The candidates for this year’s University of Winnipeg Students’ Association general election are officially off to the races, with several important executive positions heavily contested in the lead-up to the March 12 to March 15 voting period.
While vice-president internal only features one candidate, two people are looking for support for the position of vice-president student services and three candidates are vying for vice-president advocate.
Most notably for students, however, is that three candidates - incumbent president Lauren Bosc, former science director William Ring and rhetoric student Rob Holt - are looking to become the next president of the UWSA.
Each candidate seeks to bring their own vision to the operations of the student association, which collects millions of dollars in student fees each year.
“I feel like this year I’ve had a really great insight into what students want from their university experience,” said Bosc, adding that continuity in an organization like a student union is important because of high turnover rates.
“I’m not the kind of person who likes to leave projects unfinished.”
Bosc said her campaign is directed by three pillars.
The first pillar involves working with administration to improve campus technology - from wi-fi to cell phone reception to the accessibility of printers - in each campus building.
Secondly, she hopes to hold the U of W administration to account over the continued expansion of campus infrastructure.
Lastly, she would like to build connectivity between buildings, like the Buhler Centre and the Science Complex, which may be disconnected from university life on the main campus.
William Ring, the former UWSA science director and former coordinator of environmental group EcoPIA, maintains that the organization needs to improve its visibility and reach out beyond interest groups, even to students who may dislike the UWSA.
“Every student is paying fees and every student should have a say,” he said, adding accountability should be improved by making minutes and other UWSA documents available online.
“We should be reaching out to students who don’t like the UWSA and finding out why they don’t like it.”
For his part, Rob Holt, who ran for president last year on a shoestring budget of $18 and received nearly a third of the student vote, maintains the UWSA needs to reconnect with and inform students as well as liaise with media and get more involved in community projects.
Holt believes Bosc has not effectively pursued the goals in her platform during her term as president.
“Lauren (Bosc) has been president for the past year ... and if these things have been articulated as student priorities, one would wonder about how effective she’s already been in (representing students).”
Bosc maintains she has been an effective communicator, negotiating for printers being added to the Buhler Centre and Science Complex and with helping build interest in the UWSA.
Published in Volume 66, Number 22 of The Uniter (March 7, 2012)