Who you want in your Students’ Union is entirely in your hands
By Angela Espinoza, News Editor
Student elections are underway this week for the Douglas Students’ Union (DSU) Representative Committee. From Monday March 31 until Friday April 4, Douglas College students are eligible to vote between the two campaigning parties: Refresh and Students First.
Both parties share a common goal: working to make Douglas College accommodating for all students’ needs. However, Refresh and Students First intend on approaching these needs in different ways. Each party consists of members who, if voted in, will take on the various executive, liaison, and member-at-large positions that make up the DSU. These positions represent distinct issues and groups within the student body and Douglas community. Refresh is made up of 11 candidates, while Students First has 12. (Students First candidate Jerzy Mazurek is running unopposed for Disabled Students’ Liaison).
In regards to specific issues, Refresh and Students First immediately see eye-to-eye on tuition fees. Both parties have been vocal in their pursuit of freezing and reducing tuitions fees for domestic and international students. Tuition freezing has been a growing movement in Canada, something our potential future DSU Representative Committees are well aware of. As emphasized in an article from Issue 24 of the Other Press on the DSU budget consultation, our Douglas College student fees increase roughly two per cent each year—a fact that has resonated strongly with both parties.
Refresh and Students First have also found common ground in something our student body often complains about, yet doesn’t seem to thoughtfully articulate: our food options. In regards to New Westminster, it’s no secret that meals bought on campus through Triple O’s, Pizza Pizza, and even vending machines are priced higher than what we could find right outside the campus. In addition, some of the most popular items students purchase from these outlets are burgers, pizza, chips, and pop. Both parties are lobbying to lower not only food prices, but also the vast amount of unhealthy food available on campus.
While Refresh and Students First both want the best for the post-secondary institution we all share, where their agendas differ is what will ultimately determine the outcome of the election.
Refresh has campaigned strongly in favour of, “better student spaces at [New Westminster campus] and [David Lam campus]” and promoting “student engagement through events.”
Students First however has been actively fighting for, “more scholarships and bursaries for students, improved student services, [and] student jobs and paid internships.”
All of what has been covered in the Refresh and Students First campaigns is desperately needed at both Douglas College campuses. So when viewing these potential options, you—the potential voter—then have to decide which issues you want to see dealt with.
Your vote is your voice, and your voice matters
The “youth vote” in BC has been notoriously low for a number of years, whether it be a federal, provincial, or even student election. This is no real mystery: we are a particularly despondent, stubborn generation, especially in regards to voting. We are well-aware of the political corruption that exists throughout the world, and have consequently become skeptical of the political figures and ideologies we might otherwise consider fighting for—or at the very least, voting for.
However, that which can be said about voting in the DSU student representative elections can be said about any election. That is, one cannot achieve something if one does not try; as has been outlined here and actively campaigned by the members of Refresh and Students First, there are many issues at Douglas College that need to be dealt with—social, budgetary, or otherwise. With this election, the students have been presented with an opportunity to have their voices heard by two groups of Douglas students who passionately want these changes for us.
Something to keep in mind during this week is that both parties will continue campaigning at both the New Westminster and David Lam campuses until Friday, giving students an opportunity to speak with candidates personally before voting. Each of the candidates is a student interested in helping the student body. Rather than speculate or even immediately decide not to vote, make the effort to talk to the candidates first.
Included in this Feature are personal messages from several of the candidates on what they hope to achieve with their positions and which issues matter most to them. If you do not get an opportunity to speak with the candidates one-on-one, let what they’ve written give you an idea on which team you would like to see representing the student body in the Douglas Students’ Union.