ASFA Elections Begins Today
Here Are the Candidates
Elections for representatives of undergraduate Arts and Science students begin today, and many candidates are vying for seven executive spots, as well as five open councillor positions.
A formal debate between those running for the Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA) took place Thursday evening in the Hall building downtown. Although the room was well suited to host the event, many candidates arrived late (with some not arriving at all), and attendance from the student body was meager.
This was symbolic of the evening’s main point of contention amongst candidates: ASFA’s lack of visibility. Here are summaries of what each candidate hopes to achieve if elected.
Jared Buck, Team United
Running for president, Buck said he has “a passion for enriching the lives of students.” His relevant past experiences include working with the orientation Frosh Week. Taking issues of consent to heart (as he was wearing a consent pin on his sweater), Buck spoke about the importance of safe spaces, without any further elaboration. Buck wishes to push for a stronger executive body.
Jenna Cocullo, Support Change
Cocullo has been interim VP External and Sustainability at ASFA since the summer. She is also in her second year as a councillor on the CSU, where she sat on numerous committees. Her platform includes increasing accountability for the finance committee and implementing bylaw changes to “protect anyone who is mistreated.”
She would also update ASFA’s sustainability policy, and work towards developing an ethical purchasing policy. Cocullo would push ASFA to take on more of a coordinator role for its member associations. She would also like to abolish the president’s position, and would try to get the executive positions paid.
The bulk of Young’s experience comes from his past experience working as a councillor at ASFA. He has worked with the policy committee, the financial committee and strategic planning. “I already understand the internal structure of the organization, I know how things work here, I know how things don’t work here, and I have an idea about how to actually improve the situation,” Young said. He wants to restructure the bylaws and make the executive positions more “effective.”
At its last session, council determined that Young leaked an email containing “sensitive information” under a pseudonym and fake email account. A motion passed to have a judicial committee independently review the incident. Young said the allegation is “technically true,” but whether it’s a misdemeanour or not has not been decided yet. He added that he encouraged the motion and has nothing to hide.
Mariah Gillis, Support Change
Gillis has been a councillor at ASFA for over a year. Her interest in changing ASFA sparked after the Mei-Ling scandal, and she has since become chair of the advocacy committee. Over the summer, she sat on the orientation committee, where she played a significant role in planning and organizing ASFA’s “Launch Week.”
“Ever since then, that’s just kind of what my life has been,” she said. “It’s all about ASFA, all the time, so this kind of feels like a natural continuation of that role.”
She acknowledged criticism of Launch Week, but is proud of having put 480 Launchees and around 50 Launch Leaders through consent training.
Bianca Bruzzese, ASFA United
Bruzzese came to the podium not so much to preach about her experience but rather about the experience she lacks—her reasoning being that electing her would bring a blank slate to the executive, someone eager to learn and run things the way she deems best. “I am not as involved as my opponent, but don’t let that dissuade you from voting for me,” she said.
Bruzzese hopes voters eager for change will see the opportunity for a fresh start from her. Although she fumbled at a question from an audience member, she did handle a heckler who interrupted her. She promised to work together in order to attain accreditation and “to take student needs to heart.”
VP External and Sustainability
Ayesha Naqvi, ASFA United
Naqvi is a political science student with prior experience working at a TEDx event. She hopes to bring new ideas to ASFA, especially in terms of sustainability. When asked a crowd question about ethical purchasing in regard to beer, she said that she would look into it while working within budgetary limits. “[I will] balance the achievable with the ethical…the point of ASFA is to give services to students.”
Lana Galbraith, Support Change
Galbraith spent time serving as president of the Liberal Arts Society. She sits on the federation’s Strategic Planning Committee, on Concordia’s Senate, and the Arts and Sciences Faculty Council.
She plans to reform the federation’s purchasing and sustainability policy, which would include social justice issues, and guidelines to have a “less wasteful” federation. Galbraith wants to push for connections with external organizations that share the same values of sustainability.
VP Academic and Loyola
Ezzo is a second year physics student whose main platform is to help students during the toughest times of the school year: midterms and finals. He wants to provide basics like coffee and pastries, as well as free tutoring services and extra study spaces around Loyola—although he’s not sure yet where those places could be.
As an independent candidate, if elected, Ezzo says he’s not worried about working with whoever joins him on the executive team because he knows most of them. He has no prior experience working as an executive within student associations.
Ian Campbell, Support Change
Campbell has experience organizing events, which he gained through his years working at Divest Concordia. He would work towards establishing a skill-share at Loyola, and would push for the creation of promotional space for Loyola-specific events.
He would also like to collaborate with small businesses on campus, such as Le Petit Vélo Rouge and the Hive Café. On academics, Campbell would like to “promote inter-faculty curriculum, as well as develop an undergraduate academic conference,” with the help of the Liberal Arts College.
Chanel Manzone Pilon, ASFA United
Claiming that she knows nothing about ASFA because she “never sees anything,” Manzone Pilon’s main goal is to increase visibility, especially for Loyola campus.
She said she aims to be a voice for the campus, which she feels is often lost in the cacophony of issues coming from the downtown campus. When asked about potentially splitting the Academic and Loyola positions, she said she wants to attack both of them “head on.”
Babity is an ASFA councillor and says he has sat on the finance committee for numerous months. Since the resignation of the former VP Finance, he has helped address “budget-related questions” and “general financial concerns.”
Babity would like to improve the framework for member associations to “discuss and clarify” their budgets. He would work towards making sure that ASFA avoids deficit spending when budgeting for their events.
Zachary Garoufalis, Support Change
Garoufalis served as president of the Liberal Arts Society two years ago.
“My goals are pretty simple—require that [the finance committee] take minutes that are publicly available, have monthly finance updates for council, draft a checklist for MAs to better prepare budgets and proposals, and develop a system to fund long-term student initiatives,” he said.
Ivan Makhorv, ASFA United
Makhorv, a third year urban planning student, pushed the issues of having accessible financial information for the public. Transparency is his goal. Despite having no past experience with ASFA, he found the low turn-out for the debate disappointing, and called attention to it in his speech.
He claimed that this reflected a failure of the previous executives. Allocating money for young student parents and encouraging student entrepreneurship are also issues he will tackle if elected.
Cleo Fonseca, Support Change
Fonseca was a coordinator for ASFA’s Launch Week, where she played a role in “the organization and execution of consent and sexual assault workshops.”
Her goals as VP Communications would be to increase ASFA’s accountability and transparency. Her plan includes modifying ASFA’s website and logo and improve communication between member associations and the executives. She would also push for “diverse representation of students in all of ASFA’s media releases.”
Sunnyshine, a self-described “black teddy bear,” claimed his motivation for running stemmed from the fact that he never heard of ASFA events. Sunnyshine promised to be fair and impartial in all his judgments, saying, “We’re all looking for change.” Frankie hopes his popularity can spark an interest amongst the student body in ASFA events.
“I’m very social, and since ASFA is invisible, I can be a bridge,” he said, adding he would not stand for any candidate abuse. When asked about issues with cultural appropriation during certain even nights, Sunnyshine said cultural appropriation isn’t something of concern, dismissing it as “people getting their feelings up.”
Sood is a first year student of economics, and is looking to get involved with student affairs. “I think my inexperience should not be considered as a weakness,” she said. “I think that since I am still new, I am better fit to represent the new student body.”
If elected, she plans on making sure that VPs are always held accountable and would like to increase student awareness and participation in the federation.
Massaro gained experience in student politics after serving as VP Finance for the Concordia University Psychology Association. She did not get re-elected to the position for a second term, but would still like to have her voice heard on ASFA’s council.
“Being councillor allows me to still have a vote in council and to be able to make decisions based on what I think is best for students, especially when it comes to how the money is spent,” she said.
She acknowledged that there are problems within ASFA, and hopes to use her influence on council to push for change within the federation.
Etienne de Blois
De Blois spent five years on the board for a non-profit boxing club, and has been its president for the past three years. He also ran for president of the Political Science Student Association, but claims to have lost by six votes.
“My main goal is to represent students to the best of my ability, but also to reform our federation, making it a place where everyone can have a say without fear of being discriminated in any fashion,” he said.
Marshall showed up to the Thursday ASFA debate nearly two hours late and his brief speech included drawing attention to the lack of ASFA’s visibility. “I admit my ignorance to how things at ASFA work…I wish more people did.”
Provost was the VP Finance for the Applied Human Sciences Community (AHSC), where he helped organize numerous events, and “took on more of a VP Social position.” He plans on organizing “amazing” events for orientation week and Halloween, and would also like to ensure that there is “strong communication and a strong community” within the federation.