Members from the two slates outline their goals for the Student Association’s board of directors
Two slates, V3: Values, Voices, Virtue and Act Now, have put their best foot forward campaigning to win the Student Association (SA) elections for 2017-18.
V3 are the challengers to the governing Act Now slate who won 15 out of 21 seats in 2016.
Students will cast their ballots in the SA elections starting Friday, March 31 and voting will end on Thursday, April 6. The SA funds The Dialog.
10 positions have been acclaimed for candidates who ran unopposed, four for V3, three independent candidates and three for Act Now, including Gemeda Beker who was acclaimed the director of operations on the SA’s executive.
The Waterfront campus director, construction and engineering representative, health sciences representative and the student representative seat on George Brown College’s board of governors remain vacant and will be decided in a byelection in the fall.
V3: Values, Voices, Virtue
V3: Values, Voices, Virtue is a new slate with a mission to give students a louder voice to express their needs to the SA.
Mercedes Burrowes is V3’s candidate for director of campus life and was an SA event squad staff this year.
“Word of mouth may not be the only way to advertise our events,” explained Burrowes who said that the SA needs to promote events like GBC theatre productions and sports more.
Burrowes plans to engage students by creating an all-in-one calendar on the GBC mobile app that sends out notifications for upcoming events such as sports. She proposed renting bleachers, doing pep rallies and setting up cotton candy machines at tournaments.
“We sold out on a paintball event this year and students didn’t know we did so quickly,” said Burrowes. “I want something out there that says, ‘hey, come get your tickets, only 30 remaining.’”
Burrowes also wants to unify main and satellite campuses with joint events connected with shuttle bus services and hosting an end-of-the-year banquet at Waterfront to celebrate the achievements of students there.
Sheldon Mortimore, currently the SA’s LGBTQ representative who ran on the Act Now ticket in 2016, is running this year with V3 for director of equity. Mortimore wants to create a needs assessment for marginalized students and open an LGBTQ-focused space at Waterfront campus.
Mitchell Toye is V3’s candidate for director of education. He wants to implement voluntary inclusion of fees allowing OSAP students to add textbook fees into their tuition.
This may not be possible due to government regulations that govern tuition and other fees at colleges in Ontario.
Toye is also pushing for fair pricing on school supplies to encourage students to support GBC based on equity rather than a profit.
As opposed to the current end-of-semester survey, Toye also wants the college to add an instant feedback system that allows students to express complaints about their faculty in real time, so that concerns may be resolved during the term.
“A major complaint I hear from students are that professors read off their PowerPoints,” said Toye who adds that faculty could use a system to coach each other, especially if they have been criticized by students.
The Act Now slate name stands for “accountability, transparency and change now.” Act Now have won the SA elections for the past two years and had a majority on the board.
Of Act Now’s 11 candidates, six were on the board this year, including four executives who are running for re-election.
Tiffany White from Act Now is running for re-election as the director of education. She wants to extend SA office hours for students, improve the SA’s presence across all campuses and hold town hall meetings monthly.
One of her campaign points for the 2016-17 academic year involved opening the Library Learning Commons for 24-hours. She said she learned that due to issues with staffing and funding, the 24-hour option wasn’t feasible.
This year, the SA negotiated with the library staff who introduced 24-hour printing stations, that White said has helped alleviate traffic at the library.
“I was trying to understand the job in the first six months,” said White. “I didn’t understand how much power I had before, but now I’d like to continue that momentum.”
Jasmyn St. Hilaire, the acclaimed Casa Loma campus director for Act. Now, wants to create mural designs in SA spaces like the games room, create more safe and accessible student spaces and plan more events that provide monthly shuttle bus services for pub nights.
St. Hilaire said she wants to use her positive space training, from working with the SA’s event squad, to create a space for all students
Francis Torres, running for re-election as St. James campus director, said he wants to bring student politics to the forefront of student conversations, to promote town hall meetings more and to encourage students to participate in monthly board meetings.
Like White, Torres wants to continue the momentum he has set up from his first year on the board by creating an inclusive environment and raising more awareness of the SA’s services and operations among students.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Jasmyn St. Hilaire, who is the acclaimed Casa Loma campus director. The caption also originally reversed the two slates. The Dialog regrets the errors.