VP Results graphic (png)

Maria Farooq (left) and Emily Poirier (right).

The USC has elected Maria Farooq as the incoming VP university affairs and Emily Poirier as the incoming VP external affairs after an internal council vote this week.

Seventy-eight of 90 University Students’ Council councillors — 86.6 per cent — participated in the blind ballot election, which is a 20 per cent increase in voter turnout since last year. In the 2022–23 vice-president election, 62 of 93 eligible student representatives voted in the blind ballot. 

Only council members are allowed to vote in the election and the results of each councillor’s vote are not released publicly. 

Farooq was elected VP university affairs with 75 votes — 96.2 per cent of the ballots. She will be responsible for advocating to Western University on issues students face.

Emily Poirier was elected VP external affairs with 64 votes — 82.1 per cent of the ballots. The role will see her advocate for student concerns to external stakeholders in the municipal, provincial and federal governments.

Farooq is a nursing councillor on the USC and the Western-Fanshawe Nursing Student Association. She currently sits on the University Affairs Standing Committee, where she is involved in reviewing USC policy papers and providing feedback. 

“I am so grateful and incredibly honoured to be elected,” said Farooq, in a statement to the Gazette. “I would like to thank those who took the time to talk to me and for inspiring me. I can’t wait to get started and improve student experience.”

The fourth-year nursing student ran on a platform focused on USC outreach, transparency and mental health accessibility. Safety is Farooq’s priority, which includes improving training for equity, diversity and inclusion as well as anti-gender-based and sexual violence. 

Farooq ran against Omer Abdalla, a fifth-year medical science and psychology student and Western Ski and Snowboard Club president — whose club activities he paused on Tuesday amid an investigation that could lead to sanctions.

Poirier is a fourth-year Huron University College student studying global health and refugee and migrant studies. The incoming VP external affairs currently serves as the vice-president student affairs on the Huron University College Students’ Council. 

She is a two-time Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance delegate and co-founder of the Safe Campus Coalition, organizing the mass anti-GBSV walkout in September 2021

“I’m so excited to continue this year’s executive team’s amazing work and continue advocating for students,” said Poirier, in a statement to the Gazette. “Above all though, I am so incredibly grateful to all the councillors for this opportunity, their insights and for all the support I’ve received during the campaign period.”

Poirier hopes to advocate for more grants for the USC’s Food Support Services, increase affordable housing in London and continue her GBSV advocacy work by promoting K–12 sex education.

Poirier ran against Harry Alorgbey Sardina — who received 14.1 per cent of the vote — and Kitt Kong — who received 3.8 per cent of the vote.

Alorgbey Sardina is a fourth-year BMOS student, the current president of Western Strength and a Social Science councillor. Kong is a fourth-year urban development studies student who was part of the varsity fencing team, the GBSV action committee and a residence soph in his third year. 

The VP external election was conducted using a ranked ballot, but since Poirier received the majority of the vote in the first round, it eliminated the need for any additional rounds.

Farooq and Poirier will be joining incoming USC president Sunday Ajak on the executive team next year. The other three executive positions — VP orientation and programming, VP student services and VP communications and public affairs — will be selected by hiring panels and announced later this semester.


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