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 OPERATIONS AND FINANCE
Amy Beard, Luis Ruiz, and Kristen Stoik
In your opinion, which area within the VPO portfolio needs the most work?
Amy Beard: I think an analysis of our policies, procedures, and current committees should be done in the next year. They function very well now, and they serve their purpose, but I think there are changes that could be made to reflect the fact that, as MacEwan continues to evolve as a university, we follow that and keep up with it. In the next few years, we will also have our own building, and we need to ensure that our operational policies and procedures are in tune with this change.
Luis Ruiz: In my opinion, the SAMU building is the part of the portfolio that needs the most work. We have to keep on schedule and get everything ready, and we have to make sure that it satisfies all of the students’ needs, such as more study places (both quiet and group), and more food options at decent prices.
Kristen Stoik: Our U-Pass and Health & Dental plan need serious work to align with student needs. Students are required to pay for the U-Pass, but many students who live outside of Edmonton need to pay additional fees to use transit, or they cannot get to school without driving. I believe we need to expand the exemptions for the U-Pass and work with the city’s surrounding areas to get all students to school with the U-Pass. With Health & Dental, we need to work with Gallivan to get items like birth control covered and ensure that students can flex their benefits to their needs.
In terms of budgeting and finances, what relevant experience would you bring to the SAMU Executive Committee?
Amy Beard: As the chair of SAMU’s Budget and Finance Committee, I have worked alongside my team to ensure that we are being fiscally responsible with our operating budget, and with the SAMU building project. I have also worked with SAMU’s investment manager over the past year to ensure SAMU investments are generating interest revenue and more. Additionally, during my previous experience as a club executive, I helped to manage travel budgets to ensure that the club could bring as many members as possible on the trips, while staying under budget.
Luis Ruiz: I would bring the knowledge from my accounting classes and finance classes in my bachelor of commerce degree, as well as the experience that I gained last year while working with clubs to do cheque requisition forms and make sure they were in order.
Kristen Stoik: As a club executive for four years, I have worked with tight budgets to make events and programs successful. I have also approved three budgets as part of Students’ Council, and I am aware of the rationale behind these budgets, as I am also part of our Budget and Finance Committee. I have been chair of our Audit Committee at SAMU, and I have spoken to our auditors to ensure that we are reporting accurate numbers and have transparency and accountability for our fees. I am aware of our investment portfolio and the mix we have for the new building, but we also make interest on our investments.
Who are three leaders that have influenced you?
Amy Beard: Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, is an advocate for increasing the number of women in the financial field. Women are often less likely to take leadership roles, and I want to encourage female leadership at MacEwan.
John F. Kennedy, one of the first US presidents to advocate for civil rights. I believe all students should be able to access everything MacEwan has to offer, and receive the same treatment everywhere.
Malala Yousafzai, an advocate for the rights of females to access education. Yousafzai’s strength is admirable, and while I will never experience the same things, I hope to work hard for the rights of students.
Luis Ruiz: Three leaders that have influenced me are Alvaro Uribe, who was a president in my home country, Colombia; and Cam McCoy and Lauren Micks, for both suggesting and pushing me to run for Students’ Council.
Kristen Stoik: My leadership teacher at Scona, Tom Yonge, has not only influenced me, but has also shaped me as a young leader and challenged me to learn different leadership styles and skills. He taught me the importance of including the masses in consultation and getting buy-in from the people you represent. My mother is the greatest leader and multitasker. She has taught me balance and to put my passion into everything I do. Lastly, the previous SAMU executives that I have worked with have pushed me to become a better leader and keep students as the focus of every decision.
What separates you from the rest of the candidates vying for your position?
Amy Beard: The platform I am running on in this campaign is realistic, and these are all goals I will be able to complete in 12 months, if re-elected. As well, my experience is what separates me from the other candidates. Other than the year I have just spent as VP Operations & Finance, I previously spent two years as the Food Bank Coordinator for SAMU, and I have experience as a club executive. I understand the issues currently facing students and I will work hard to ensure that all students are represented, whether it be in the SAMU building, the U-Pass renewal, or other student concerns.
Luis Ruiz: I want to advocate for all of the different groups that are across all campuses, not just the groups that are usually represented. I want to advocate for international students, people with different dietary needs or likes, and part-time students, to name a few. I am also very approachable and easy to talk to, and I help people as much as I can. I would advocate for any other needs that people bring to my attention. I would also have more ways for students to interact with myself and the other execs, as well as with Students’ Council.
Kristen Stoik: My extensive experience on Students’ Council is a huge asset for this position. I have the knowledge of the rationale behind past decisions as well as things that have and have not worked in the past. With the building, I have been part of the business case process and planning up to the choosing of our architect, Stantec, and I have been receiving and reading monthly updates on the building progress. With my time on Students’ Council, I have been on several of our committees — many of which are under the VPO portfolio.
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.