BUSU candidates get fired up

On Feb. 7, the first of three BUSU election debates occurred in the After Hours Lounge of DeCew Residence. Though the crowd consisted mainly of current Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU) staff and the candidate’s campaign members, it still proved to be an engaging and entertaining debate.
The Board of Directors candidates, Brittany Traynor and Bianca Bruni, began the debate, both discussing the importance of working together with the students, as well as maintaining a sense of organization on the committee. Yet, because there are only two positions on the Board of Directors, Traynor and Bruni only need to secure the affirmation vote – more than 50 per cent of student votes – to achieve their spot on the Board.
Adam Smith is in the same position as Traynor and Bruni, being the only candidate running for vice president of finance & administration (VPFA). Having a year worth of experience in the position, Smith, knowledgeable in how the VPFA position is executed already has an idea of how BUSU will operate next year when their financial status will be in a surplus. Smith hopes to build a small reserve of money so that time can be spent on improving the service around campus.
As the debate continued, community building as well as volunteer appreciation were important issues for the vice president of student services (VPSS) candidates, Laura Grouchy, Lisa Piroli, Matt Ray Smith and Ian Barnett.
While all the candidates were happy with the amount of volunteers, and hoped to maintain the number that give up their time to help at the university, Smith and Grouchy presented tangible and achievable goals in recognizing their efforts. Smith, taking some of his ideas from the current VPSS’s platform, hopes to institute some sort of point system for volunteers that grants them awards in relation to the number of hours they give, for example the potential of discounts at campus retailers. Grouchy, if elected, hopes to institute a ‘Volunteer of the Month’ award, as well as achieving 100 volunteers recruited during O-Week.
Chris Raimondo, and Damien O’Brien, both in contention for the vice president of university affairs (VPUA) position, the biggest issue that both were concerned with was that the role that the university will play in the 2007 Federal election.
“I think the most important thing to do is bring the MPs to the school when it is not election season so they can discuss the important issues before they get into their campaign,” said Raimondo. “It’s important to bring all of them here so that the students know who they are.”
When dealing with the relationship between BUSU and Residence, O’Brien made it clear that the only way to deal with the perhaps tumultuous relationship between the two is to open lines of communication, and engage the students in their first year so that they remain in tune with what is transpiring for the rest of their years at Brock.
The debate ended with the presidential candidates Kurtis McCartney, Adam Crapsi and James O’Brien, and the frigid temperature in the After Hours Lounge did not get any warmer throughout their portion of the debate. While O’Brien brought up ideas from his platform, and tried to emphasize the importance of engaging students in all aspects of Brock culture, whether it be sporting events or student theatrical productions, his ideas were overshadowed after almost every question by Crapsi’s platform based around fixing the leak in Thistle hallway, and McCartney’s views on student apathy.
“I am obviously a threat to you two, seeing as you are constantly attacking my campaign,” Crapsi said, a comment that garnered a number of exasperated sighs from the crowd.
McCartney believes that “doing what is right” is the only way to obtain the position of president, though exactly what he was going to do that was right was never actually touched on.
O’Brien, perhaps because of the experience that he already has within BUSU and other management positions, made it clear that in order to keep the students’ best interests in mind, will use the surplus budget that BUSU is going to inherit next year, and start subsidizing student services with student business, as well as developing a relationship with community businesses who are looking to employ students in order to help Brock’s graduate retention rate.

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