The USC's 2017 elections are kicking off with the first presidential slate, Team DiBrina, announcing their candidacy for the top executive jobs.
David DiBrina and Harry Orbach-Miller, two fourth-year students, announced their candidacy for president and vice-president, respectively.
Both candidates have a lot of experience under their belts. Dibrina, an Ivey HBA student, is a current USC councillor and vice-president university affairs of the Ivey HBA association. He's also a former Ally Western coordinator and Theatre Western executive member.
Orbach-Miller, a social science student, is the current chair of the Western student senators. He was previously a student senator representing FIMS and social science. He was also president of the Medway-Sydenham Hall student council in his second year.
Orbach-Miller has been involved in local initiatives as well including being on a community review panel with the city of London and was a board member with the Pillar Nonprofit Network.
The duo met on an Ally Western committee and have been thinking about running since the end of their third year.
Orbach-Miller said that as Ally Western coordinator, DiBrina made sure everyone got the opportunity to voice their opinions and that their contributions were valued — qualities he thinks that will make DiBrina a great president.
“We work together very well and we're very honest with each other too, we want to make sure that what we do throughout this campaign will add most value for the USC and the students,” DiBrina said.
DiBrina and Orbach-Miller said they're running because they want to leave Western and the USC better than when they came into it.
“The USC should be empowering others to actually be able to do the job themselves; help others help themselves," Orbach-Miller said. "And so when we’re looking at this we have to make sure that our campus and the USC actually work better for the students."
DiBrina emphasized their plan to reach out and meet students at large in order to get their different perspectives.
“It seems like we hear a lot of those hyper-active students speak up, but we have to remember that a large portion of the student population aren’t those hyper-active students. We need to make sure that we’re taking the time to listen to them as well," he said.
Team DiBrina also plans on addressing USC's chronic low voter turnout problem by increasing awareness of the importance of voting at a student level.
DiBrina said they will be actively looking for the 74 per cent of the student population that did not vote in the USC election last year.
“We need to put the effort in and see where that disconnect is, why it is happening and really get together with the team and implement a strategy to build those relationships,” DiBrina said.
The two believe this year the USC is doing well in terms of their communication when promoting various events and initiatives and in building relationships with students and increasing the presence of the USC in students’ lives.
However, they believe there is room for improvement when it comes to USC processes and procedures, especially in terms of transparency and accountability.
DiBrina says his motivation for running is for students to get the most out of the USC that they can.
“Right now they may not know how much influence they have, really what an important role they play at this school and in terms of this organization as well so we want to make sure they’re aware of that and that they’re actually feeling empowered to really make a difference and do some really great stuff and positive things with the USC,” he said.
For Orbach-Miller, his reason for running lies in the importance of having candid conversations.
“I’m running because I think it’s really important that we start reaching beyond what our current status quo is. I feel that a lot of the time we do something and we don’t question it, we don’t go back and re-evaluate: Is this working for students? Does this add value? Should we keep doing it?”