This is an important year for student government. Tuition increases, budget cuts, performance-based funding models and mental health are all at the forefront of student minds. The Gauntlet has worked hard to expand our election coverage this year. That means we’re trying a few new things. So, we offered space in our opinions section for each executive candidate to give our readers their sales pitch.
The candidates were able to write about whatever they wanted in 500 words for vice-presidential candidates and 1,200 for presidential candidates. Why are they running? Who are they? Why should you vote for them? Their platforms are posted online. We strongly encourage you to read them and decide on the candidate that you believe best represents your needs as a student.
Today, our candidates for vice-president student life are presenting their case to you. Pieces have been edited to conform to Canadian Press Style, but their words are presented as-is.
When I first started at U of C, I felt very detached from our university — I came to campus, went to class, hung out with some friends in TFDL and went home. For a while, I was content to continue this way, get my degree and be on my way. It was easy enough, sure, but it was detrimental and ultimately, unsustainable for me. I found myself frustrated, exhausted with everything, and above all else, apathetic. Eventually, I reached a breaking point with putting in the work and seemingly getting nothing out of it (beyond a piece of paper at the end of my degree).
I was fortunate enough to have a support network and a community that pulled me away from the daze of apathy and connected me to an entirely different university experience. I’ve worked at the SU, served as a club executive, and worked with faculty and administration as peers. This has been an entirely different experience; one that energizes and excites me, and one that I am proud of — one I believe every member of our community can, and should, have.
Sadly, apathy is not an uncommon state for students. Despite having many resources and opportunities on our campus — from our athletics teams (go Dinos!), to research opportunities, to hundreds of unique clubs, and even one of the largest, most professional Students’ Unions in the country — it is very easy to simply come, go to class, and leave.
As I campaign to represent students as VP External, “apathy” might not be the buzzword you’re expecting to read. Students face many challenges in the years to come: cuts to our university’s operating budget and the essential services we rely on, the dilapidation of our campus infrastructure, struggling to find work after graduation and more. I have every intention of working to address each of these — however, I know that no one can do this alone.
I am confident in the experience, skills and knowledge I can bring to this role, I believe in every point on my platform, and I believe there is opportunity to genuinely drive positive change on many of the issues we face. The thing that scares me, though, is being the only person trying.
My love for this campus originates with the people on it. During my most challenging moments, it was the community that saved me – and that’s what I believe will save us from the challenges we face now. As much as students need a strong leader and advocate, we need to come together in solidarity to demonstrate the value and strength I know our community holds.
As VP External, I will leave no stone unturned to ensure students’ interests are heard and heeded. But, I will also involve students in the process, build our community, and empower our unified voice. When you go to cast your votes on March 3 – 5, I ask all you Dinos out there to help me do so, and vote Colson Buchanan for VP External.