USC Team Oceann

Fourth-year political science student Ocean Enbar (left) with Rav Datta, a fourth-year biology and psychology student (right).

TEAMOCEAN is running in the University Students' Council presidential election as the second announced slate of the season.

Ocean Enbar, a fourth-year political science student, is running for president with Rav Datta, a fourth-year biology and psychology student, for vice-president.

The two have both served as student senators-at-large for the last year; Datta is the student Senate's vice-chair.

Enbar began his involvement at Western University in its Leadership and Academic Mentorship Program. He said that, before joining, he felt lost in the campus community, and the program showed him how important school leadership is. He added he is involved in various clubs and communities on campus, particularly Western's Jewish community.

On the other hand, Datta started as a residence soph in Medway-Sydenham Hall in second year, and he was the assistant-head soph the following year. He has also worked as a programming assistant for the Faculty of Social Science. 

Enbar and Datta decided to run together after working with one another in the Senate this year, finding they agreed on student issues.

"Hearing his story, and his passion for mental health — and the things that students really care about — got me interested in working with him," Enbar said.

Mental health and wellness is a salient issue for both candidates, as Datta himself experienced mental health issues in his second year. They described mental health and wellness issues as an epidemic on campus.

It is one of their five platform points so far — the others being academics, student life and community, engagement and entrepreneurship, and campus operations — though they stressed the list is tentative. They are planning on continuing consultation with students to make sure their platform covers all the problems under each category so that they can plan solutions.

They said they believe the current executive, elected as Team Tobi, has done a "phenomenal job," particularly in mental health policies, like adding counsellors during exam season.

With only one other slate announced, Team Pratt-Chang, TEAMOCEAN said they felt they were the better choice.

"One of our biggest ideas is to try and represent as many different bodies and communities as possible — ethnic, or religious — to unite the campus," said Datta. "I believe that together, Ocean and I will be able to represent all students more effectively than the other slate."

They said that although both slates come from the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Social Science, Team Pratt-Chang's advocacy history has been focused on those faculties, and they feel they work for all students given their places in the Senate.  They also said their experience on Senate gives them familiarity with how to work with Western's administration to get things done.

But they said both slates assuredly agree on the need to run a competitive, fair popular election. They believe that their opponents will also likely want to increase voter turnout and general engagement in the election process.

"We believe that, by being student senators-at-large and representing 30,000-plus students, that we can continue to represent all voices," said Datta. 

A USC media debate with the slates will take place in the University Community Centre atrium next week on Jan. 24, 2018, at 6:30 p.m. 

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Martin is the Senior News Editor at the Gazette. You can contact him at martin.allen@westerngazette.ca, or @mtrallen on Twitter.

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