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The Sheaf presents: Your USSU VP student affairs candidates

By in News

This year’s University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union by-election comes with the added interest of an executive vice-president position being up for grabs. Two candidates are vying for the position.

The vice-president student affairs portfolio covers on- and off-campus housing, sustainability, security, safety, health, sexual violence, equity, disabilities, internationalization on campus, and on- and off­-campus parking. They also liaise with the USSU centres.  

Candidates

Autumn LaRose-Smith

Fourth-year education 

What is your leadership experience?

“I’ve been volunteering for different organizations in the community for my entire life, and then on campus I’ve been a part of numerous student groups as well: the SUNTEP Student Council, VP for International Womens’ Movement, Indigenous Students’ Council, 5 Days for the Homeless… In the community, I sit on a board and I’m the lead volunteer co­-ordinator for a different non-profit as well.”

What are your main platform points?

Supporting the goals of The Path Forward, amplifying student voices and actively promoting health resources on campus.

“I really centered my platform around what the current executive is already doing with The Path Forward, their strategic goals, because I felt like those roles describe what I do and strive to do in the community and in school. Promoting education, revitalizing community and decolonizing systems and facilitating leadership are things I’ve been a part of from outside the USSU.”

“Amplifying student voices. I want to push amplifying because students already have a voice and I just want to make them louder and heard more, where it counts.”

“Promoting health resources on campus. I want to promote their presence on campus through informational tables and working on making sure students know what they are paying for.”

“It’s not mentioned on my platform but I’ve done a lot of advocating around sexual assault on campus, so I would like to focus on that as well because I think that aligns with the health resources that are available to sexual assault survivors on campus.”

What interested you about the student affairs portfolio?

“The role of student affairs covers issues that students are having regarding their health and wellness, instead of just academics. I felt like this position specifically is the one that is doing the ground-level work with students, getting to know students and which issues they have. I want to make sure that I can do my best to lift them up and make them feel like they are being heard.”

“I wanted to run because I felt like the role aligns with what I do outside in my life… I also thought that because there is no female representation in the executive… Once I went to the meeting and saw that there was just one other person running, I wanted to make it a fair fight.”

How will you deliver on your campaign promises with a shorter term in the position?

“I feel like these goals will align with the timeline that the by-elections offer. They are measurable, attainable and timely, relevant to what’s happening on campus. I’m not making any giant promises, recognizing that this is a shorter term and a lot of it is going to be catching up what is already being done.”

Robin Steeg

Fourth-year environmental biology

What is your leadership experience?

“I was previously a member of the USSU Sustainability Committee; for two years I’ve been a member at large. I have a bunch of leadership experience professionally as well as being a leader in my community. I’ve been an activist for close to 10 years. I care about my community and I try to give back and volunteer when I can.”

What are your main platform points?

Advocating for all students, sustainability through local action and global perspective, inclusivity and equity, and policy based on evidence and sound reasoning.

“From what I see, it seems like a lot of students aren’t even aware that the USSU exists or they don’t feel like it’s relevant to them or that it represents their interests. Advocating for all students, trying to get everyone on board and to be part of the union and feel like they have a place for their voice to be heard.”

“Inclusivity and equity. I’ve volunteered at the Women’s Centre and the Pride Centre for a number of years now and I’ve had a lot of dialogues about social justice and how important it is to create advocacy. On the issue of equity, I’ve had conversations about Access and Equity Services about how people who have invisible or visible disabilities still struggle to get the accommodations they need.” 

“Evidence-based policy plays into all of those [goals]. We need to advocate for students and behave in a manner that is good for the future of the student body and the planet.” 

What interested you about the student affairs portfolio?

“Health and the Sustainability Committee. I don’t know too much about the situation of parents on campus, although I know that there are programs that exist and I’d love to support and enhance those and hear from parents about how to best support them. I’m open to hearing people’s concerns about parking. Security is a major concern for many students and if we improve the experience of unity within the union, more people might feel safer.”

How will you deliver on your campaign promises with a shorter term in the position?

“I have a lot of connections within the community and I know where to get help and who I can ask for information when I need to. I think a lot of the events and weeks that are under the portfolio of the VP student affairs, I feel are naturally within my wheelhouse. I think that there’s a lot of resources and I’m an ambitious person.”

Cast your vote on the Elections channel in PAWS from Oct. 9 at 9 a.m. to Oct. 10 at 4 p.m. Nine candidates for Members of Council are also being elected in the by­elections, all uncontested.

Ana Cristina Camacho/ News Editor

Photos: Supplied

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