Immediately after Sackville’s recent storms and the reopening of campus, the MASU’s winter elections are in full swing. This election cycle includes the MASU’s President, VP External, VP Academic Affairs, and VP Student Life positions up for grabs.
The President is responsible for both internal and external advocacy, executive support, and acts as a member of both the University Senate and the University Board of Regents. Only one candidate is running for the MASU President position: the current VP Academic Affairs, Rohin Minocha-McKenney. Minocha-McKenney is a third year bBiology student and has spent all but one month involved with the MASU since arriving to campus in their first year.
Minocha-McKenney has big ideas as the President of the MASU, after having “seen so much good and bad” during the numerous positions they ha’ve filled since 2019. Their main platform points involve a strategic collaborative plan to guide the MASU’s next three years with student representation, an overhaul on the governance structure, and executive support.
There is also a single nominee for Minocha-McKenney’s current position, the VP Academic Affairs: third year International Relations student Suhjung Chun. The VPAA responsibilities revolve around academic advocacy, University Senate involvement, mock LSAT and MCAT organization, and academic society support.
Chun believes that her experience as an academic mentor in residence taught her that VPAA “would be a position that I would enjoy and excel at.” Her areas of focus for her campaign include EDI, accessibility, and communication.
“Especially with the pandemic right now, academics have been challenging for many students,” Chun explained. “My goals are all about getting rid of other unnecessary obstacles standing in the way of students and education and making sure that everyone has access to the resources they need.”
The VP External Affairs is a MASU executive position that involves external advocacy with Canadian Alliance of Student Associations and the New Brunswick Students’ Association, town and gown relations, facilitating and accessing external resources like the MASU bike co-op, and working on sustainable initiatives. Two students are running for this position: third year International Relations student Ngoc (Joseph) Huynh, and the MASU’s current Ethnic Diversity representative, Paniz Moradi.
Huynh’s main goals are to “improve students’ awareness of NBSA/CASA [and] be adaptable to change.” Huynh also highlighted his “key objective,” saying: “If I get elected, [will be to have a] stricter housing directory to help off-campus students” navigate the transition to off-campus living, from residence or from their home previous to Mt. A.
The VP Student Life has a large number of candidates with five students campaigning. The VPSL is responsible for heading student support and advocacy on campus, aiding with event programming, student health and well-being programmes, clubs and societies, and coordinating with residence life on campus.
Sophia Kennedy, a third year History student, believes that the VPSL position is “an opportunity to facilitate meaningful conversations that will better the student experience.” She explained that she is a great fit for the position because she is the “only candidate who has experience working with the MASU and Student Life office. I understand the issues of the student experience because I’ve been through it.”
Kennedy’s main platform points are creating and improving sustainable student health initiatives, advocating for improved student services, and making Club and Society funding simple and accessible.
Alivia Warr, a second year International Relations student, feels that “students deserve to have an experience that lives up to what we are paying for. I have big ideas, a plan to put them into action, and a loud voice to make it happen.”
To achieve successful student representation and change, Warr’s goals as VPSL are to improve transparency in communication from the university, focus on student health from a proactive standpoint, and improve accessibility to resources. “I would rather work hard to implement meaningful change, than end up with several dropped projects and promises due to overshooting,” she said.
Third year Biology student Janie Brooks is also running for VPSL this winter. Their election points include “addressing sexual violence, Sackville’s inacessible healthcare, and more training and support (financial, physical and mental) for RAs and ADs of residences.”
“I care very deeply about holding Mount Allison accountable in their promise to provide support to students, especially regarding protection from sexual violence and accessible healthcare,” Brooks said. “If I am elected, I will act wherever I can to make changes upon learning about where they are needed.”
Matheus (Matt) Crepaldi is another VPSL nominee, aiming to “make Mt. A’s campus safer and develop wellness programing, [and] facilitate this connection between the students and the clubs.” Crepaldi is a second year Commerce student from Brazil.
Crepaldi explained how much of his campaign revolves around acting on student’s voices. “I believe that student life initiatives should be created by students for the students so I’m always open to suggestions on how to create a better campus,” he said.
Eli Wood, a fourth year Neuroscience and Sociology student, is the final candidate for the VPSL position. Wood’s goals “are as varied as the student voices informing them,” but can be condensed down into “support, accessibility, and advocacy.”
Wood explained that his “outspokenness and lived experience is the most distinctive difference” from other candidates. “Not all my experiences at Mount Allison were good ones, and that allows me to also see areas that require attention.”
Students interested in hearing more about this year’s candidates are welcome to join the digital streaming of general speeches and questions on February 8 at 7:00pm. The voting period is from 8:30am on February 10, and ends at 8:30pm on February 11.
Staff applications for hired executed positions, the VP Finances and Operations and VP Communications, are due February 14. All other staff positions (listed on the MASU website) are due February 21.