On January 25, Wilfrid Laurier’s Brantford campus hosted the WLUSU Open Forum. Five of the 19 students running for positions on the Board of Directors along with the four presidential candidates congregated at 11:00 a.m. to defend their platforms and address concerns from the attending students.
Beginning with the Board of Director hopefuls, a consistent theme seemed to be the need for communication and new ideas. Event moderator Dave Prang asked e-mail questions specifically geared towards Brantford issues. One asked whether the campus was ready for an autonomous decision-making board concerning student advocacy and government. None of the candidates believed Brantford was ready as of yet.
“As of now, I’d say no, but that could change with more members,” said Alex Reinhart, commenting on the Brantford Campus Council.
One other hallmark issue was student safety, which once again seemed to elicit a consensus – the more Foot Patrol and Constable Services, the better.
The four presidential candidates in attendance were Nick Nyhof, Chris Oberle, Alex Reinhart and Max Tremaime.
At 1:00 p.m., the presidential hopefuls took to the podium and expressed their platforms along with their strongest assets.
Candidates Matt Park and Nick Gibson had a strong show of support, with multiple students in the crowd sporting their promotional t-shirts. However, that was where their similarities ended; both had very different approaches to their platforms. For Gibson, a promise to shake things up and stand as a strong advocate for the student even in the face of university/corporate pressure was a resounding theme.
“Sometimes you have to piss people off,” said Gibson, referring to pushing for the voice of the students.
He also speaks strongly for realistic safety standards, which include holding local authorities accountable and doing more ecologically around both campuses.
Park comes from a place of experience: with multiple years spent in student governments, he plans to keep goals simple and clear, promising to fix the obvious things first before fighting for big picture changes.
“We always focus on these grandiose ideas,” says Park, “and we don’t pay attention to the small issues. My platform doesn’t have a lot of huge grand ideas, but it has solutions to problems that actually matter.”
Presidential candidates Aeron Lawrence and Dan La Cute stand out because of their obvious creativity when approaching the election and their future plans. For Aeron, this includes happily handing out his cell phone number to every student, professing that he is available to hear concerns twenty-four seven.
“519- 590- 9943, I’m one hundred percent accessible at any time, and that’s one thing I just want to show,” said Lawrence.
La Cute hopes to institute informal brunches between he and the students bi-weekly, but also “secret shopper” students in the classroom that could provide quality reports to teachers.
“This is a chance for me to inform students of what I’m going to do on an ongoing basis,” said La Cute.
Overall, all the candidates hope to address issues of safety on both campuses, to work towards better communication between representatives and the student body and to serve as a legitimate voice to those who attend Wilfrid Laurier University.
Students are encouraged to vote online February 2 and 3. For the candidates’ platforms and more information on these elections, visit http://brantford.wlusu.com/elections.