Before you place your vote on March 9 and 10, find out more about the candidates running for positions in the SAMU Executive Committee. Alongside Students’ Council, the Executive Committee advocates for students and helps to steer the Students’ Association of MacEwan University.
THE CANDIDATES FOR VICE PRESIDENT ACADEMIC
Katelyn Garlough and Robbie Lepp
What is the most tangible difference that you would make, if elected?
Katelyn Garlough: The most tangible difference I would make, if elected, would be an improvement in how our reading breaks are carried out. I will reach out to students to find out how they can get the most out of their breaks in terms of mental and physical well-being, and I’ll bring that forward in a way that will begin to make change. I also want to get Block Week [a period when accelerated classes are offered] into its final stages and work towards starting an online degree planner.
Robbie Lepp: The biggest need our students have today is study space and classrooms that can be booked for silent and group study. That would be my first priority. After that, I would want to implement peer tutoring before final examinations for students in some of the more demanding first-year classes, like math, stats, and sciences. This would be run like a large review session for all interested students. This would be free of charge and would be run in conjunction with the professors of these classes so the review material is relevant.
In your opinion, what are two barriers or challenges to students’ academic success, and how would you resolve those issues?
Katelyn Garlough: In my opinion, two barriers or challenges to students’ academic success would be stress and a lack of study space on campus. In terms of stress, I hope to work towards ensuring that both reading breaks focus on maintaining mental wellness. This will require collaboration with students and faculty to make sure students are getting the most out of the break. In regards to study space, this will take a team effort from all the elected executives to find out what kind of space students need and find innovative ways to make that happen.
Robbie Lepp: One of the biggest challenges is discovering where to study at MacEwan. This is why study space is my number one priority. Another major challenge is the stress we get when we do all that is required of us both in school and out of school, and finding ways to pay for school. I am hoping that peer tutoring before finals will reduce some of these stress levels.
Who are three leaders that have influenced you?
Katelyn Garlough: My mother: I could never thank my mom enough! This beautiful and powerful woman is truly my best friend. She has inspired me since day one to believe in myself, to push beyond my limits and to strive for success in everything I do.
Brittany Pitruniak: What can I say? She interviewed me to be an ambassador and I remember thinking, ‘Damn, this girl does everything!’ Since then, she has pushed me to try new things, to get uncomfortable, and to meet new people!
Diana Wyley: If you ever wanted to feel inspired in the first five minutes of meeting someone, then I suggest meeting Diana.
Robbie Lepp: One is Brittany Pitruniak, who is constantly working hard for and on behalf of SAMU. Never a dull moment with her! Another person I admire is one of my church leaders who always did his duty, even in the face of adversity. He fell down the stairs and tore the ligaments in both of his legs, but he continued to do his work as a lawyer and see to the needs of our congregation. The last would be my Scout Leader, who taught me what it means to survive in the wilderness and my way around a canoe.
What separates you from the rest of the candidates vying for your position?
Katelyn Garlough: I have experience on both sides of the position. I have volunteered in programs and clubs where I was able to interact with all kinds of students and find out their experiences at MacEwan. This has allowed me to see where the quality of education can be improved. On the other side, I sit on a faculty-based council where I have had to represent the students in a way that ensures their voices are expressed. I believe that I can combine those experiences in a meaningful way to make sure that the student voice is a core piece in SAMU decisions.
Robbie Lepp: Both Katelyn Garlough and I have very similar experience when it comes to MacEwan, and we would both be great in the position of VPA. What makes me stand out is the level of initiative I take. I don’t look for the easy way to do things, but the most effective. I prefer to talk to students in small groups that are a little more personal because it allows me to get to know the needs of the student body better.
Responses have been edited for length and clarity.
Candidates are responsible for the accuracy and relevancy of their statements. The Griff is not responsible for any inaccuracies on the part of candidates. For more information about the election and the SAMU Executive Committee, visit samu.ca.