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It’s that time again: get to know your USSU candidates, and why you should vote for them

By in News

UPDATE 29/3/12: The election is over and next year’s USSU executive has been decided.

[dropcap]O[/dropcap]nce again, students are being invited to take an interest in campus politics and vote on next year’s University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union. Voting will open on Wednesday, March 28 and remain open until March 29 at 4 p.m.

This is the first year that the USSU is also running elections for all college representatives on University Students’ Council. In addition to voting for each of the four executive positions and the student representatives on University Senate, students will be able to vote for their USC representative on PAWS next week.

Unlike many previous years, almost all of the executive positions are contested: there are three people running for president, and the only position that is uncontested is vice-president student affairs, for which Alex Werenka is running. To acquaint readers with each candidate, the Sheaf asked all eight of the people running this year to explain why students should vote for them. The following list is in alphabetical order.

For an even closer in-depth look at each candidates platform, be sure to come to the USSU candidates’ this Thursday at Louis (4:00pm), moderated by the Sheaf.

Videos of each candidate can be found on YouTube, courtesy of the USSU.

[toggle hide=”yes” border=”yes” style=”white” title_closed=”View the Sheaf’s USSU quiz” title_open=”Close quiz”]The Sheaf’s USSU quiz[/toggle]


Jared Brown is a 4th Year Sociology student.

Jared Brown

[box type=”info” style=”rounded” border=”full”]Quiz score: 74% (14/19)[/box]

I am running for USSU President because I believe I bring a much-needed social lens to the operations of the USSU. I have paid a lot of attention to the social undertakings that the USSU has embraced over the past year and I have always felt there has been a lot more that could be done to encourage students, promote safety and utilize creative initiatives to help with student’s everyday life. I recognize there are absent qualities in the USSU and I think I can help shape the organization in becoming one of the top student run organizations in the country. If we have a very strong union for students to get involved with we can provide the means for individuals to take initiative and develop themselves into strong capable leaders for our society.

David Konkin is a 3rd year Political Studies student.

David Konkin

[box type=”info” style=”rounded” border=”full”]Quiz score: 68% (13/19)[/box]

As a member of student council, I’ve had the opportunity to engage on a multitude of student issues and found a deep passion for them. Student governance really can be effective and I want to use my abilities to ensure that it is. There is a need for a strong student voice on issues such as housing, tuition, transit and many more and I believe that I can provide that leadership. Much of the President’s role deals with relationships, primarily with the province, the city and the university. We need to articulate student needs and concerns to these actors in a constructive way so that we can work with them to solve these issues. In short, I am running to be your USSU President because I believe in my ability to bring positive change for students.

Trevor Paschke is a 5th year Engineering student.

Trevor Paschke

[box type=”info” style=”rounded” border=”full”]Quiz score: 66% (12.5/19)[/box]

I want to help the USSU support student groups. Through my experience as this year’s Engineering Students’ Society president I have gained insight into the operations of the USSU and experience that is applicable to the president position. This experience includes working with the Dean’s office, report writing, meeting decorum and public speaking. Most importantly to me, I have had conversations with students that feel disengaged from the USSU. I want the opportunity to increase awareness of efforts by the USSU by utilizing my network on campus and expand my network to include representatives from as many student groups as possible. 

Additionally, my network of students from different universities in Canada is extensive. It will be easy to collaborate with students to obtain information about best practices other universities follow to achieve success. If there is a new service proposed, I can reach out to my friends and see if something similar has been tried, and whether it is feasible. Most importantly, I recognize that I do not know everything but I know someone who does. I may not be representative of every student on this campus but I know someone who is.

VP Operations & Finance

Steven Heidel is a 3rd year Honours Computer Science student.

Steven Heidel

[box type=”info” style=”rounded” border=”full”]Quiz score: 84% (16/19)[/box]

I am running because I have both a passion for improving the USSU and the experience to back it up. As a member of the Budget and Finance Committee, I was able to see first-hand how student fees were being spent and I came up with ways that this could be improved. I believe in the principle of doing “more with less” and want to bring this idea to the USSU. Certain areas of the organization could perform more efficiently, such as Browsers and the centres. Other areas, such as campus groups, deserve more funding and attention because that money goes directly back to the students. Overall I am running on three issues: fiscal restraint, improved communication and campus groups. I have thoroughly researched all the items of my platform and have the leadership skills necessary to actually get them implemented. Vote for me because I am confident that I can actually make a change to the USSU.

Jenna Moellenbeck is a 3rd year Human Resources student.

Jenna Moellenbeck

[box type=”info” style=”rounded” border=”full”]Quiz score: 74% (14/19)[/box]

I am a member of University Students’ Council for Edwards School of Business and I feel I am more than qualified for VP Operations and Finance. This year I have been quite involved with the USSU: I’m a member of students’ council, I sit on the academics and the budget and finance committee, and I also volunteer at the Help Centre. I want to take my dedication to the USSU to the next level by running for an executive position. As an executive member I want to increase student engagement and create a more memorable university experience. One way I would accomplish this is by increasing student engagement and encouraging all students to join a campus club or even start their own. Most importantly, I want to be accessible to students. This can be done by improving the comment couch implemented by this year’s executive and having more of a presence on campus. I will be accountable to the students and hopefully enhance their time at the University of Saskatchewan.

VP Academic

Ruvimbo Kanyemba is a 5th year student of Psychology & Crime, Law and Justice Studies.

Ruvimbo Kanyemba

[box type=”info” style=”rounded” border=”full”]Quiz score: 42% (8/19)[/box]

For the past five years I have worked with and represented students as a Resident Assistant, Resident Advisor and USSU Student Crew/Safewalk Coordinator. I am looking forward to putting the wealth of experience and knowledge I have gained to represent you with the university. It is very important that executive members are aware of what the USSU can and cannot do, as time and resources could be wasted on pursuing goals that cannot be attained. That being said, I look forward to:

  1. Giving students a voice in academic issues through the various committees I will be sitting on.
  2. Creating a USSU experiential learning program for undergraduate students. Resources are in place for this.
  3. Promoting awareness of various policies that affect students’ and instructors’ academic experience. Many students are not aware of these.
  4. Advising the university about necessary changes to academic advising (something students are concerned about).
Marylou Mintram is a 1st Year Arts & Science student.

Marylou Mintram

[box type=”info” style=”rounded” border=”full”]Quiz score: 58% (11/19)[/box]

I will be committed to ensuring that students will be heard and do diligence on seeking all information pertaining to your concerns. Being an informed liaising between the Student Union and other learning institutions.

What I would really like to do is work for students to ensure that this superb university will provide the best academic experience possible, in hopes that students are supported in achieving their current aspirations. By supporting students in any appeals they may have, and staying up-to-date on provincial and community events, I guarantee to students that I would maximize my potential in creating a learning experience where you get the most benefit.

I believe the U of S holds a key that will unlock the gateway of dreams, and I would like to enhance this by implementing new or assessing existing ideas such as:

  • Coordinating regular networking events
  • Developing a mentorship program
  • Reviewing copyright laws
  • Making online textbooks feasible option
  • Trying to find a way to decrease the cost of textbooks
  • Reassessing the Evaluations
  • Workshops on obtaining research funds
  • Providing support to campus groups
  • The U of S offers possibilities for learning and growth that are simply unparalleled. Together let’s unlock the potential and maximize what this institution has to offer.

VP Student Affairs

Alex Werenka is a 5th Year Arts & Science student.

Alex Werenka

[box type=”info” style=”rounded” border=”full”]Quiz score: 66% (12.5/19)[/box]

I am running because I believe that this is an effective way to create social change. This position covers all non-academic issues and though I find academics interesting I am far more interested in the affairs of students.

I have several ideas of what and where to take this position, but I would love to find out what students want and make it a more involved and community-based process.

Photos: Raisa Pezderic/The Sheaf

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