EUS executive candidates debate departmental issues as elections begin

The Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS) Elections hosted a debate for their upcoming election on Feb. 19 during which candidates running for 2019-20 positions shared their platforms and answered questions. Two candidates are running for the position of president while the rest are uncontested.

Both Jeremy Garneau, candidate for EUS Senator, and Mustafa Fakih, candidate for EUS representative to the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU), emphasized the importance of bridging the gap between the EUS and SSMU. Garneau described plans to rekindle the institutions’ relationship by facilitating communication between the two student societies. Fakih explained that a better relationship with SSMU could benefit the EUS.

“You have to keep in mind [that] SSMU isn’t the society for another department,” Fakih said. “It’s the society for all of students at McGill. SSMU has a lot of power and a lot of money. If we just keep staying in the back seat and not wanting to do anything with [SSMU, then] we are not really going to benefit from them at all. So, I do feel if we keep good relations and [engage with] them, we will benefit from them.”

Attendees asked Vice-President Internal candidate Spencer Handfield about allegations that the volunteering positions at Blues Pub, a student-run bar under the EUS, are too stressful for students. Handfield responded that the severity of this issue still needs to be assessed based on the feedback of individual volunteers. He assured that he has plans to work with the Blues Pub managers to address the volunteers’ grievances.

“There is a certain kind of adjustment we should make so Blues Pub is something viewed not as something for a profit, but something we do as a passion and […] care about,” Handfield said. “That is also a solution I cannot do alone. That comes from working strongly with the Blues Pub managers who know the logistics of how it works and how best to implement the solutions the [questioner] brings up in terms of volunteering not being fun.”

Presidential candidates Marion Olivier and Nilou Seraj were asked to address the exclusivity of the Plumbers’ Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO), a group of McGill engineering students who raise money for charity organizations. Both candidates were asked to address the PPO’s place in the EUS.

“I think, as a spirit and charity group, the PPO does have its place in the EUS, and they contribute a lot to the engineering culture, so long as it is inclusive,” Olivier said. “I think, moving forward, a partly application-based model is the only way the PPO can exist in a healthy way in the engineering community.”

Seraj echoed Olivier’s desire to implement an application system, but further emphasized the importance of the PPO’s role in creating a sense of community for engineering students.

“Instead of heaving this image of an exclusive group that you cannot be a part of and is secretive, [the PPO should] focus more on the charity part and more on [being] a group of people who are working on increasing the sense of being part of a community,” Seraj said. “This is one of the reasons [that] the engineering faculty students are very close to each other, because we have a sense of community.”

Members of the EUS will be able to cast their votes online Feb. 24–Mar. 1.

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