Tight competition sees Bosc re-elected president with new executive team

Winners announced in highly-contested UWSA election

  • Incumbent Lauren Bosc was re-elected president of the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association. Zach Fleisher, along with his campaign partner Laura Sexsmith, were elected vice-president advocate and vice-president student services, respectively. Andrée Forest was elected vice-president internal. – Dylan Hewlett

Cheers went up as the winning candidates of the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association general election were announced last week.

Three of four executive positions were contested, with Lauren Bosc re-elected president, Zach Fleisher elected vice-president advocate, Laura Sexsmith elected vice-president student services and Andrée Forest selected for vice-president internal.

Bosc is happy to be able to continue her work as president.

“I think it’s really exciting that students have put their faith in me to do this for another year,” she said.

Bosc already has plans for several initiatives on campus, including better maintenance of the microwaves in Riddell Hall and the Bufeteria, and improved wireless Internet and cell phone access.

Wireless and phone access could easily be a year-long process, said Bosc. The UWSA executive will negotiate with university administration for upgrades to Wi-Fi and the installation of cell phone boosters.

“This is a project that is near and dear to my heart and I’m willing to dedicate the next year to really make a difference on this issue,” she said.

Bosc said she will incorporate criticisms leveled at her campaign into her vision for next year’s UWSA, to “make sure that everything we do this year is really consultative and student-based.”

Fleisher carried out an impressive 77 classroom presentations during campaign season, and looks forward to continue reaching out to students.

“The entire campaign has been called ‘Let’s Talk,’ and we want to connect with students,” he said.

According to Fleisher, students need to be aware of campus issues and how the UWSA can defend student rights.

“I need to make people who aren’t in housing aware of housing; I need to make people who aren’t international students aware of what’s going on with international students. If we all work together, we can get stuff done,” he said.

Sexsmith, who ran alongside Fleisher in the “Let’s Talk” campaign and joined him for many of the classroom presentations, wants to make sure students get the most out of the UWSA.

Even though tuition fees pay for these services, many students are not aware the UWSA is responsible for their health plan, Petrified Sole or student groups, she said.

“Everyone pays a fee, this is part of it, you can use these services - it’s not some part of an elite club,” said Sexsmith.

Sexsmith plans to increase student activity on campus, engage students from all aspects of the campus and encourage student group activity.

As a candidate for the one uncontested executive position, Forest has been planning ways to enhance the internal workings of the UWSA.

“I know (current VP Internal) Kaitie (Haig-Anderson) did a lot of great work and some shifts to the budget that are going to be really good for next year,” said Forest.

Forest looks forward to seeing Soma Café move to Lockhart, and intends to ensure the café will break even next year, instead of running a deficit.

“The space guarantees traffic and guarantees sales just by the nature of where it’s located,” she said.

Forest plans to promote communication with students through an initiative she calls The Kitchen Table, where she will set up a table (borrowed from her own kitchen) in an open space so students can easily contact her.

Andri Shchudlo, chief elections commissioner for the UWSA, said voter turnout was approximately 11.5 per cent. This is an improvement over 2011 general election voter turnout of just under 10 per cent. The all-time record for voter turnout was 13.3 per cent.

Shchudlo attributes the improved turnout to the contested positions, hard-working polling officers and outreach to overlooked demographics such as business and science students.

“It’s a combination of a lot of great candidates, especially a lot of really competitive races for the executive positions. It got lots of people out,” said Shchudlo.

Published in Volume 66, Number 24 of The Uniter (March 21, 2012)

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