Success Centre. Da-Ré also plans to introduce an international student support and resource committee.
Da-Ré aims to create a teaching module about consent culture that outlines services, policies and supports on campus related to sexual violence. He would make this new consent culture module mandatory for all Welcome Week Representatives.
Da-Ré plans to update all MSU Operating Policies and MSU Workplace Documents on his new MSU website to ensure that none of them are outdated.
He also aims to release a survey in Summer 2020 to gauge how students would like to interact with the MSU’s Board of Directors. The BoD currently uses the “President’s Page” in The Silhouette to address the student population; Da-Ré claims that this is not regular enough. He would include more frequent captioned video updates on social media and have the BoD hold “office hours”.
Da-Ré intends to follow the recommendations of third-party consultants hired by the current BoD to create a long-term financial plan for the MSU.
More information can be found on his website gc-2020.com.