What we have here is a failure to communicate—at least that’s the theory put forth by both Caroline Bourbonnière and Charlie Brenchley, the two candidates running for president of the Arts and Science Federation of Associations.
Both Bourbonnière and Brenchley highlighted the need to strengthen ASFA’s ties between students, member associations and the Concordia Student Union.
“I think [the current executive] could have communicated more effectively with the press and with the CSU,” said Bourbonnière. “Certain things wouldn’t have happened if they had communicated, like with the Stop Lex Gill Petition.”
The petition to impeach CSU President Lex Gill that began circulating late January was co-founded by current ASFA President Alex Gordon.
Brenchley agreed increased communication was necessary for ASFA moving forward, citing specifically a lack of institutional memory.
“I definitely want to promote an ASFA that fosters an open dialogue and open community amongst its students,” he said.
“From year to year the transitions can be a little quick and we need to make sure that everything’s properly documented,” he added. “It boils down to being able to run a more efficient ship.”
And ASFA is very big ship.
Representing nearly 18,000 students over 26 member associations, the position of president rightly demands a bit of political experience.
Bourbonnière is currently the Vice President of Communications of the Political Science Students Association and President of Concordia’s Volunteers in Action. She says her clean record puts her ahead in the race.
“I’m not too political and I’m really passionate about enhancing the student experience […] I’m pragmatic and I think that’s what ASFA needs to get back on its feet.”
Brechley’s experience reaches back to high school, through the Dawson College Students Union where he served as VP External Affairs. He currently sits on the ASFA council as the representative for the School of Community and Public Affairs and is the Community Outreach Coordinator of the SCPA student association. He is also a Youth Commissioner with Scouts Canada in Quebec.
“I’ve gained a wealth of resources that I think are super important especially for the presidential candidate to have when overseeing such a big organization,” said Brenchley.
Both candidates said they are committed to the fight against tuition hikes and the battle against the Canadian Federation of Students as they attempt to sue the CSU for $1.8 million. The national student lobby group is suing the CSU over its attempt to withdraw, saying a referendum held in March 2010 in which students voted overwhelmingly to leave, was illegitimate.
“I want to work very closely with student representatives to fight tooth and nail to make sure [the CFS] don’t see a dime of our money because it is a ridiculous law suit,” said Bourbonnière.
Brenchley agrees that the CFS has no place at Concordia and emphasizes that all ties that he had with the organization have been severed. Brenchley once served as president of the organization’s Quebec branch.
Both candidates also stressed the importance of the party-hearty aspect of university political organizations.
“Social events are super important. I’ve seen it this year and I want to keep building upon that,” said Brenchley who cited a desire to extend Frosh as a platform point.
Bourbonnière noted that she wants to combine a little bit of class to her crunking.
“I feel that students also deserve a healthy and fun experience at Concordia and a great academic experience that’s why I want to bring in the TED Talk. University is about sharing ideas, it’s about being inspired.”