Marianopolis News, MSU Elections 2019-2020

2019-2020 MSU Presidential/VP Candidates Interview: Shuzhao

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

In the beginning, I decided to run simply because I wished to be apart of Congress, the team representing the student body in our College. During my first year at Marianopolis, I witnessed the Congress team succeed in facilitating and enriching our student life, and I sincerely want to be a part of that next year. With regards to the position I am running for, Vice President of Administrative Affairs, I have learned that this position mainly serves as a liaison between the Congress and the clubs, and I happen to be very involved in club activities at the College. I am currently a member of multiple clubs that range from volunteering clubs such as the Marianopolis Montreal Chinese Hospital Club to game clubs like the Marianopolis Werewolf Club. I am also involved in clubs that address issues that I am familiar with like the Marianopolis Chinese Student Association as well as clubs that enable me to get out of my comfort zone such as the Marianopolis Programming Club. Thus, this position will enable me to be more involved in club affairs than I already am.


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

I was born in China. When I was eleven, I came to Montreal with my parents in order to be in a different environment than the one I had always lived in. Thanks to Quebec’s welcoming immersion programs, I was able to learn French and English in the least amount of time, and I passed Jean-de-Brébeuf College’s administrative exam along with four others, and this, 14 months after I had arrived. Now, I am a first-year Health Science student at Marianopolis College. Since I know what it is like to perceive the world from different perspectives, I am capable of perceiving and pinpointing issues that the other candidates may easily ignore. I also hold unique core values dear to my heart that will enable me to improve student life. I have been here long enough to understand how everything works in Canada, how people think and what the important values are. For example, when the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Quebec, students’ opinions were very polarized about what actions should be taken to prevent its spreading. Many students could not come to terms with each other because they don’t share the same values and ways of thinking. As I can understand both sides fairly well, I can be the one to explain to students the reason why opinions differ in this type of situation. I see myself as a bridge between cultural differences, and I believe that students need at least one person like me in Congress.


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

Personally, I am not an excellent orator, and public speaking often isn’t a thing that I can overcome without difficulty. Therefore, it will be difficult for me to gain students’ trust very quickly, and without student support, I won’t be able to do many things as Vice President. If I am elected as Vice President, gaining trust from all students before every initiative will become very challenging for me. I can certainly further improve my speech for the next year, but at the same time, I believe that I can act more than speak to bring real changes to our student life. This will save me some time and I will be able to that I can projects happen, and once students can see my effort improving our conditions, they will certainly trust me more.


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

For me, a successful Vice President is one who can accomplish everything that he or she has promised during the campaign. For me, a promise made when even its maker doesn’t believe in it is nothing but a lie. Compared to some of the candidates, I haven’t promised too many things to students, but I am confident that I will do everything I can to accomplish every one of my promises once I’m elected. For projects that require the school’s approval (for example my initiative for a reliable Omnivox calendar for which details are provided in my campaign and in question 5), I cannot guarantee its success, but I am willing to do everything to make it happen.


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

I certainly have the necessary qualities. One of my most important initiatives for my campaign is to establish a reliable Omnivox calendar, where every teacher in Marianopolis will put their exam dates and assignment due dates on it for their students. To make this happen, I plan first to start a survey among students to get their support, then I will go to the administration representing the student voice to communicate with them about the issue. I will need the administration to make the Omnivox calendar update mandatory for all the teachers, as well as information on office hours.


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

This February, some students and I took part in an initiative where we raised some funds for hospitals in Wuhan, the original hotspot of the coronavirus. Note that Chinese customs only take material donations, which means that, not only did we need to raise funds, but we also needed to find a medical accessory seller and a hospital in Wuhan ready to receive our donation. At the time, N95 masks and other medical accessories were already running out of stock, and there were also people raising the stock prices to five to ten times of its initial price, and people selling unqualified masks on purpose, pretending that their masks are qualified for use. In short, the situation was getting worse everyday, and it became more and more difficult for us to keep the fundraising going as the situation progressed; every decision we made could have resulted in hundreds or thousands of dollars lost. Luckily, the other students and I were decisive enough, and we were able to resolve any problem within the shortest delay. In the end, more than $7,000 was collected and converted into materials because of our own efforts as well as the countless donations from all parts of Montreal, other provinces, and even from the United States.


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

First of all, I would tell them that it is important to be respectful when expressing your opinion. No matter what you want to bring to the community (there’s a limit, of course, you cannot promote racism for example), you need to accept that there will be both people supporting your initiatives and who will bash you. With regards to the latter situation, you should not lose yourself in hatred or disdain, and start attacking people whose opinion differs from yours. Rather, you should accept that everyone is different and try to communicate with them while explaining your ideas, and even if you cannot agree with them, you should leave them the right to think differently.


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

Integrity. When asking for students’ opinions, the Congress should try as much as possible to not guide the overall direction of a consensus with the student body that only serves the interest of Congress members. Congress should always remain impartial and unbiased.


What is your vision of the perfect Marianopolis community?

My vision of the perfect Marianopolis community is a community where everyone accepts eachothers’ differences and recognizes and appreciates the different cultures or academic backgrounds that make the student body so diverse. It is a community where no one judges anyone for their idea, and instead come together to peacefully discuss the idea. In the end, whether all the students can come to a consent or not, every student can still be respectful of each other, and the community can still be as harmonious as it will always be.


When entering the position of Vice-President, what would be your top priority and how would you tackle it?

My top priority would be to know the most urgent needs of the student body and immediately tackle them. Even though everything that can improve student life in an efficient way should be brought up by the Congress, there are things that need to be executed immediately and things that can be done in the long run. Once I enter the position, I will first create a survey to determine the students’ concerns and needs, and I will determine with other Congress members what the most relevant and urgent needs are from students. Once they are identified, other Congress members and I will decide how to take action in order to fulfill their needs and concerns.


Can you share some examples of when you were a catalyst who managed to bring a group with polarized opinions together so that all voices were at the table?

I find myself in these kinds of situations fairly often because I see myself as an intermedium between Canadian culture and immigrant culture. Due to this reason, I have come to understand that the way that people perceive and interpret problems is highly influenced by their culture and thus their values. As a student who graduated from high school under the International Baccalaureate programme, my personal project consisted of writing a novel based on my immigration experience. When I wrote the novel, I established its purpose on two main ideas: telling immigrants how to integrate in a new society, and explaining to local people why immigrants often struggle to adapt to the new culture in which they find themselves. In my novel, I mentioned that both sides are equally important, and made sure that my book appealed to both immigrants and local people. Writing this book made me start to see myself as a bridge between tw

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