It’s MUNSU election season again! As always, the Muse has offered candidates the chance to publish their platforms so you can get to know them better.
This year, the contested races are for director of advocacy, directors at large, international rep, women’s rep, engineering rep, and disabilities rep.
There is only one contested executive position this year, but the platforms of the acclaimed directors are also published at the end of this list.
Voting is on March 22 and 23, so read up on your candidates and cast your ballot!
Candidates for Director of Advocacy:
My name is Hillary Bellows and I want to be your next Director of Advocacy! Through my heavy involvement in residence, campus life, and MUNSU, I have been exposed to a variety of issues that students face and I have gained an understanding of the steps required to achieve change. I will be a knowledgeable resource for students who have been treated unfairly or disrespectfully by a faculty member, housing, university policy, disciplinary committee, legal system, or in any other way. I will promote the rights of students so they are better informed, as well as further implement mental health initiatives (such as a advocating for a full week break in the Fall semester). I strive to make our university a more inclusive, accessible, and safe space so that every student is able to focus on academic success.
Visit “VOTE Hillary Bellows for Executive Director of Advocacy” on Facebook!
With a strong history in advocating for students academically, as an Arts rep, through my academic committee work and initiatives (like the new B.A core and the Arts Degree MAPs), I am well respected in the academic sphere. I plan to use this to continue the fight for academic justice for students. I hope to debunk the status quo top-down approach by empowering res execs, society execs, and directors by maintaining an active open conversation, working relationship, and proper academic advocacy training. My work directly with faculty members has taught me that the articulation of a message is key. Our union’s message needs refinement to better suite the agenda of and fight for MUN students’ needs, particularly through regular town halls. I hope my fight will re-legitimize the union among ordinary students and I know that my experience in academic advocacy will guide voters my way.
Candidates for Directors at large (5 positions):
It is so important for students to know they have a voice and a place they can lean to in their time of need. I have personally worked with the student union in a variety of capacities, and I know the importance of being apart of the student movement. For that reason I want to be a part of the MUN Students’ Union as your Director at Large to continue to fight for students in all of the various issues we face. I want to be a part of MUNSU as it’s an organization that has not only helped me, but so many others in their university career.
My name is Jacob Elyk and I am running for the position of Director at Large. I am a second-year student in the political science co-op program. I am from Harbour Grace, Newfoundland, and graduated from Carbonear Collegiate. As a student who has to work to pay for their education, I understand how important it is that the interests of students are protected. Our interests to maintain the tuition freeze, to ensure equality among students, and to have a safe learning experience must be protected. Unfortunately, this has not been the agenda of the current union. In the past year, we have had students fed unsafe food, students with disabilities discriminated against, and an increase in residence fees. It’s time to elect a union that will actually protect our interests rather than be some rubber stamp. It’s time to elect me, Jacob Elyk, as a Director at Large.
Colin Hunt is a first year student at Memorial University who is ready to take action. With leadership experience based on student life stemming from his attendance of various conferences, such as MUN’s LEAP, and many years served on student council, Colin is more than familiar with what it takes to successfully hold leadership type roles. As Director at Large, Colin promises to ensure the responsible expenditure of funds in a way that improves life for all students at MUN and not allow them to be wasted on frivolous, fiscally irresponsible impulses.
Hi! My name’s Sam Burry. I’m a third year student still going through the battle of deciding where I’d like to focus on studies. Since coming to MUN, I’ve become a part of a fantastic community that fights for the rights of students every single day. I come from a rural community in Labrador, and am a part of the LGBTQ+ community that is integrated throughout Memorial. I think I could be a positive asset to the board with a fresh voice and ideas that stem from the experiences that came along with my upbringing. I have a passion for pursuing justice for my peers and being a positive influence in all areas of my life. I hope I can have your support.
Hi everyone! I’m Pierce Collier, and I’m running to be one of your Directors At Large on the MUNSU board of directors for the upcoming term. As someone who is passionate about student issues, I will bring experience, trust and accountability to the job and ensure that all students on campus receive fair representation. Here are some of the things that I will work towards if elected:
– Fees. I will continue to fight for fairness, such as making sure that Residence and Medicine students are not bearing the brunt of cutbacks.
– Library cuts. I will continue fighting for a library that gives access to journals and provides help to students in any way possible.
– Talk to students. Our union representatives need to start talking to students about their concerns and visions on how to make the university more accessible. I wish to lead this effort.
My name is Afiya Altaf and I am from Karachi, Pakistan. I am honoured to be nominated for the Director-at-Large position for MUNSU.
Throughout my academia, I have witnessed and believed in the power of the youth and have been inspired watching students use that power to shape and drive their future on so many levels. Being an active participant with the various clubs, societies and departments at MUN, I have learned so much from my fellow students and having assisted and supported many student bodies, I now wish to take my experiences and passions to a new level and represent that student strength and power by becoming the students’ voice at the MUNSU board. I plan on supporting the MUN student body as a whole and work towards the betterment and success of each and every student as they pursue their education and careers and help them make their university life enriched with opportunities and experiences.
International Students Rep
Sophia Rachel Solomon
As an International Student Representative, I would not only like to be the spokesman for the foreign students at MUN but also be their shoulder during any turmoil. I am an Indian by-birth and had 2 years of schooling in Dubai. During that period I have been part of different student organizations and learned how to overcome obstacles while settling to new places. Taking that into consideration, I would like to make sure International Students receive on-campus accommodation as soon as it is applied for, more on-campus jobs are provided, hold sessions for students to adjust into university life, solve any issues concerning them; and also bring emphasis on student- teacher’s relationship as academic notices has risen up due to the lack of it.
Just one single vote from you all on March 22 & 23; I believe to bring the change we all are looking for.
Bonnie Raquel Contreras
Courtney Jones is a 3rd year Behavioural Neuroscience student. She is an avid feminist activist and spends her time outside of school volunteering with Intersections (formerly the Women’s Resource Centre on campus), as well as the Newfoundland & Labrador Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Centre, and Planned Parenthood. She understands the importance of intersectionality in feminism, and understands that every woman has different experiences. Her goal is to be given the opportunity to listen to the experience of every woman and ensure that all of those voices are heard by the Student’s Union. Courtney understands multiple barriers faced by women in society, and that was why in high school, she started a group called Girl Talk to assist grade seven girls with the transition from elementary to high school. She understands the importance of being non-judgemental and the need for safe spaces.
My name is Beckie Gardner and I am a 3rd year BA student with a double major in French and political science. I’m looking forward to potentially being able to represent the women of our campus as I see the many barriers we still face in 2016.
My name is Javier Valdes and I am very excited to run for Faculty of Engineering Representative on the MUNSU’s Board of Directors. As a dedicated third year Mechanical Engineering student with extensive extra-curricular experience, I am well aware of the issues concerning engineering students, and what the faculty could do to fix these. If given this opportunity, my focus will be on:
· Diversifying and increasing the work term opportunities offered through the faculty’s Job Competition
· Pushing professors to improve the availability and quality of course material, prepare teaching assistants appropriately, reevaluate marking schemes, and enhance course scheduling
· Ensuring the faculty hires female professors and staff, revamps laboratories, acquires modern equipment, and changes the required core and elective courses as per students’ suggestions
I am confident that I will be able to represent the interests of our engineering student body with integrity, competency and professionalism. Thank you for your support!
My name is Grace Marcoux, and I am running for the position of Faculty of Engineering Representative on the MUN Students’ Union for the upcoming year. I held this position last year, and have spent that year helping the union advocate for students’ rights, organizing to make campus more accessible for students, and have been the voice of the Engineering Faculty student body on the union. During my time as Engineering Rep, I have shared knowledge from the Students’ Union with the Engineering Faculty, and have been a direct contact between Engineering Society ‘A’ and the union. I feel that I’ve represented the student body well, and I hope to continue doing so in the upcoming 2016-2017 year. Please consider voting for me as your Faculty Representative on March 22-23. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, either over Facebook, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Mitchell Sparkes a first year engineering student. Although younger then his opponents he has experience advocating on behalf of students having been president of his student council and negotiating on behalf of his High School. Mitchell is looking to bring fiscal responsibility to the Union and create a more open dialogue between the Union and the student body. As Engineering Rep Mitchell will lead with a democratic approach, hosting open forums where students can give their input on issues which affect them and advocate for solutions to these issues based on this student input. He will seek to improve and advertise the services which are offered by the union and the university, such as offering more study spaces for students, more useful modern technology in study spaces, and to expand the drive safe and grocery shuttle programs.
Hello fellow students!
My name is Matt Barter and I am running for Disabilities Rep. My speech impediment and mild autism along with mental illness has caused challenges and road blocks for me. Facing these challenges has inspired me to help make Memorial more accessible and caring. First of all, I will be continuing to hear from students about accommodation issues. Along with the Disability Information Resource Centre, I will hold town halls and other similar events along with MUNSU to bring light on issues which you may not have been aware of. After that, it’s time for action! My previous actions last year with MUNSU include helping with the #KeepTheFreeze campaign, the #StopAramark campaign, contributing to all five MUNSU committees. I almost always ask questions at board meetings, showing my engagement with our campaigns. I hope to spend another year serving the students at Memorial.
Roland Penney is a second year student currently enrolled in the faculty of business. As someone who has lived with and known people with disabilities his entire life, and as someone who faces his own issues, he is very familiar to the struggles that people with disabilities face while attending MUN. After seeing the way specific issues on campus have been addressed, with a number of examples taken from this year, Roland has decided that change is necessary. Every student should have the opportunity to learn and get their education in a way that accommodates their needs. He is determined to provide better representation and better services for those who need it.
Acclaimed Executive directors:
The following executive positions had no competition and thus were acclaimed
Director of External Affairs, Communications and Research
Over the past year as your Director of Student Life I’ve worked with students to fight back against tuition fee increases, to host a full month-long Welcome Weeks, and to bring you a variety of concerts and events.
In my role I’ve had the opportunity to talk to thousands of students on campus and I’ve heard your concerns. I can’t wait to continue addressing those concerns in my new role.
This year, MUNSU will build a safer campus. We’ll fight rape culture by working with the Canadian Federation of Students to host a province-wide Consent Culture Forum, we’ll improve supports and funding for resource centres and student groups, and we’ll work to introduce expanded on-campus mental health resources.
This year I’ll work to improve communications with students through an improved newsletter, more social media contests, and by bringing our campaigns and services to you, whether you study at the CNS, HSC, or anywhere else on campus.
We’ll also fight to maintain accessible, high-quality post-secondary education in Newfoundland and Labrador. With massive budget cuts on the horizon, it’s more important than ever that students are united in our fight to defend accessible, public education.
I’m looking forward to working with YOU to make Memorial the best it can be.
Director of Campaigns
My name is Brittany Byrnes, and I’m honoured to have been acclaimed to a second term as Director of Campaigns!
This past year, we successfully fought off a proposed tuition fee hike for international students
which was a tremendous victory for us all to be proud of. But Memorial is poised to hit residence and medical students with fee increases, and the provincial government has threatened to lift the tuition freeze on out-of-province students (like myself!). This year we’ll need to mobilize harder than ever to keep the freeze and preserve quality, affordable post-secondary education at Memorial.
This year we also pushed back against challenges to students’ rights to accommodation and
accessibility in the classroom, and we won—at long last—the establishment of the first gender-inclusive washrooms on campus.
In the coming year, I look forward to working together with you all to build on these successes,
and to make Memorial a more equitable environment for everyone. In addition to fighting to keep the freeze on tuition fees, I want to focus on the Work Is Work campaign to eliminate unpaid work terms, and re-centre equity, gender justice and anti-racism campaigns in the work of the Students’ Union.
Director of Student Life
Rewarding university memories are the difference between a 4-year sprint to the podium and finding your place on campus. Through my social justice, pragmatic leadership, and cross-cultural involvement, I’ve been inspired by the amazing diversity in MUNSU’s clubs and societies. I want students to benefit from those valuable experiences outside the classroom, too! As the HITS FM Roadshow Host 2015, I got to cover tons of concerts and community events, giving me some great ideas! Whether they’re living in res, commuting from home, or new to Newfoundland, I want students at MUN to feel “this is where I’m meant to be.” I’m already eager to plan an informed yet exciting orientation week this Fall. And of course, supporting the resource centres in fostering an inclusive campus for all identities. Let’s take the university experience from a 9-digit ID to leaving a legacy of who you are and want to be!