With January’s return to classes comes a flurry of banners adorning the atria of the student centre and meal hall. Nominations for the presidential position, as well as the positions of vice-president of academic affairs, vice-president external affairs, and vice-president campus life, opened Jan. 6. Nominations close Jan. 19 at 4:30 p.m.
Students elect four of the six executives each winter. A committee hires the other two positions, the vice-president finance and operations and the vice-president communications, later in the semester.
Current and former executives spoke to The Argosy about their experiences in office and offered their advice to interested candidates.
“When I was running, I really saw it as being the team leader,” said Heather Webster, MASU president, about the position. “Once you’re in this role, so much of it is supporting the vice-presidents, the general manager, and cleaning up the messes.”
MASU’s president functions as one of the two student representatives on Mount Allison’s Board of Regents, a student representative in Senate, and the chair of MASU’s executive committee.
The current vice-president campus life, Andrew Johnston, told The Argosy about aspects of his position. “This job has the most direct interaction with students out of all the vice-presidental roles, which makes for a very rewarding experience with the students’ union,” said Johnston. The campus life job description includes non-academic concerns on campus, overseeing MASU clubs and societies, and facilitating residence executive training.
In contrast, the vice-president external affairs job description includes getting on-campus polling stations for federal and provincial elections, overseeing the Green Investment Fund, airport shuttle, and bike co-op, and serving as a liaison between Mount Allison students and all levels of government.
“[The vice-president external] can either spread their time and effort by over all three levels, or the VP can focus more so on one level,” said Ian Smith, a former vice-president external affairs. “I focused a lot on municipal relations and therefore did projects like the bike coop and the landlord fair.”
Annie Sherry, the incumbent vice-president external, organized the voting polls on campus this past fall for the New Brunswick provincial elections. Sherry also attended a conference hosted by the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, an organization which serves as a lobbying venue for student representatives to speak to government officials on behalf of their schools.
The vice-president academic becomes acting president in the president’s absence or incapacitation. The job also entails sitting on the University Senate as an associate member and facilitating MASU’s used book sales service. Current vice-president academic Kyle Nimmrichter has largely focused on organizing an “academic experience” survey that will be released to students on Feb. 1.
In recent years, candidates for some of the executive positions for MASU have been few and far between. In each of the last two years, a single candidate ran for president. Harley also ran unopposed in his bid for vice-president academic two years ago.
Former MASU president Pat Joyce and current president Heather Webster have similar history with council. Both were involved with residence representation, served as vice-presidents of campus life, and then on to presidency. Last year’s president, Melissa O’Rourke, was elected after working as a CHMA correspondent, reporting on council meetings and serving as the councillor for Windsor Hall.
The positions are open to all returning students and require the student to work for a May to May term. Vice-presidents receive $8,000 for the year. The president receives $13,000.
Students can find nomination packages for any of these four positions in the MASU office. “These packages include nomination forms, summary of election rules, as well as other forms and information that are necessary to the process,” Chief Returning Officer Rayan Bouhlel said. Candidates are also required to attend one of two all-candidates meetings. The next meeting is Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. in the MASU boardroom.