Arts & Science IV
That’s because, according to Campbell, the organization is in a “fantastic spot” to grow relationships, improve services and do more to benefit its members.
“I’m really optimistic where the organization is right now … We need to ask how we, in the great position we are in, can help,” says Campbell, whose platform focuses on practical applications of the MSU’s resources in three areas: education, student life and sustainability.
Campbell doesn’t deny that there are internal problems that need fixing, but emphasizes that there are many things the administration can get done in a year, so long as it focuses is on providing tangible benefits to students.
“The SRA is not in good shape. It is not operating correctly,” he says, but adds, “I don’t think it should be our focus or the focus of the presidential elections.”
His platform includes mid-semester course evaluations, improved access to clubs and the reduction of waste on campus through composting.
Ultimately, Campbell says the MSU’s ability to provide students with tangible benefits trumps any existing internal organizational problems, and that the MSU president shouldn’t be preoccupied with things that prevent results from being given to students.
History & Political Science IV
“There are a hell of a lot of problems inside the MSU,” says Chris Erl, and perhaps he should know. A former news editor at the Sil and current Humanities rep on the SRA, Erl has seen the MSU from multiple angles, something he says has opened his eyes to various problems.
With a typical 25 per cent presidential voter turnout, internal conflict on the SRA and a Board of Directors that Erl says “is undemocratically elected,” the fourth-year History & Political Science student is advocating to transform the MSU into a different kind of body.
Erl is no stranger to advocacy. He spearheaded the MSU’s ‘We Need LRT’ movement – something he’s picked up in his campaign platform by supporting better bus service from the HSR – and an ad hoc SRA committee on democratic reform for the assembly. His platform also lists big issues like Anti-Opression Policy and Fair Trade certification as priorities.
But before he takes a stand on external issues, Erl says it’s time for someone to assess and transform union’s internal needs, something he says has been badly neglected.
“We have no legitimacy in the eyes of someone like Brian McHattie, our city councilor, if we don’t fix the problems inside the MSU first,” says Erl, who added that an MSU president can’t serve their mandate unless they – and the rest of the organization – are responsive to students.
“If things don’t change, we risk losing our legitimacy and relevance in the eyes of students.”
Civil Engineering & Society V
Characterizing himself as “happy-go-lucky,” Galan is nothing short of positive in his campaign, most of which in centred on tackling the abysmal state of McMaster’s technology systems. Whether it’s MUGSI and SOLAR’s outdated services or Internet access throughout the campus, Galan has captured his campaign in four simple words: “Where is the WiFi?”
“After talking to students about their concerns, I was always floored with the same concern: the technology is not up to appropriate standards for a world-class institution,” says Galan.
This is but one aspect of his campaign. As a fifth-year Civil Engineering student who has served on the McMaster Engineering Society, the Engineering Student Societies Council of Ontario and, most recently, as a caucus member for Engineering in the SRA, he is focusing on a variety of concerns.
Among the most notable is a more relevant and frequent GO Transit schedule, as well as a restructuring of the MSU’s services. Ultimately, these three platform points are an attempt to “bring back relevance to the MSU.”
Galan’s platform is perhaps not as comprehensive as his opponents’ – something he says is actually by design.
“It’s great to have overarching concerns. But in order to ensure such broad goals such sustainability, we need to get to the root of everything. We need specifics. That’s what I’m offering. A technical, practical and, most importantly, specific plan.”
Labour Studies & Political Science V
His decision to run, he admits, was “fairly last-minute.” In fact, it wasn’t until the holiday break in December. But involvement in the political sphere is nothing new to him. “I do think I carry a persona of being a very outspoken and critical person on campus,” he says.
In addition to his activism at McMaster and a stint with the SRA, Ramirez has done a lot of work in the Hamilton community. He hopes to use his position atop the MSU to get students out into Hamilton, making change for the better.
“It’s not going to be the administration or the professors; it’s going to be the students. It has to be the students, and the students are represented by the MSU. That’s why I really want to use the MSU as an agent to be something huge, to be something that can be a salvation for the city.”
But before he takes on Hamilton, Ramirez recognizes that the MSU will need to undergo serious reform.
“I don’t think that the existing structures are legitimate,” he says, particularly given low voter turnout. By opening up channels for student involvement, he plans to change the president’s role “from being one that represents and makes decisions for students to one that facilitates student interests.”
Step one in that pursuit: a major shift in campus culture. “My platform is settling for nothing less than a complete transformation of the MSU.”
In the next two weeks, be sure to check underneath your seat, because there might just be “something for you.” Be it through with class talk gimmicks or conversations in the student centre, that’s how Siobhan Stewart is presenting her platform.
A fourth-year anthropology student, Stewart is no stranger to the MSU scene. She has served as MSU Diversity Services Director, co-chaired the Global Citizenship Conference and represented Social Sciences as an SRA representative, in addition to maintaining extensive connections within the University and Hamilton communities.
Such experiences have certainly molded her and her aspirations for presidency. “My diverse experiences have added particular goals in my campaign, all of which focus on the student body.”
This is no more apparent than in Stewart’s affable personality and campaign slogan, “Something for you.”
“In a week and a half, it’s hard to personalize a campaign. But ‘something for you’ signifies what I’m all about. I want to enhance the student experience as whole,” she says.
Her platform, as it’s displayed on her website, draws from the old, the new, the borrowed and something exclusively “for you, the students.” Among the many campaign initiatives, Stewart is advocating for Bridges to become a study space, a peer support line, green roofs and, most notably, an extended fall break.
“I touch on a lot of issues people can connect to in some shape or form.”
To that end, Stewart has “the desire to connect and to show people what is valuable to them is valuable to me, and therefore, the MSU.”