FSU presidential, directors and BOG election race in full swing
Credit: JARED ALLEN
On Feb. 22, candidates gave speeches in Forwell Hall to inform students about their ideas and reasons for running for their specific position in the FSU. Voting will take place from March 5 to 8. Aaron Peterzon (left) and Jahmoyia Smith (right) are the two candidates running to become the next FSU president.
During the second day of campaigning on Feb. 22, various candidates took to the podium in Forewell Hall to compete for several positions within the FSU. Those competing for the position of director spoke first, followed by those seeking a role on the Board of Governors, and lastly, those aspiring to claim the presidential position. The speeches revolved around personal experiences at Fanshawe and how new ideas and innovations can help mold the future of the student experience at Fanshawe College.
In total, eight students will be elected to be FSU directors and one student will be elected to serve on the Board of Governors (BOG) for the 2018/2019 year.
Once all candidates who were able to attend the election event finished giving their speeches, pizza was handed out to student attendees during the intermission. Following a quick break, the FSU presidential candidates were called back to the stage to participate in a Q&A session. During the Q&A session, presidential candidates took questions from students via social media and the crowd to help students better understand their ideas and approaches on certain topic and issues pertaining to the school.
During the beginning of the Q&A session, FSU presidential candidate Logan James chose to withdraw from the presidential race, leaving Aaron Peterzon and Jahmoyia Smith as the two remaining candidates in this year's running.
Both presidential candidates have an extensive history of involvement within the College.
Peterzon is currently the chairman of the FSU board and in his third year in the business administration marketing program. Last year, Peterzon was the Student Administration Council (SAC) representative for the Lawrence Kinlin School of Business. In addition, Peterzon has been a Fanshawe College student ambassador for the past two years and has given hundreds of tours to perspective students.
Smith is currently the advocacy and communications co-ordinator for the FSU and is in her final year in the bachelor of early childhood leadership program. Smith said she began volunteering with the FSU when she first came to Fanshawe and soon after joined the promotions team. She later became the SAC representative for the School of Human Services and Public Safety. Last year, Smith became the VP Finance for the FSU before obtaining her current job as advocacy and communications co-ordinator.
Interrobang asked both candidates to talk about three of their platform elements.
Both candidates stated that one of their main platform points is to increase mental health initiatives.
During the Q&A session, the candidates were asked about what mental health supports they would focus on improving or services they would propose to add to the Fanshawe community. Smith explained during the Q&A session that she wants to advertise the mental health services that are available in the local community such as the services provided by the Canadian Mental Health Association. She also stated that she would like for the Wellness Centre to have a counsellor available for students and to ensure there are enough counsellors available for students during peak hours and exam season. “One in every four post-secondary students suffer from a mental illness so I find [this topic] is very important,” Smith said.
Peterzon explained that part-time students are currently unable see a counsellor on campus, which he said he wants to change and believes is a very important issue that needs to be addressed. “Part-time students currently don't have the option or the ability to speak to a counsellor. It is not included in their student fees. That really is something that needs to be addressed and needs to be changed,” Peterzon said. He also suggested for the counselling and accessibility department hours to be extended and to bring more awareness to the 24/7 call-in line.
A second platform point of Peterzon's is to implement a strong social media campaign in order for students to be more informed of events happening throughout the year. He explained that the FSU social media channels should be re-evaluated in order for each platform to become more effective in raising awareness of events and activities to students. “I feel like a lot of students aren't necessarily aware of what events are going on so we really need to increase that [awareness]. We also have to spread awareness of what is going on [with our social media] because that is a main way we can contact and get involved with students,” Peterzon said.
A second platform point for Smith is to advocate for more wellness events and initiatives that focus on the four pillars of wellness (spiritual, emotional, physical and social) as well as extended hours for drop-in time at the gym and Wellness Centre. She mentioned during her speech that one of her goals is trying to get more support for varsity athletes and encouraging students to come out to varsity games to support their varsity sports teams. Smith also said in her speech that she has been to many varsity events and it is an amazing experience to see how passionate and talented these Fanshawe athletes are.
A third platform point for Peterzon is revamping the campus food bank. The Sharing Shop is an on campus food bank sustained by student donations to help other students in need of food or other items such as hygiene products. Currently, students are able to access the Sharing Shop three times per semester, which Peterzon states is not nearly enough times. He said he would like for students to be able to access the Sharing Shop once a week. He also said he would like an allocated budget to be set towards the Sharing Shop to ensure shelves are always stocked up.
A third platform point of Smith's campaign is to advocate for more international and cultural events throughout the year. “Fanshawe has a huge international population, one of the biggest in Canada. We want to ensure we cater to every single person and ensure everybody feels like they are at home rather than just coming to school for academics reasons.”
The current FSU president, Morganna Sampson, offered some advice to the next FSU president. “Make sure to take into consideration all students' ideas and input, into your role. You might have a specific plan right now where you think you know what you want to do. Once you start listening to students in your position [as FSU president], you will learn new things and you might totally change what you were originally planning to do. Be open to new ideas, be open to the student body and make sure to empower your team. Your team is what really makes the organization flourish and your team is what makes you stronger.”
Voting takes place from March 5 to 8. Students can vote online using FOL or by visiting one of the designated ballot boxes which will be set up around campus during that time frame. A live stream of the speeches and Q&A session is available on the FSU website. The Interrobang encourages students to check out the live stream in order to learn more about the platforms of the various candidates.