2022 SU General Election Full Supplement

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Uncontested VP internal candidate Naomi Bakana talks about addressing student needs at forum 

By Reyam Jamaleddine, March 1 2024—

The University of Calgary’s Students’ Union (SU) elections are in progress and the SU is hosting various forums, in person and online, for students to view candidates answering questions about their campaign platforms and their goals for the role. 

On Feb. 29, the SU hosted a vice-president internal forum hosted by the departing SU President Shaziah Jinnah Morsette. Questions were asked to Naomi Bakana, a fourth-year sociology student who is running uncontested for this role. 

When asked about her campaign platform, Bakana described her main platform points which are addressing food insecurity, housing, mental health and wellness as well as finances. 

“In terms of food insecurity I know it’s a large issue that a lot of students face both domestic and internationally so I feel like it’s important to continue to find ways to support students in that way,” said Bakana. “In terms of housing, there is a huge housing crisis going on. It’s not a surprise to anyone so I definitely want to see what kinds of means I can put forth to kind of support that a bit more,” 

The VP internal is a brand new position within the SU that has been approved by the Students’ Legislative Council (SLC). Bakana was asked how she would explain this new role to students who are unsure of what this position entails. 

“From my understanding, the VP internal position works, I guess, internally as the name suggests. It works a lot with students on campus and the various resources that we have available to us, so I know that there are a lot of things in terms of things like ancillary services like residence or Mac Hall so there are some things that, are, I guess that includes that as well, definitely a lot of it is advocacy and being that kind of voice that the students need and being that voice on like campus,” said Bakana in her description of what this new role entails. 

“It’s just really here to kind of, yeah ensure that students’ voices are heard and that there are things that are being done about it, about the various issues that we face,” said Bakana. “Of course, as I integrate into the role I would get a better understanding but kind of based on what I’ve read, that’s how I would describe this position.” 

In response to how she will manage and arrange meeting times with students, Bakana indicates that her top priority is meeting with students and understanding their concerns. Throughout the forum, she consistently maintains that a chief action she will take in her role is speaking to students and listening to their concerns. 

“My top priority is definitely meeting with students and understanding their concerns,” said Bakana. “It’s very important that students understand that their concerns will not go unnoticed, that there are voices hearing them, that they’re not alone in the struggle, especially when it comes to things that are as important as housing,” 

Bakana’s campaign intends to expand the capacity of the Student Wellness Centre using Quality Money. The University of Calgary’s Wellness Centre is not directly operated by the SU, when asked how she will fulfill this project despite this, Bakana expresses her desire to understand and learn how she can put forth this campaign point. Additionally, Bakana states that she is aware of the limitations this role has but maintains that within the limitations she will seek to see what she can achieve. 

“I’m very very passionate about this, so whatever it is, whatever means it is to kind of see this through and see how I can, I guess get this started is the way that I would love to go,” said Bakana.

In her final pitch, Bakana encourages students to vote for her as she is very passionate and has a lot of experience within the university. She expresses her love for the campus community and proclaims that she has understood the concerns of many students. 

“They have a voice that will advocate for them in every single need that they have which is why I believe that it’s important for students to put their foot forward and vote yes,” said Bakana. 

Voting takes place Mar. 5, 6 and 7 via your My UofC Student Centre. 

All undergraduate students can vote YES or NO on their ballot for Naomi Bakana as VP internal or ABSTAIN from voting.

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