Low turnout at executive debate sparks discussion of how the SA can better engage students at Waterfront campus
Candidates running for the Student Association’s (SA) executive positions took the stage for a debate at the Waterfront campus Thursday, although turnout of students who were not directly involved in the race was low.
In the director of education debate between Tiffany White, running with the Act Now slate, and Mitchell Toye, running with the V3: Values| Voices| Virtue slate, each candidate discussed ideas on how to get students from Waterfront campus more involved in the SA, which funds The Dialog, in spite of their workload.
With Waterfront set to have a byelection in the fall for a campus director and health sciences representative, White said its important to have students at campus involved in the SA early in the semester.
“(If we get) them when they’re first engaged, when they’re first coming on board and then they can kind of pave the way for the future students that come in, they can take those learned experiences,” White said. “Being a board member is really a learning opportunity, and having those first-year students, it will make them better prepared if they wanted to run for an executive position next year.”
Toye agreed that getting students at Waterfront involved early was important, and added that getting feedback from alumni and students at the end of their course loads on how to better represent them would also be key.
“Telling them they matter, that there voices will be heard and finding a representative that truly understands the culture and also the academic workload that is encountered here is incredibly important.”
— The Dialog (@DialogGBC) March 30, 2017
Mercedes Burrowes from V3 used the debate as an opportunity to outline her plans if she becomes the director of campus life. Burrowes said she would work to make a calendar on the George Brown College mobile app, which would pull events, Huskies games and academic deadlines all together in one place.
Burrowes also said that she would “give students a voice,” about the events the SA should hold.
“Everyone here pays the student fees, I really would love to hear what students want to go to.”
Burrowes’ opponent, Brittney DaCosta of Act Now, had an exam and was not at the debate. In a statement read by White, DaCosta said that with her previous experience as the director of campus life, she’s better suited for the job.
“Now that (I have) experience (I’m) able to be a leader for the students because (I have) gone through the trenches of the position already and know what it takes to be successful in this position and (I’m) not ready to leave just yet.”
Sheldon Mortimore from V3, is a candidate for the director of equity position, spoke about the difficulties international students can face adjusting to George Brown. To address this, Mortimore said that he would create a type of event or program where international and domestic students could form friendships.
Alex Stewart from Act Now had an exam and could not attend the debate.
The debate, which was moderated by chief returning officer Charles Wilson, had a respectful tone with candidates from both the Act Now and V3 slates complimenting each other various points.
In their introductory comments, both Riddhi Modi from Act Now and Harjit Singh Dua who is representing V3, outlined their experience in student leadership as well as their journey as international students.
“I’m very proud that I’m standing next to Riddhi, an Indian, running for this,” said Singh Dua. “I’m very proud to be here with you.”
If elected again, Modi said that she would try to establish more grants and bursaries for international students, as well as work for more paid co-ops through the college.
Gemeda Beker, has been acclaimed as a the director of operations. Beker was also acclaimed as the director of operations in the 2016-17 election.
The first day students can cast their ballots in the election is Friday, March 31. A full list of poll locations can be found on the Student Association website’s election page.