Marianopolis News, MSU Elections 2019-2020

2019-2020 MSU Presidential/VP Candidates Interview: Luka x Charles

What is motivating you to run for President or Vice President? What are some major aspirations in your life?


Luka: I’ve always thought of myself as a good leader. For me, a good leader is able to not only gather a large group of people under the same cause but to also be a facilitator. My past as a water polo captain for a national league club as well as the leadership classes I took in high school have helped me grow to become a better listener, motivator and spokesperson. The former also helped me develop great stress management abilities, since a physical sport like water polo has an immense mental and physical toll. In times of great stress, like, for example, a Canadian Championship medal game, it’s important to get everyone to be focused on the same goal so that we can all work together to achieve it. Sometimes, conflicts happen between a player and the coach or even between teammates, and a captain’s responsibility is to not have that affect the morale of the team or its spirit.


I’m still uncertain as to what I’d like to study in University, but law and finances interest me a lot, even though I’m currently a science student. Ever since I got interested in politics by following the news, I have always dreamed of a political career, so maybe one day I’ll be able to get involved in the community at a larger scale.


Charles: I’ve always had an interest in decision-making roles. Although I was involved in student government in high school as Co-President of the Class of ’19, this opportunity isn’t only at a higher level but a chance to make real, impactful changes for students. I am currently planning on majoring in either economics and finance or political science, and I think that this experience of representing Marianopolites will allow me to touch the world of politics. I am a decision-maker, and I believe that the role of Vice President will allow me to continue contributing to making excellent executive decisions in whatever I am involved in, especially with the projects that we have planned to accomplish in the near future.


For my experience investing, I think that actively participating in the decisions related to the investment fund (since the amount of money was substantial) and both managing the Sainte-Anne Investment Club, with more than 25 members, and the Marianopolis Investment Club, with over 75 registered members, will allow me to represent the collective voice of MSU. On an athletic point of view as well, being a second-year veteran on the U18 team made me a mentor for the younger players, and I think as the Fall 2020 semester begins, the first-years will be looking for role models, and I think that the leaders of MSU should be two individuals to look up to.


What sets you apart from the other candidates? In which ways are your experience and perspective unique?


L: Personally, the thing that sets me apart from the other candidates is my ability to not back down from a fight. As I mentioned before, contact sports that I’ve played—like water polo, American football and rugby—all teach values of standing your own ground. Furthermore, I’m not an executive of different clubs, which, at first glance, may make me seem unengaged in club life, but in reality, it frees up more time to be devoted to the job of President and takes away all biases. Charles and I have known each other for a long time, and we have great chemistry too. Although we have differing views on various topics, our perspectives and approaches complement each other and make them better and well-rounded.


C: For one, we know that the possibility of some of the candidates doing it for their own resume and purposes is very high. Luka and I have great chemistry working together and have known each other for the past six years. This is one truly unique perspective that we both have. Something that also sets us apart from the other candidates is the fact that we are not “all over the place,” which gives us the ability to concentrate all our efforts on important projects, instead of multiple projects that barely get any attention. For next year, this will allow me to have a lot of time as Vice President to discuss with students and manage projects. Also, high-level sports require attentiveness and a lot of discipline, which I carry out in the academic and extracurricular world.


What do you think is the most challenging aspect of the position and what will you do to overcome this issue?


L: I think the most challenging aspect of the position is meeting all the student’s demands. For example, the thought of getting a refund on students’ tuition fees as a result of the school closure has been circulating a lot recently, but when you take on the idea more seriously, the logistics and the realism of it start to seem more and more insurmountable. I saw the idea on some Marianopolis pages, like MSecrets. At first, I saw its potential as some students have voiced concerns about not being able to pay bills, but COVID-19 has really impacted everyone’s lives, from losing jobs to not being able to go outside and socialize. Taking a wider perspective, like looking at the issue from professors’ point of view, can bring new ideas to the discussion and make it progress further to a point where decisions could be made. Listening to students’ demands and acting upon them would be my main focus but keeping a check on reality by not making any promises I can’t keep is also quite important.


C: I think the most challenging aspect of the position will be to listen to students’ issues, concerns and suggestions and make everyone satisfied with the situation. Obviously, the goal would be to emphasize on increasing the overall general satisfaction of the student body, but since the Vice President also acts as the liaison between the clubs and the Union, I think it’s important to be able to make decisions based on making everyone happy in general.

Another aspect of the position is to be able to reach decisions with all elected/appointed members of Congress since all candidates are very different and bring different visions and values to the table. Luka and I will attempt to bring everyone together and ultimately decide on things that will be beneficial for all.


By what metric would you measure your success as a President or Vice President?


L: There are different ways that I would measure our success as President or VP, for example, how many of our proposed ideas become realities (like the composting system or student parking ideas). Another way of measuring this would be with how successful our plans are when implemented. For example, our proposed “Town Hall” meetings are something new that would prioritize student consultation.

C: To add on to one of Luka’s points on Information Accessibility & Transparency, prioritizing student consultation through directed and targeted outreach as well as conducting regular Town Hall meetings (a discussion-type meeting where students, selected faculty members and Congress representatives would be able to share their opinion and give us feedback on the job) are things that we will do. This will serve as a census-type evaluation for us to be able to get feedback from a lot of students at the same time and assess on our efficiency. This will allow everyone’s voice to be heard. For example, every session, we will bring different faculty members (different departments, academic advisors, Deans, etc.) to listen and contribute to making Marianopolis a better place.


Do you have what it takes to stand up for student interests against the administration and ensure our voice is heard?


L: I believe that I do. I never back down from a battle, so confronting the administration in a respectful discussion does not intimidate me. I consider myself to be well-liked both by faculty members and by my peers due to my professionalism, wittiness and reliability.


C: I am very extroverted, and I believe Luka is as well, so we will be able to be assertive and ensure that our voices are heard. In my experience, I have the tendency to get things done by presenting a detailed plan, which presents a clear strategy and course of action. I’ve had a good relationship with all of my past teachers, directors and also professionals in the field of business that I’ve worked with.


Being President or Vice President of the MSU requires decisiveness. Share some examples of your ability and willingness to be decisive.


L: When it comes to decisiveness, my refereeing career is full of split-second decisions, where each decision can change the outcome of the game. On a more academic side, I was part of a group of 9 members planning a humanitarian trip to Madagascar in grades 10 and 11. I did not end up going on the trip, but while I was still a member of said team, decisiveness was key as to planning fundraisers (with the goal of raising over $20,000) and appointing roles among team members. In our fundraising process, many different ideas as to which activities to conduct were brought to the table. As a collective, it was important for us to choose the ones that would be the most efficient in terms of effort put into the activity and its rewards. My decisiveness helped me when the conversation would come to a stalemate and a decision could not be made. Although not making a decision is worse than making the wrong one, taking the time to evaluate all the options is just as important. In other words, you need to be able to find a sweet spot between evaluating and acting.


C: This year, I have been the head coach of a Division 1 high school golf team, and the decisions that are required to make sure the team is winning requires a complex thinking process. I have known some of those players for two or three years, and it is emotionally difficult to cut a player that you are friends with, but sometimes decisions must be made for the general good of the team. Thus, I consider the Marianopolis student body the team, like in this example.


Also, certain decisions have made my investment fund grow at a very big rate. In just 4 years, we tripled the initial value of the fund, while making decisions on what to do with the assets we owned or wanted to own. Now, I am not saying that all decisions were perfect, but in the long run, my willingness to be decisive and follow protocols have made me very successful.

Finally, on a more individual point of view, making the right decisions on the ice makes a big difference in my overall performance. Where I should skate, whether I should pass to my winger or my centerman… These instant decisions I need to take while playing at a high level of hockey helped me transfer those decision-making abilities off-ice.


If a student asked you for advice on how to have a positive impact on the Marianopolis community, what would you tell them?


L: There are many ways students can have a positive impact on the Marianopolis community. It can be something like becoming an executive of a club, but it could also be something as simple as cleaning up after yourself in the cafeteria (which a lot of people tend to forget) or thanking the custodians for keeping our school nice and clean day in and day out.


C: Something as simple as contributing through voicing their opinions directly to Congress would make a positive impact as well as getting involved in a club leadership/executive position, I think that promoting sustainability would also enable them to have a bigger impact. As we develop our ideas and start operations for projects, we want to get students involved, possibly the Green Team for our sustainable ideas, the stress-reducing clubs for our other pillar, and involving the MBN and the MWR as main information providers, and we value their presence in terms of distributing accurate news.


In your opinion, what value should Congress respect the most when it comes to representing its students?


L: In my opinion, transparency is very important. Last week I was lucky enough to be a guest to an MSU meeting, and if I’m being honest, I was not aware of some of the initiatives they discussed during that meeting. For example, they finalized an intercollegiate climate plan, for which I didn’t even know was in the works for so long. I feel like students should be aware of the many things that Congress does for them. I agree with keeping things quiet until they become a sure thing to avoid empty promises, but I still find that involving students in some way, for example, by letting them voice their opinions on what they would want from a climate plan, is very important.


C: If I can also add, we plan on getting all those things available through a summarized report. For example, all budget requests will be public domain, our projects will get weekly reports published, and the MSU website will get a revamped look to make it easier to navigate through. I’ve read through the minutes, but it’s a hassle to reach them. Also, the club budgets are available, but I don’t know why the Marianopolis Sleeping Association received $65 and Descendants of the Dragons got $4000. We just want to make all this information more accessible to everyone without the need to request it. It will all be available, and we want a simpler version to be done as well (summary report), so it’s easy to read on the go.


What is your vision of the perfect Marianopolis community?


L: My ideal Marianopolis community would be one filled with students that help each other academically and psychologically, for example, by sharing notes on services like Marinotes or offering help as a tutor with schoolwork. It would also be a community where clubs come together in times of need to help others, such as right now, with the COVID-19 situation where clubs have had great initiatives to help people, whether it’s economically or psychologically.


C: My vision of a perfect Marianopolis community is where the common community goal of the whole student body is making Marianopolis a better place, as well as having the mission of making contributions to the Marianopolis community. I feel like a good job has been done by a great majority of students but creating a greater sense of belonging to the College (spirit-wise) would enable us to thrive outside of academics.


Have you guys ever faced a tough decision or event together where your complementing perspectives helped resolve the situation better than if you had done it individually?


L: I would say that we haven’t had any tough decisions to go through, but we are proud of the fact that even though we have opposing political views, me being more centrist-left while Charles is more centrist-right, we can always reach a consensus that, in many ways, is better than if we always agreed on everything. In other words, our ranging views allow us to see the whole sphere of the situation and be able to make a decision that will benefit everyone the most.


C: Since Luka is an analyst of the Vertex Investment Club asset management fund, I have the opportunity of working with him for investment research purposes. As he said previously, we both have different political views, but when it’s time to make a final decision on a stock recommendation, political beliefs don’t count, but the intellectual process that was followed does. Our complementing perspectives allowed us, in this campaign, to come to a conclusion on ideas to run for and make them appealing to everyone.


On your platform, you proposed to create school spirit events such as Opening Day, Dean’s Day, and Athletics Day. What do you guys have in mind for each of the events? How is it similar to other events in schools elsewhere?


C: This might be like different schools elsewhere outside of Montreal and in different countries. The main event is Opening Day, which would welcome everyone though the opening of the 2020-2021 Academic Year. We would need the help of volunteers, named our Orientation Leaders, to make the Marianopolis campus a buzzing place! It would be a day for both first-year and second-year students to introduce themselves and get information about the year to come, a bit like the one that was organized this year, but we want to make it bigger. This also adds to our mentorship program, to guide the newcomers and help them adapt to their new school.


As for Athletics Day, we want to promote the sports teams. For example, we would have a match played during AP (basketball, badminton, volleyball, etc.) against our biggest rival, Dawson, and let everyone come watch, since it’s hard for most people to attend games late at night during the week. We would also expose the different sports through activities to showcase our athletes.

These events will be organized to make certain days more fun and reduce student stress by entertaining them and having them compete with their friends and “show off.”


Dean’s Day would be an academic version of Athletic’s Day. We want to be able to showcase projects and initiatives students do inside or outside of school, celebrate teachers and thank the faculty for the good job they do to educate us. We want to make Marianopolis a united community. Therefore, as the higher representatives of Congress, we would want to ensure that everyone is contributing and helping towards building a great relationship between faculty, administration and students.


L: Since we want to enhance the feeling of community and inclusiveness at Marianopolis, clubs and staff would have a very important role in the proceedings like Athletics day. These events would be organized in partnership with clubs. Some clubs could even sell food or raffle tickets to be able to finance their projects (similarly to the bake sales held near the cafeteria). If I were to be President, working out the logistics with other Coordinators and Execs would probably be my main role for these activities, ensuring all ideas are heard equally and actions are taken with justice to all.

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