Avila, Palin, MacMillan USC elections

Eddy Avila, Brandon Palin and Robert MacMillan.

Three teams released their platforms on Monday. This is a quick rundown of what's in them. They can all be found online on candidates' websites and on Facebook.

Team Avila

Team Avila’s platform is built around the motto: “Students for students.”

Released on Monday morning, Eddy Avila and Jamie Cleary’s platform is divided into five main sections: academics, engagement and collaboration, wellness, student life and community. 

Each section in the platform is further divided into a “for now” and “for later” portion. Presumably, the “for now” portion consists of items that can be changed in the short-term future.

A major point in the academics “for now” section is proposed changes to academic counselling. Team Avila envisions a virtual appointment booking system instead of having to call or go in to book an appointment.

Some of Team Avila’s proposed “for later” points include: advocating for the 30 per cent off tuition grant to apply to more students (students who have been out of high school for more than four years); sending out earlier exam schedules; moving the fall reading break to Thanksgiving; implementing a pay-as-you-go system in which students pay per course instead of per year; and modifying the allowance for three exams in 23 hours.

In the student life “for now” section, the team hopes to create a Beerfest 2.0 in Frost Week, bring campus recreation activities to the University Community Centre and increase pedestrian safety. Additionally, the team hopes to have more indigenous programming including hosting events and conferences.

In the engagement and collaboration “for now” section the team talks about how they would stay in touch with students. Team Avila hopes to have a more user-friendly USC website, the ability for students to meet with the executive team on a weekly basis and have direct engagement.

Finally, in their community section, Team Avila wants bus passes to be extended into September so that students have time to pick up their new ones, more bus shelters so students are not in the cold, more HOCO events in the city and increased awareness about the Mustang Express.

  • Rita Rahmati

Team MacMillan

Team MacMillan launched their USC presidential campaign using a Facebook page and so far, their campaign differs not only in their lack of a campaign website, but also in many of their platform points.

The platform starts on a light-hearted note. Their mandate states they have “a strong belief to make a serious effort to create fun and constructive shenanigans that will aid the undergraduate community in their day-to-day lives."

With 15 platform points, Team MacMillan’s promises range from tangible goals to unfeasible dreams.

“It’s not really a tangible platform, it's more of a concept in order to get people to look at the elections, to realize that there are elections happening and a lot of the platforms are the same year after year, or very similar,” said Robert MacMillan.

Regarding the University Students’ Council’s spending, they will hold referendums so all students can vote on how their money is spent. Furthermore, they want to make the USC a publicly traded company.

The late release of exam schedules is a common annoyance amongst Western students, especially those coming from out of province. Team MacMillan seeks to make the exam schedule available at the same time as course registration.

Tackling issues directly related to education, Team MacMillan not only wants to rearrange the floors of Weldon Library so students don’t have to take the elevators or the stairs to reach the fifth floor, they will also have all classes available on a live video stream to accommodate sleepy students.

To encourage faster evacuation times, they want fire alarms on campus to play Rebecca Black’s song Friday. They also propose transporting TD Stadium to away games so we will always have home field advantage.

Team MacMillan claims their campaign platform will continue to be updated during the campaign period based on student response.

“They’re all going be based around building a stronger community and ensuring that students who are feeling alone are a part of everything,” said Robert Armstrong.

  • Drishti Kataria

Team Palin-Cohen

Social science president Brandon Palin and Huron assistant head soph Robbie Cohen released their platform on Monday afternoon.

Highlighted in their platform includes a focus on the existing soph team structure and the platform proposes setting aside part of the O-Week budget to "help subsidize the cost of participating in the program for sophs who can demonstrate financial need on a confidential basis."

Additionally, their platform suggests "there are concerns that changes have been made without proper due diligence," regarding the current orientation program. They propose working to develop new guidelines for decision-making to include a variety of perspectives when it comes to addressing concerns.

In their full page dedicated to clubs reform, they are critical of the bureaucracy that exists within the current clubs system, suggesting that risk-management is a priority at the expense of customer service. The platform suggests creating a list of club activities and operations that can be performed without the USC's approval.

Wellness is another focus of Palin/Cohen's platform, as they propose introducing “Wellness Wednesdays” – an initiative that would see programming in the UCC every other Wednesday along the lines of puppies in the UCC atrium and yoga in the Mustang Lounge. They also propose introducing nap rooms as a pilot project aimed at improving on-campus wellness.

Also included in the platform's hopes for wellness include Palin/Cohen's hopes to work on "integrating, improving, and increasing the capacity of mental health resources," the platform reads, as they aim to advocate for reduced wait times for these on-campus resources and improve accessibility.

Palin/Cohen's proposed external advocacy will focus on lobbying the provincial government as they go about "redesigning the way it distributes $3.5 billion to the province’s universities to redress a decline in undergraduate education and demand clear and measurable learning outcomes.”

  • Katie Lear
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