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Michael Szpejda

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What are the most important issues facing the VP Internal next year and what do you think the biggest challenge will be?

I think the most important issues involve a renewed commitment to student life. … I want to make a strong brand value for SSMU events. I want to make the first few events really high quality for incoming students, really making SSMU frosh relevant again. 

And also increasing the visibility of McGill events—so not only with the list serve, but also making the SSMU website more usable.  

Also, having faculties focused on assisting each other. I think the VP Internal’s job is to meet with these people throughout the year to create a sense of community so they know they can rely on each other and on the VP Internal’s office. It would be great to help support the smaller faculties, because they really do have some great initiatives.

Frosh has undergone quite a few changes recently. What other ideas do you have, since you’re focusing on frosh?

I think that the main problems with frosh in the past have been a lack of communication with the administration. There were only two meetings with administration this summer and they only happened in the middle and at the end … We needed an outline of what the administration expected from us … Also, a lot of the clubs in frosh can be all-ages even when they are serving alcohol, they just cost significantly more. I think it’s SSMU’s responsibility to ensure that these events are inclusive and with all its resources.

What are your goals for the events later in the year?

I would work to strengthen the events that are already there—so Four Floors, Week 101. 

I’m looking into not just an end of the year concert, but also the feasibility of having a music festival —something that really showcases local talent and our own student talent, and that could generate a lot of interest in the community. Not everyone likes a certain type of music, but it would be great to showcase the diversity of music within our community.

If you could high five anyone in history, who would you high five?

I’d have to choose James McGill, because I’ve really grown as a person here … I think this school has really allowed me to discover a part of myself I never knew.

Allison Cooper

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What do you see as being the biggest challenge in this position?

I think one really big challenge that we see a lot at the front desk is just sort of general administration of clubs. 

Something they’ve been trying to do a lot this year that Carol has been doing a lot of work on has been really categorizing all of the clubs. … If [people] miss activities night to get involved with clubs, they go to the website, so it’s really important that it has all the contact information for groups and all the information about them. Having them in categories like “environmental groups,” “charity groups,” “musical groups,” “athletics groups” is a really great way to help administer clubs, and I’d really like to see then representatives from groups that are in a similar category get together and talk about their shared needs.

The clubs and services portfolio is huge, overseeing all of these clubs and services. Do you think that you’re organized enough and have the management skills to handle such a big portfolio?

Yeah, I mean one example of how I’ve been able to do that recently is as a lead author of the Independent Student Inquiry this year, which I’m really impressed that we managed to pull together. … So on Nov. 11 that project started, and we had our preliminary report out, which I think was really comprehensive, by I think Dec. 1, two weeks before Jutras.  

It’s a really long report, and I think very professional. The amount of organization that took was definitely a lot, and our final report actually just came out, it’s also really comprehensive. Within clubs and services on that end of the paperwork side and then working at the front desk, all of this sort of administrative, organizational stuff is so important. Without it it would just be a mess.

If you were a superhero what would your power be?

I have to pick one power? I want to say healing powers, but really I would just want to fly.

Matt Crawford

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What are the most important issues facing the VP UA next year?

Making sure that the university continues its commitment to accessible financial aid. That’s going to continue to be a priority because McGill’s committed to giving 30 cents on every net new dollar from the tuition increases to financial aid, but we need to make sure that it stays accessible.  

We need to work with the resources that we have. So looking at ways we can promote library services which are really phenomenal but underused. 

One of my platform points is the reintroduciton of the discussion for a midday break. That would be a really great university-wide policy. 

What would be your role in addressing divide between students and admin?

I would be an effective communicator. If you consult my senate speaking record, when student rights have come under attack I’ve been the one who has been the most consistently vocal at Senate. We need people who are willing to stand up and talk about these things. 

How would you address those who are critical of your role in the sixth floor occupation?

There’s an underlying issue to the occupation which has gone unaddressed because we focused on tactics, not substance. I don’t necessarily agree with all the tactics that were used. … But at the same time, I think the reason those people were up there … was the fact that the administration had taken an executive decision in our democratic process. 

We don’t serve at the pleasure of the university, we serve at the pleasure of students and we serve at the pleasure of the society that represents them. There is a minimal acceptable standard for interacting with the university: they should respect the democratic decision-making that they have given us. It’s well established that we have the power to self-determination in certain respects, and that needs to be a fundamentally protected right.

If you were a superhero what would your power be?

Maybe having a really loud voice so everybody could hear me.

Robert Bell

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What do you think is the most important aspect of the VP Internal’s job?

I think the most important aspect is providing radically diverse experiences for incoming students. The portfolio has been far too focused on the same sets of events every single year, and not broadening the horizons to the great experience that Montreal has to offer.… I’d like to see more collaboration with events that are often done by McGill students but don’t occur on campus, so that instead of leading people around the same little circuit for one week during Frosh or during the broader school year, there’s actually a chance to explore some of the awesome events that are going on downtown.

What kind of realm of experience do you have for this position?

A big part of my campaign is the fact that I’m not affiliated with SSMU. I think there’s a culture of insiderness associated with the SSMU. I come from a background that’s been invested in an informal sense in organizing and planning events in various cultural institutions throughout the city—music events, artistic events. I’ve also done work promoting and managing restaurants, so things like working with a budget are definitely within my purview. I’ve done informal work on campus to promote and facilitate general assemblies. 

There’s been some  polarization on campus this year. What do you think is the VP Internal’s role in addressing this divide?

I think the VP Internal should take a principled position with regards to the issue of tuition fee increases. I think the current political debate and discussion is important to foster no matter what side of the political spectrum you may be on, but I do think that the current political issue is one that will affect students if tuition fees go up. It will limit accessibility for students to come to McGill and that’s very important to recognize and address as VP Internal. The position should really focus on creating more spaces for students to discuss and engage with the political issues that we face on our campus and within this province.

If you could high five anyone in history, who would you high five?

I would high five that Invisible Hand in the marketplace.… I mean, what bigger hand could you high five?

Shyam Patel

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I’m your SSMU VP Finance & Operations and served as Funding Coordinator 2010-2011.  I’ve spearheaded the student-run café, increased funding for clubs, and integrated sustainable accounting policies at SSMU.  My experience will help to overhaul the SSMU Bureaucracy to make the SSMU more relevant by empowering student representatives to be more proactive.  Through collaboration with new food services in the building, I will integrate sustainability with the eco-clamshells.  Lastly, I will engage staff through stronger human resources policies/practices and empower student involvement by creating research opportunities within SSMU to increase practical experience. 

Experience.  Make it work for you!  VOTE PATEL!

Emil Briones

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Emil Briones is a clarinet major who would like to bring four years of experience in student service into next year as the VP University Affairs.  He has served as the Music Senator (present), President of MUSA (2011-2012), VP External of MUSA and SSMU Councillor (2009-2010), and First Year Representative of MUSA (2008-2009).  As the VP UA, he hopes to continue the dialogue on free speech on campus, tuition hikes, and academic issues concerning undergraduate education.  Briones also plans to further open consultation channels and implement research initiatives into action.

Josh Redel

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Josh has had many years of experience leading and developing student life at McGill and wants
to bring a creative, new direction to SSMU. From founding Queer Engineer to developing a
digital signage system for the Engineering Complex, since adopted by Residences, SSMU, and
Faculty of Science, Josh is actively building initiatives to engage and reach out to our diverse
student body. As President of EUS, he has taken the lead in standing up for students’ initiatives
and needs. Josh will champion student space projects, create new branding initiatives for SSMU,
and harness the potential of our student body.

Matt Crawford

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Hey, McGill!

Do you want a progressive voice as your VP University Affairs? A seasoned voice with experience on the McGill Senate and SSMU’s Legislative Council? A voice that will demand better access to Financial Aid for all? A voice that will create new student spaces and more group study areas? Do you want a voice that will make an equitable and safe environment a top priority – a voice that will be there for you when student rights are in danger? Vote Matt Crawford for VP University Affairs, and make your choice the progressive voice!

Raphael Uribe Arango

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Dear McGillians

My name is Raphael Uribe Arango and I am running for the position of SSMU VP External. I am from London, England and I am a U1 student in arts currently studying History.

I have experience on SSMU council, as I am currently the IRC rep to SSMU. I speak French, English and Spanish and a little Russian. I am a passionate and dedicated individual loves whom the McGill community. My aim for the position is to open up forums for all students to come and debate how they would like to be represented to the outside community.  

ASEQ Fee Question “Yes” Committee

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SSMU is holding a referendum to ask students if they support a fee to maintain the current coverage offered by the SSMU Health and Dental Plan. The fee has not been increased since the last student referendum in 2005, although Plan usage and coverage have both increased. Some of the new benefits added to the Plan since 2005 include vision care (eye exams, eyeglasses and contact lenses), increased vaccination and dental coverage, and tuition insurance. If the fee remains unaltered, students will see a progressive decrease in overall coverage. 

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