Sparks fly at URSU forum

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Candidates forum introduces possible future URSU board and executives to the school

Martin Weaver
Contributor

Students and URSU candidates gathered in the multipurpose room on Mar. 10 for the first of two forums for the last week of campaigning. The event kicked off at noon with a quick introduction followed by an opportunity for every candidate to speak to the audience. The speeches lasted for the better part of the hour and then, at 12:51 p.m., an open mic question period began.

In total, there were about 50 students in attendance, as well as local media.

Brigid Mcnutt, a second-year pre-journalism student, was one of the students in attendance. “I wanted to hear what everyone had to say and I wanted to see who was running and what everyone has to offer. It’s an easy way to find out what everyone’s platform is.”

She felt that there could have been more people present. “I guess people probably didn’t care. People probably had classes. Basically, people who are already involved were there rather than the people they are trying to reach out to.”

The questions from the first forum ranged from explanations for general platform ideas to statements directed at specific people. Unfortunately, not all candidates were able to be in attendance.

“It was disappointing that so many of our candidates had midterms and commitments so I’m really looking forward to Tuesday” said Bart Soroka, VP of operations and finance candidate from the For Students slate, referring to the second forum on Mar. 15.

“I think the next one will get a little more intense. It’s in public, so people walking by will be able to see it. I think most of our candidates have cleared their schedules so there won’t be any interruptions,” he added.

Soroka also said he felt the forum was going to be especially beneficial to the students since it was the last day allowed for candidates to campaign. He said that people would really be able to learn about everyone’s platforms.

Paige Kezima, VP of external affairs candidate for the Voice of Students slate, felt that the forum was a good opportunity to catch the candidates in a different environment other than the classroom.

“I feel that they’re very informative. A person can prepare for a class presentation and write their own profile  but when you ask them a question they don’t really have time to prepare so you get to see their thinking and their strategies.”

Kezima was disappointed that much of the first debate was focused towards the presidential candidates. She felt that more questions should have been asked to other candidates.

To date, this year’s URSU general elections seem to have produced a lot more excitement than in previous years.

“In my three years this is definitely the one that got the most hype. Two out of four executive positions have three people running for them, so this is good,” said Kezima.

Whether the hype will generate a bigger presence at the ballot box is an unanswered question at press time, but candidates just want as many people to come vote for several reasons.

“These are the people that are representing you. If the general population isn’t voting, then the people that are voted in are not representing the general population,” said Kezima.

Soroka added that a high voter turnout can also have a huge impact off campus too.

“Our voter turnout is basically a barometer for how much students care, and if students care URSU can be effective as a lobbying group for the country, for the province, and for the city. Basically if we have a great voter turnout we can say, ‘We’re here representing this many students and we have a voice.’”

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