Action slate shines in All-Candidate Forums
By Mercedes Deutscher, News Editor
Two All-Candidate Forums were held for the ongoing DSU Student Representative Committee election last week. While the Other Press was unable to cover the February 23 forum at David Lam, which was attended by six members of Action and two members of NeXgen, the New Westminster campus’ February 25 forum was covered.
A notable absence from the forum was the entire NeXgen party. Candidate participation at these forums is optional, and several members of NeXgen opted to watch the forum from the audience instead. Meanwhile, 11 out of 12 of the Action slate candidates participated in the forum.
The forum began with each of the participating candidates introducing themselves. Most of Action is made up of fresh faces. Jerzy Mazurek, who is running for Internal Services Coordinator, is running for his third term in the committee.
From there, Micheal Cheevers, the DSU Chief Electoral Officer, asked the candidates some questions.
He first asked the candidates what they planned to do to better accommodate the growing population—15 per cent of the student body—of international students on campus. Action first pointed out that they had a proportional representation of international students in their slate (3 of their candidates). From there, they discussed opening a fund for international student clubs and events, similar to the $100,000 fund open for arts students. They discussed bridging the gap between domestic and international students by bringing in open education, better scholarships, and more events. They recognized that international students pay more money to attend Douglas College, so they wanted to help make the overall college experience better for them.
He next asked candidates what their approach to Douglas athletics would be. They responded with improving advertising for Royals games, streaming away games in the concourse, trying to offset the costs that athletes pay for their activities by providing Douglas Royals fan gear, and encouraging student attendance at games.
Campus clubs were the next item on the agenda. Action first pointed out that a few of them were executives of clubs themselves. They mentioned the idea of hosting a Clubs Day on both campuses, not just the New Westminster one, as well as involving David Lam more by building a DSU building at the Coquitlam campus and providing stronger support for David Lam clubs. Overall, they mentioned expanding the availability of these clubs to better fit student schedules, more advertising and social media, creating a more comprehensive club manual and a committee, and offering more monetary support for clubs to start up.
After this point in the forum, questions opened up to the audience. One of these questions involved how the student union would interact with municipal, provincial, and federal governments. They responded with organizing municipal talks for students, keeping the U-Pass program, and lobbying for a more affordable college experience.
A question about hosting a Remembrance Day event was met with positive feedback from Action, who praised the student for suggesting more ideas. They then talked about working with municipalities to organize such an event for students.
Action was then faced with a question on what transparency was, and how they would foster it. They responded that they wanted to create more awareness of what the DSU does on campus, encourage more student attendance at representative committee meetings, inform students of where their money is going, place student trust as a top priority, and increase DSU tabling in the concourse and at David Lam.
The final question asked to candidates was how they were going to increase social nights at the college. They mentioned pub nights, but also pointed out that pub nights can be exclusive, and they wanted to include students of all ages and interests. Ideas of karaoke nights, arts nights, athletic nights, open mic nights, and Douglas College pep rallies were offered by the candidates.
Voting takes place this week at Douglas College, from 10 a.m to 7 p.m. Monday to Thursday, and on Friday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at both campuses.