A Better Concordia Candidate Profiles
VP ACADEMIC & ADVOCACY
A Honduran native, Lucia Gallardo has spent time at various academic institutions throughout North America, including Princeton.
Though she has not held political office at Concordia, she has been involved in such clubs as the Latin American Students Organization and Concordia’s chapter of the group Humanitarian Affairs.
“Politics has always been more like, I’m interested, but from afar,” she said. “You can’t spend all your time criticizing the political system and not wanting to jump in, so that’s what got me to run.”
She would like to make it easier for students to access financial aid through a multi-pronged approach.
“I think it’s something that is really a problem at Concordia. I want to centralize all the grants and bursaries that are available, because there are so many that students don’t know exist. One of the other things we want to work on is using student life to increase the amount of bursaries that the CSU offers,” including using revenue from cultural nights to fund those bursaries.
One of her initiatives is to establish a sexual assault centre on campus, a project that has been talked about, but has gained little traction with the administration. Gallardo said she would like to work closely with the 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy to push the project along.
“I think it needs momentum, and the CSU can provide that with all the resources it has available. The policy needs to be made better, and there needs to be training for security officers and counselors.”
VP EXTERNAL & MOBILIZATION
Already having had the privilege of being an Arts and Science Federation of Associations Councillor this year, Simon-Pierre Lauzon says he is running for VP External and Mobilization because he believes “the world is not going in the right direction, and as far as I see, there’s a job to do, and I have the ability to do it.”
A fifth-year Concordia student currently completing a second BA in political science after already completing one in psychology, he has been involved with the policy and external committee, as well as being involved with the anti-tuition campaign since last June.
“I’m not blindly ideological. I’m concerned with facts, and good facts, and objective facts to back up what we’re doing,” he said.
Having also been involved with a number of national student associations at Concordia, Lauzon added that he brings a great level of passion, creativity and ambitious ideas to his work.
“I’m a very energetic guy; I’ve sacrificed a lot for the activism of this school,” he says. “I think we can do a lot with it, and I want to go forward. I want to bring activism to the next step.”
Andrew Roberts is an environmental sciences student who wants to improve the sustainability of all aspects of Concordia. A man who lives what he preaches, Roberts wants to change the dialogue on sustainability on campus. This past year he served as president of the Geography Undergraduate Student Society.
“I feel like I’m in a really good position to give back to the school and I saw this as a great opportunity to make some good stuff happen at this school,” he said.
If elected, he said he will work to bring together the various environmental groups on campus in order to achieve the greatest amount of perspective to make Concordia as sustainable as it can be.
Another plan of Roberts’ is to work with faculty and students to create research projects that further sustainability efforts on campus and count for credit for students.
He will also be continuing negotiations with the Société de transport de Montréal in order to have a further-reduced transit fare available for students.
Finally, he also wants to “bump up the literacy” at Concordia by holding info sessions and getting people talking about what sustainability can mean, both on campus and in everyday life.
In his second year at Concordia, Kenny Toto is working on a degree in business administration. The current co-president of the Concordia International Students Association, he promised that as VP Finance, he would make the CSU’s finances more transparent by making quarterly financial reports available to students.
“Instead of releasing reports at the end of the year, I would like to do it on a quarterly basis so students could know exactly where their money is going, so they could criticize and make suggestions,” he said.
While the CSU’s profit-making wing, CUSACorp, is notorious for running deficits because of the operations of Reggie’s Bar, Toto said he has a few ideas for how to reduce that number.
“There’s a lot of research that needs to be done, but in my opinion and from the people that I spoke to who were directors of CUSACorp, they tell me it’s a management issue,” he said.
“You have people getting free drinks and coat check. […] I also think Reggie’s isn’t well advertised, they aren’t really present on social networks, and you don’t see much posters for events.
“We’d like to encourage associations to have events inside Reggie’s,” adding that he’d like to see the bar host events during June’s Euro Cup soccer tournament.
A fifth-year psychology student, Stefan Faina has lived a bit of a globetrotter’s life, having been born in Romania, and lived in Switzerland and Toronto. Perhaps that pedigree is why he is running to be VP for the Concordia version of a trip abroad—the Loyola campus.
His ideas for Loyola include taking what has become the campus’ marquee event over the past two years, the orientation week concert, and making a similar event in a Loyola music festival, with the help of corporate sponsorship.
“I want to get local bands, but also something special, so there might be a big name coming to Loyola,” he said.
“Two years ago, during the 2010 Winter Olympics, they had a winter festival called Loyola on Ice. In the quad, they had a bunch of winter-themed events like ice sculpting, cabane à sucre-type activities for all Loyola students who wanted to take part.”
The current president of the Concordia Undergraduate Psychology Association would also like to see an expansion of the People’s Potato-esque Loyola Luncheon.
“I want to create more diverse recipes, bringing in different ingredients to make people have more of a choice. It’s still in the formative stage, but I would like to bring that food to more places on campus.”
VP STUDENT LIFE
With first-hand experience gained in organizing events at Concordia, as well as having taken on the social portfolio as VP Communications at the Arts and Science Federation of Associations, Alexis Suzuki knows a bit about being VP Student Life.
The art history and studio arts major said taking on such a role has helped her understand both the social and student life portfolio, not only in terms of planning, but also how to work within a budget.
“You have to plan all your events; it’s not just about one event that comes up,” said Suzuki. “You have to plan out your whole year. You really have to be conscious of everything that you’re going to want to do throughout the year, and whether or not it’s feasible.”
After having run for the ASFA exec this year, Suzuki said that being involved in these elections can “enhance your university experience exponentially,” and called herself a passionate, understanding, and approachable candidate.
“I really try to listen to the needs and wants of students. I think that being an approachable student leader is extremely important,” she said.
“I feel that people really need to be able to feel comfortable if they have any questions or concerns or ideas, and that a student leader really needs to be receptive to the ideas and needs and wants of the people they’re representing.”
VP CLUBS & INTERNAL AFFAIRS
Nadine Attallah is an independent student at Concordia who wants to strengthen what she considers a fundamental part of this university in her bid as A Better Concordia ’s VP Clubs and Internal Affairs.
“I find that clubs are really the backbone of student life,” said Attallah. “It’s really a nurturing experience that all students should have.”
“Students that aren’t members of clubs are really missing out on experiences that are really incredible and unique. Student life is about more than just going to class, drinking coffee and going back home.”
Attallah sat on Council throughout this year as an independent student representative, while sitting on the policy committee and the equity committee.
A few of her major platform points include more presence for student clubs, workshops for club executives, and a more direct democracy in student politics in the form of regular general assemblies, and referendums for things like strike votes.
In the next few months Attallah plans to continue communication with clubs and prepare for the next year.
“I think the most important thing will be to constantly reach out to these clubs, and to different services for students on campus and find out what it is they want from me next year, and how can I be an effective VP.”
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