Patricia Kousoulas’ campaign is driven by the comforting cliché of #CreateYourStory.
While her platform appears to resonate the feelings of the student body at heart, the persuasiveness of her ideas is stunted by a lack of concrete backbone to her platform.
The major critique for Kousoulas’ campaign is that it focuses substantially on connecting with students on a personal level, without much regard for crafting a comprehensive solution for students.
In her “Feeling Well” pillar, Kousoulas expressed her interest in working for better food options and food security. One of her vague solutions, as shown on her webpage, is that “we are going to work in collaboration with existing McMaster Students Union services related to food security to better support them and emphasize their services around food security.”
While the statement sounds endearing at first glance, it yields no committed answer from Kousoulas on her plan to improve the current situation.
This is furthered by her statements of “better organizing student discount days” and “[advocating] for ways to increase food accessibility to students” but these are scattered ideas rather than a well-defined project.
Her platform seems to be lacking in terms of the rigour needed in developing her points. Her stance on “Safety on Campus” is an important issue, one that has also been discussed by Nadarajah and Inigo in their platforms. Kousoulas’ proposal to lobby for brighter lighting in student residential areas and the implementation of a shuttle bus system at night, while a strong idea, is not exclusive to her campaign. While she claimed to have made consultations, it is regretful that Kousoulas has not taken the idea further by collaborating with Parking Operations and Student Experience to fully assess the feasibility in implementing the shuttle services.
It should be noted that the proposal to implement better lighting in student residential areas has already been proposed by past MSU presidents and has failed due to city councillors’ concerns about light pollution.
Kousoulas’ “Celebrate McMaster” strives to help develop a one-day event to engage with all students. In essence, her desire is to create a multicultural celebration that gives students the opportunity to find pride in their own culture while also having the experience of learning from other cultural groups. Her enthusiasm with pushing for this event, in collaboration with existing cultural groups and festivals, is marked with a concern for redundancy. Kousoulas has argued for the supportive role the MSU can play in helping grow the event, albeit the noticeable criticism that she is just rebranding events already held by clubs.
Assisting students in leading a healthier lifestyle and pursuing a career is the central focus of “Adulting 101” and “Graduate Transition”, respectively. Kousoulas’ general approach to ameliorating the current situation is to consolidate resources together, rendering them more accessible. The merit to this idea is intertwined with the concern that this may not be enough to create impactful changes for students.
One of the main intentions of Kousoulas’ campaign was to create services that provide instant gratification rather than long-term projects. While she is supportive of the Space Expansion referendum, she chose to construct a platform that delivers on the short run for students.
“I am excited for the future McMaster, but because of the track record of the MSU and of the presidential position, students want to see something today and tomorrow. They want to make sure there is something they can taste right now. I don’t think the entire vision should be short-term, but my platform is,” Kousoulas said in an interview.
Overall, Kousoulas’ campaign is geared more towards appealing to the student body in person rather than on paper. Her ambitions are limited by a platform that serves to connect with students through smaller initiatives. This may prove to be a sharp pitfall and deter votes due to her less impressive projects.