From Jan. 31 to Feb. 1, the Mount Allison Student Union held elections for the position of MASU president, as well as for three vice-president positions: academic affairs, external affairs and student life. Approximately one-third of students turned out to vote.
Emma Miller, a third-year political science student and current VP student life, ran unopposed and was elected MASU president with 93.6 per cent of votes in her favour.
In her general speech, Miller listed mental health advocacy, better representation of students within MASU, and student support as her main priorities. “I understand the stress of holding an executive role,” said Miller, “but more importantly I understand the stress and frustration of being a student.”
“It is important that the [Student Administrative Council] be structured in a way that is reflective of the student body it is speaking on behalf of,” said Miller on representation in council. When asked about the specifics of her plans to improve representation, Miller said, “I hope to consult and then bring forward to council the idea of having Indigenous representation, hopefully through a position on senate.” Miller said that she would consult with other universities to determine other forms of representation.
Diverse representation was a main point in Noah Fry’s platform as well. Fry, a third-year PPE student, was elected VP academic after winning about 60 per cent of the vote over Andrew Moreira.
“We have a gender-neutral language policy at Mount Allison,” said Fry, “but that policy is from 1989 and it’s reflected within the policy, unfortunately.” Fry also wants to increase knowledge about how workplace harassment policies work, especially with regard to TAs, and to make sure those policies are adequate.
Fry’s other goals were increasing academic awareness and knowledge, building and structuring policy that would govern how MASU can lobby administration, and Indigenous representation.
Fry also wants to increase communication between MASU and the academic faculties. He said that the dean’s council of the arts has been particularly helpful for exchanging information between arts faculties and MASU, and would like to expand it to the sciences and social sciences.
Emelyana Titarenko, a third-year psychology student and current VP communications, ran unopposed for the position of VP external, garnering 92.7 per cent of votes in her favour. Her platform focused on housing issues, helping students access more services and opportunities and improving the relationship between students and Sackville locals.
“I want to get people informed on all the government services and opportunities that are available to students,” said Titarenko, listing health care and tuition relief as examples of important services that might be difficult to understand how to access. “One of the big things I’ve come across is how complicated it can be applying to grants or to aid.”
Titarenko also wants to push awareness of town events and volunteering opportunities, as well as to help encourage students to vote in the upcoming New Brunswick general election this fall.
Élise Vaillancourt was elected as VP student life, running against candidates Mackenzie Gordon and Caitlin O’Connor. Vaillancourt won with 57 per cent of the vote.
Vaillancourt wants to work on developing a co-curricular record – an official document that would list students’ non-academic achievements and participation at the University, as well as focusing on community involvement, support for clubs and societies, and mental health.
Vaillancourt emphasized that many students want to get involved in the Sackville community, but might not know how to. She hopes to combat this by pushing community services and raising awareness of opportunities for students to participate.
Grace Moreno, a third-year chemistry student, was also elected as councillor-at-large with 72 per cent of the vote. Moreno will act as a voting representative of the student body in Council.
“I want to have conversations about issues that affect all of us at Mount Allison,” said Moreno in her general speech. “I want to know what people are passionate about and what they want represented on campus.” Moreno emphasized her participation at Mt. A as last year’s Windsor Hall president, in a number of clubs, and on several MASU committees. Moreno said she wants to be an open resource to students.
A referendum determining whether Lettuce Eat would gain university funding included in the election was passed. Mt. A students will now pay a $1 levy that supports Lettuce Eat as a part of their student fees. Lettuce Eat provides students with a free vegan meal made with donations of local food a few times a year.
MASU is currently hiring for the positions of VP finance and operations, VP communications and a number of other staff positions. All students are welcome to apply.