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(L-A Benoit / The McGill Tribune)

SSMU Election 2017: VP Internal

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Maya Koparkar is the only candidate running for the position of Vice-President (VP) Internal, which is tasked with overseeing the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) first-year outreach activities, communications, and student engagement. Koparkar aims to expand the portfolio of VP Internal in order to diversify the events offered to promote first-year engagement.

The VP Internal’s first major project is overseeing Frosh at the start of the Fall semester. Koparkar proposed to act as a mediator between frosh coordinators in order to facilitate collaboration with smaller faculty froshes. In addition, she proposed ways of promoting health and wellbeing through frosh, in line with recent years’ efforts to make frosh more accessible and put less emphasis on drinking and partying for new students with other interests.

“I want to speak to departmental internals about creating cohesive programming [and] better guidelines for student about how to Frosh,” Koparkar said. “For example, taking naps, rest, drinking water, [and providing] accessible food options and [beverage] options besides alcohol during Frosh. Maybe Frosh [would want] to organize morning zumba or yoga, that could be looked into as well.”

Tofunmi Odugbemi, President of the McGill Political Science Students Association (PSSA), raised the issue that the SSMU listserv neglects to include content relating to departmental events. Current VP Internal Daniel Lawrie has sought to reduce the amount of content included in weekly listservs, making selections based on content that he believes will appeal to the largest amount of the student body. Koparkar suggested collaborating with departmental organizations in order to facilitate communication with SSMU.

“A lot of the standardized process for submitting content to the listserv is set in stone, but I would look forward to working with departmental organizations,” Koparkar said. “[There are] lots of things [departments] can offer to students that [SSMU] can effectively promote [….] For example, I want to work [with] departmental organizations to better engage them with SSMU events.”

Furthermore, given recent scandals involving SSMU executives, Koparkar intends to mend the relationship between the society and its members.

“I want to create channels for students who don’t usually get involved with SSMU,” Koparkar said. “[….I will] create engagement in terms of diversifying the events portfolio. [Something] I learned as a member of the [Students’ Society Network Program (SSPN)] for two years [is that] events don’t need to be large to engage students. [They] could be small, [like providing] food during exams. [I aim to] collectively engage campus away from politics.”

In her closing statement, Koparkar explained the importance of mending SSMU’s image.

“[I have] lots of passion for providing students with [a] great connection to SSMU,” Koparkar said. [I want to] humanize SSMU by taking away the bureaucratic elements. People see the role of VP Internal as a party planner, but there’s more to offer students. Building from the ground up with first-year engagement can create a more unified SSMU and student body moving forward.”

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