RUNNING FOR VPFA
To the best of your understanding, what is the role and responsibilities of the VPFA?
The Vice President of Finance and Administration (VPFA) serves as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the Students’ Union. It is their responsibility to ensure the financial well-being of BUSU, working in conjunction to create a feasible budget in context to the operating budget as well as managing student-related expenditures, such as the Health and Dental Plan and transit-related issues while keeping the students’ best interest at heart. In addition to, obtaining new avenues for revenue in order to continuously better the student experience and possibly subsidize costs.
Why have you decided to run for the position of VPFA?
I have decided to run for the position of VPFA, as I know I can make a difference to better allocate costs to tailor to the student-body’s needs.
Just like any other student at Brock University, I have faced the multiple challenges that any other young post-secondary student faces living away from home. Whether it’s financially, mentally or academically. However, I do feel as students should not be constrained with financial challenges, school’s overwhelming as it is. As a student union we should work to make university an affordable experience, not burdening students with costs that don’t directly entail to their needs.
Hence why, I have decided to run for the position of VPFA, to make a difference to better allocate costs to tailor to student-body’s needs
Why do you believe you should be elected VPFA?
I should be elected because, I feel that I could represent the undergraduate student body much more efficiently than any fellow competitor, as I can genuinely relate to each and every struggle a student goes/is going through, my platform is feasible and is not setting the bar with unrealistic, unattainable expectations. I have held many executive positions on multiple different committees and clubs in high school, such as DECA Ontario, Student Council and SHSM, so many individuals have confided in me and my leadership abilities. I feel as what I’m working towards is a small step to a longer financial and much more sustainable change for students. As I will be here for an additional 2 years, I am much more passionate about the changes I plan to implement as they will also be directly affecting me in the future years and hopefully, I am able to contribute to these changes in the years to come as well.
If you needed to summarize your platform into three main issues at Brock that you believe need to be addressed, what would they be? How do you plan to address these issues?
Food. Mobility. Health.
- Food: This overlooks the options offered on campus and the affordability of these options. I really do feel that we are treating the majority as a minority in terms of not having many halal, vegan or vegetarian options. We expect for students to call Brock their “home away from home”, but the food options don’t make it seem so. I plan to open places, such as franchises that students prefer and want, in place of closing some that are not as popular amongst students as well as not generating a good source of revenue. This will benefit Brock as more revenue will be coming in due to the new options as many students would prefer these options, as compared to the ones that are currently in place. I plan to achieve this with a very financially savvy model, that is extremely cost efficient for the students. As well as, a discounted franchising option that some franchises offer for public institution, a similar partnership model that hospitality services at University of Guelph are using or possibly a rental/leasing option with a small % of sales going to BUSU.
- Mobility: This is more in context to transit and parking passes. Students who live St. Catharine’s and usually rely heavily on the bussing system, increasing hours of operations during nights and weekends, having more frequent bus timings, having a September to August bus pass instead of Sept-April. As well as offering a small percentage discount to students who pay for parking passes as well as the mandatory U-pass. Students who take courses during the spring and summer sessions are forced to purchase their pass directly from the transit company. As of now the cost of the U-pass with The Summer Subsidy Program is $240, I plan to implement a new U-pass model, in which students pay $12.35 in the beginning of the semester as part of the U-pass fee, compared to $487.00 in total for the whole year. Which is a far more affordable option for students as I don’t think students should have to choose not to take Spring/Summer courses due to the mobility they are provided with. The options to enroll in courses should solely depend on them, but not on a constraint that can potentially be solved. In addition to, promoting advertisements of local business on campus, and the revenue obtained from those business operations should be used to subsidized parking costs to offer more affordable parking options for students.
- Health: As of now, we offer up to $200 in vision coverage every 24 month, out which Medavie Blue Cross only gives a reimbursement up to 80% of your initial purchase. For example, if I was to purchase a pair glasses or lenses that metaphorically came out to $150, Medavie would only cover 80%, which is $120. When the coverage states up to $200, additionally the dental benefits offered do not include bi-annually dental cleanings, which is one the most crucial preventative service. I plan to renegotiate some terms, look at potentially successful Health and Dental models’ other universities have implemented. Moreover, educating Brock students about the benefits they are entitled to, as many of these terms are very vaguely stated and have various loop holes around it. As a student, you should know what you paid for, how you can utilize it and how you should. Furthermore, I want to raise Mental Health awareness, as many students, including myself do not have the slightest clue on how to book an appointment with a councillor, physiatrist or get help on campus. Having “how to obtain help” and the resources inputted into course syllabus informs all new and current student all wonderful support offered. As many Instructors go over the syllabus in class, as well as, having this information on “how to get help” promoted on television screens around campus. Additionally, having emphatic and qualified councillors who want to help our students is vital. Increasing the number of councillors and physiatrist on campus will additionally reduce wait times, as currently students have to wait approximately 3 weeks to book for help. 3 weeks is a broad timeline, and many times student’s just fall down deeper. Many students that I’ve had the pleasure of communicating with have complained that certain councillor’s disregarded their issues and were not much help, and that is not the image we want to proceed with as it takes an intensive amount of courage to reach out and to be shut off by that outlet is unacceptable and not the values we promote in our Brock community.
If elected what would you do differently from past VPFA’s?
Bilal Khan has done an exceptional job of leading the students’ union in his role as a VPFA [this year]. With all his great work with the St. Catharine’s Transit and The Health and Dental plan, improving vison coverage and I can go on. However, what I would do differently is find better ways to allocate costs, utilize costs, as well as renegotiate some terms and contracts affiliated with Transit, Health and Dental as well as Union and Hungry Badger vendors.
My name is Manahil Haider and I’m running to be your next Vice President of Finance and Administration (VPFA), because #WEREINTHISTOGETHER #HAIDERNOTHATER.