After the three candidates running for uncontested positions, William Lau and Kevin Smith, the candidates for the VP Student Life position, came up. This is the second key race to watch, as both William and Kevin have strong supporters across campus, but in different places.
VPSL – William Lau
William Lau is a fresh face. Although he has served in SU committees, he has definitely not been a part of the Council clique. Instead, people know him through his other community involvements–mainly with the Health and Wellness Team (HWT). William co-founded the Student Health Committee and co-chaired the Health Sciences Students’ Association, which makes it obvious that William is passionate about student health issues.
William started off with his trademark smile that is now everywhere on campus. Willie said that “defending student voice,” “supporting health,” and “strengthening community action” are the three pillars of his campaign. In making a reference to the LHSA-Administration conflict, Willie said that changes without consultation “makes [him] angry” and promised to ensure that students “have a say in decisions that affect [students].” He used the prohibition of alcohol in Lister common spaces as an example, arguing that this action without consultation actually harms students. Also, he used dodgeball and Lister culture as an example of strengthening community action–supporting a culture that had been around for so many years and provide a sense of community for students.
VPSL – Kevin Smith
Like Josh and Adam, Kevin Smith had been preparing himself to make a run for an executive position from early on. Kevin is a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha and has been voted as the Greek of the Year. Also, he has been working with the Centre for Student Development (CSD) as the Orientation Coordinator, so he is a familiar face to younger students on campus. As an education councillor, Kevin served as a member of the Policy Committee and the chair of the Bylaw Committee. He has the support of two strong voting blocks–Orientation and the Greeks.
Kevin focused on Lister issues alone. In agreement with Saadiq, Kevin said he believes that the administration is unwilling to understand and cater to the students in referencing the LHSA-Administration conflict. He framed this LHSA issue as a crisis and emphasized that his experience in council this year provides him the knowledge about this issue and thus allows him to jump in and act on it. Kevin also mentioned dodgeball and promised to bring Break the Record back, praising its role in creating a sense of community on campus.
VP SL Question 1: As part of the Student Life (SL) portfolio, how would you better empower Student Groups Services to work with student groups?
Kevin: Believes that there is so much paper that makes it difficult to start a new student group. Would focus on reducing the “bureaucratic red tape”. Would also like to focus on the revitalization of Bears Den, which is useful be needs overhaul.
William: Agrees that Bears Den needs improvement. Would strive to build networks between student groups to facilitate support. Disagrees however that there exists too much paperwork involved with student groups, because this is a good way for students to gain experience that will benefit them outside of university, and it helps develop essential skills in student group members.
VP SL Question 2: What is your favorite Kevin Smith movie?
William: Doesn’t watch many movies, honestly!
Kevin: Dislikes Kevin Smith because he always gets these questions. However, he definitely loves Clerks however is on the fence about Clerks 2.
BoG – Brent Kelly
Brent Kelly is running again for the position of the Board of Governors Representative–unopposed. He isn’t afraid of showing his political colour that some see as being too radical. On campus, Brent has been involved with the Alberta Public Interest Research Group (APIRG), NDP on campus (currently working for a constituency office), and the U of A Atheists and Agnostics, as well as serving as a councillor last year.
Brent talked about his three initiatives for the year. First, build a coalition in the Board of Governors to increase the awareness of student issues. Second, “better integrate the BoG position within the SU advocacy and thus maximize its efforts. Third, mandatory tabling for elected leaders in order to improve the communication between the SU and students.
U-PASS – Colten Yamagishi
The current SU president, Colten Yamagishi, walked into the room to chat about the U-Pass referendum He explained that U-Pass contracts expire every four years, and that this referendum passed, students would be able to use the U-Pass throughout the year (including spring/summer terms). Colten also added that its great value, as well as the option for opting out for students living outside of the service area, member of ETS staff, or individuals with disabilities. Although he seemed to be not too worried about this referendum, he added at the end that it would be “shocking and terrible if the U-Pass didn’t pass.”
You can find detailed information about the U-Pass referendum, including the proposed prices, here.