Marianopolis News, MSU Elections 2018-2019

Coordinator Debate 2018: A Recap

With races too close to call in each of the 3 coordinator positions, let’s take a look at what each candidate said during the debate.

Social Activities

Ceylan Borgers spoke about her drive and enthusiasm as elements that would make her ideal for the position (along with party experience). Her platform involves making free food events more frequent and more diverse, creating beginning-of-year activities including bouncy castles, and bringing live acts to Marianopolis. While she noted that Post Malone would not be attending, she believes that there is a wealth of local musical and comedic talent to bring. She also believes that parties are helpful to bring students together and allow people to mingle, and hopes to help organize parties that are well-executed and enjoyable. As she explained, everyone works hard and they deserve to have fun.

Neil Cordingley pointed to his work as the current Social Activities committee co-chair and to his tenure on Congress as evidence of his hands-on experience in organizing social events. He believes that the lessons he has learned will allow him to organize parties that do not fall through. In particular, he noted that when finding venues, business are trying to take advantage of the MSU; he explained that the terrasse venue for last year’s 4873 party was expensive, and that he was able to negotiate a venue that was half as expensive this year. He argued that social events are a way to break down barriers between different groups, communities and programs, and he hopes to bring Marianopolis students together.

Social Justice

Elizabeth Hua began by speaking about her experience and qualifications. She listed being Coordinator of Internal Affairs, a member of student government for 8 years, and her involvement in a large number of clubs to highlight her ability to get things done. Her plan, she said, is focused on a) initiating conversations about important issues; b) creating a sense of solidarity within the community; and c) channeling that into action. Her platform is built on a more hands-on approach, which includes expanding Fair Trade and the Living Library in order to foster conversations and action. She noted that many social justice clubs are small and need a coordinator who is responsible and reliable to organize and help them grow. Particularly when dealing with national issues, she believes that larger social movements, such as #MeToo, can translated into awareness and new events at Marianopolis. Regarding her run for president, she stated that after her year on Congress, she wants to continue to be involved, and she sees the Social Justice position as a way to have a direct implication in the types of issues that she believes in.

Jasmine Kotsiopoulos spoke of her qualifications as Administrative Assistant on Congress and previous student council president. She hopes to raise awareness about local and global issues. Elements of her platform include massages and pet therapy to relieve stress and promote mental health, and finding ways to promote Fair Trade products, whether through the café or bake-sale style events. There was a back-and-forth on her idea of composting; while some pointed out that it had not been accomplished in the past, she pointed to the Green Team’s interest and discussions with the municipality as evidence that it was feasible. To address divisive issues, she believes that encouraging discussion, whether through social media or posters, is essential, while monitoring it responsibly. Indeed, she hopes to open up outlets for people to become more informed about a myriad of issues, whether it be about Indigenous issues or mental health.

WenXin Shen focused on fostering cooperation between clubs and, in particular, making social justice events more fun. To do so, she spoke about creating a social justice meme competition as well as creating more interactive activities with a light-hearted touch. In answering a question about the potential to lose sight of the seriousness of many of these issues, she believed that there was a balance that could be struck, and that you could achieve both. She highlighted the importance of social justice as a way for people to become aware and informed of important issues. For her, that means promoting the values of social justice and encouraging other students to do so as well.

Student Advocacy

Gaëlle spoke of her past roles as vice-president of sports for GA and the vice-president of another business created as part of Technovation. She highlighted her public speaking and debate experience to demonstrate her ability to advocate on behalf of students. Her platform involves card readers for bake sales, internship opportunities in collaboration with Marianopolis alumni, and the creation of a short outline of the IPESA, which she believes will make it easier for students to understand their rights. Regarding the feasibility of card readers, she noted that while the school had not given any to Wayne’s up until now, her discussions with Congress suggested that it was a feasible promise to make.

Si Ming Lin explained that after seeing what her friends were going through, she believes that change is needed to ensure that students feel safe and that they know where to go to ensure that their rights are protected. She pointed to her position as executive of Jac.organd as a Silver Key members to highlight her engagement. Her platform involves creating peer groups like those at McGill, with student volunteers that help students deal with issues, while allowing guidance counsellors to focus their time on more serious cases. She believes that its successful implementation at McGill and St. George’s, coupled with Marianopolis’ record for extracurricular engagement, proves that the project can be properly implemented. Furthermore, in order to raise awareness for the services offered, she would like to have the coordinator of Student Advocacy present at the opening AP, alongside the President and Vice-President of the MSU.

Anika Della-Cioppa listed her many prior experiences, including working with the Lester B. Pearson school board, as well as her positions as the Student Advocate equivalent at her high school, as the leader of a high school anti-bullying group, as a female student empowerment head and as a member of Meghan’s charities committee. Her main platform plank was to create an awareness week, where Congress members can set up booths and inform students. She believes that that will impact the rest of the year, given that students will be more likely to approach her and other Congress members after meeting them. She also notes that given proposed changes that would transform the coordinator position into a committee, she does not want to make promises that she cannot keep.

Juliana Malka pointed to her personality, as someone who is both approachable and able to deal with tense situations. Her platform focuses on awareness, accessibility and approachability, including with a mental health week filled with healthy food, yoga and workshops. She noted that it would be impossible to force people to listen to all of their rights, and that a more effective way to raise awareness would be by having students, congress members and the administration mingle through her “administration mixer”. In highlighting that the eventual winner will have to deal with sensitive and urgent issues, she stressed that she understands the importance of the position and that her demeanour is ideal for responding to emergencies with calm and compassion.

Yier reminisced about her decision to run, noting that it was after the cafeteria’s closure. She believes that by being approachable and by representing students from different backgrounds, she can best advocate for them. In particular, she wants to have an AP period every semester for speakers to explain the IPESA and to increase library loan times in a way that prioritizes student needs over financial success. She argued that her past experiences and personality would help her deal with sensitive student issues, whether they be related to academics or mental health.

PJ Pagakis highlighted his passion and his engagement in MariMUN and Debate as signs of his qualifications. His platform included creating a review board to propose amendments to the IPESA, which would allow students to review the document and play a meaningful role in advancing students’ rights. He also explained that the best way to raise awareness would be to have a representative go to each class at the beginning of the semester to inform students of their IPESA rights. He concluded by pointing to his history of taking initiative, which he believes makes him an ideal fit for the role.

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