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VP Academic and External candidates

Interviews by Samantha Durnford and Katrina Pyne

 

Sarah Bouchard, 22, Fourth-year political science and religious studies

Hometown: Fort Kent, Maine

Who do you aspire to be: Dumbledore, because he always has the students best interests at heart. Plus, he can do magic.

Three words to describe yourself: Bubbly, driven, and curious.

Past experience: ANNSA student assembly delegate for the past four years, President of Dalhousie Arts and Social Sciences society, Representative to the Presidents Undergraduate Education Task Force, DSU Member at Large last year, off-campus director for orientation last year.

 

Bouchard believes the situation with university funding is at a turning point. She says her main priority next year will be negotiating the new memorandum of understanding with the province.

“I’m ready to advocate very intensely within the university because if they’re making funding cuts, Dal is going to start looking at what they need to cut.”

She says she wants to advocate on behalf of students and ensure that student wants and needs are heard if cuts are being made.

Currently, she works closely with university administration and thinks she has a foundation in the system and is comfortable with the relationships she’s established.

She wants to work on student spaces and ensure that undergraduates and graduates have office spaces, study spaces, and collaborative workspaces.

Also, Bouchard feels that international student services need to be a priority.

“If we’re recruiting and bringing students here, we want to be able to provide for them and with potential funding cuts, this is something that needs to be protected.”

She says she wants to ensure that external issues, such as tuition rising and funding cuts are balanced with internal student interests.

Working within the DSU and the university, Bouchard says, “I know what it will take to get things done.”

 

 

Karl Dempsey, Fifth-year arts and social sciences

Hometown: St. Croix, N.S.

Who do you aspire to be: Robert De Niro

Describe yourself in three words: Artistic, mindful, and spontaneous.

Past experience: Ran in the 2010 Election, DSU restructuring committee, entrepreneur, research on student loans.

 

Dempsey says he’s not running for the DSU for the salary, but rather to give students a fair voice.

He says he wants to see the negotiation process of student loans and ensure the funding goes to where the students need it most.

Also, he wishes to continue the efforts of current VP Rob LeForte when it comes to getting professor evaluations made public.

He wants to see the library have 24-hour access, giving students more study space and time to finish their school work.

“I’d like to see more students see value in their own education and their degree,” he says. “As well, I’d like to see value increase in the Student Union because the last voter turnout showed a lack of interest.”

Dempsey says he sees a lack of communication between the DSU and students and feels that students aren’t utilizing student services.

“I ran last year because I didn’t know what the DSU does,” he says. “There’s a perception that the SUB is just a place where you go to Tim Hortons.”

He says his main platform is to give students a voice.

“If I can’t do that, I’ll quit,” he says.

 

 

Andrew Mecke, 20, Second-year kinesiology and physics

Hometown: Bridgetown, Barbados

Who do you aspire to be? A leader; someone fighting for students rights

Describe yourself in three words: Driven, professional and relaxed

Past experience: Shirreff Hall residence council president, DSU Councillor, Residence Societies and the Residence Relations Committee rep, Orientation week leader.

 

Mecke says he plans to have two focuses in the upcoming year. He says tuition is the “bread and butter” of the Academic and External VP position.

“The one thing that unites all students is tuition,” says Mecke.

Tuition will be the focus of his campaign. He says that some programs require students to pay more than others because they don’t have a tuition cap, which he says creates inequalities amongst programs.

According to Mecke, when we see a decrease in funding from the provincial government’s spending, we also see a decrease in accountability. He says that because of this, the university is becoming more privatized in Nova Scotia.

“As students are the biggest stakeholders in the university, we are going to see the biggest effects of that privatization.”

Mecke has experience advocating for Dal residences to the university administration and fighting for locally sourced food in the cafeteria. He says that the Residence Council represents a diverse population of students that allows him to reflect on a range of issues.

Another one of Mecke’s focuses is the professor rating system. Currently, the system is opt-in for professors but Mecke says only professors who read their scores and feel they’ve done well are going to show them. He says it’s not a great system.

“By creating a mandatory system, the professors who really care about teaching are going to be rewarded.”

New this year to the DSU Mecke says he offers a fresh perspective.

“I’m not used to the same kind of walls that everyone else has been experiencing, I don’t let things stop me,” he says. “Change is inevitable, it’s all how we direct that change.”

 

 

Evan Price, 27, Fourth-year commerce

Hometown: Truro, NS

Who do you aspire to be: My uncle because he started his own company outside of Cape Breton.

Three words to describe yourself: Motivated, strong-willed, and happy.

Past experience: Active in Federal and Provincial politics since he was 18-years-old, in business with Garrison Brewery, third place in Saint Mary’s “What’s Your Big Idea” business competitions, finalist in University of New Brunswick’s Apex competition.

 

Price wants to ensure that the governments four per cent funding cuts to universities aren’t permanent.

He wants to “get the funding back” and work on getting provincial grants for graduate students. Price wants to set up a bursary program for graduate students.

With his experience in negotiating contracts, Price thinks that he has the skills it will take to negotiate with the province on behalf of students.

Setting up a business incubator where students can collaborate on entrepreneurial projects together is also something Price wants to get started. Starting his hop farm, with no farming experience, he says he wishes he had a place on campus where he could find other students with different skills who could work with him to start his business.

“Starting my hop farm business allowed me to graduate debt-free and I want to be able to help other students do the same,” he says.

Also, he says he’s keen to making sure food on campus is local and organic. As a local farmer, Price wants healthier local food options to be available for students.


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