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Get to know your candidates

by | Mar 8, 2016 | Politics | 0 comments

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.


Danika McConnell and Ethan Spenrath



What is the most tangible difference that you plan to implement, should you get elected?


Danika McConnell: I want shovels in the ground for your SAMU building by the end of my term. This has been a project that has carried over in the president portfolio for years, and I am driven to push it forward into the next steps. There are a lot of cogs turning with this project — and I think I can be the president of a team that makes sure all details are done right going into 2017. This project is not only for the students who are going to utilize it, but a legacy for all of our students for decades to come.

Ethan Spenrath: The most tangible difference I plan to implement is school dances using our awesome gymnasium facility and our top-notch talent from our very own CFAC campus. We have so many amazing musicians and such a great community at MacEwan that would bring an old-school cool feeling to our new school dances!


What are your main priorities, should you get elected? 


Danika McConnell: Begin construction of your SAMU building: This is your space. It’s funded and operated by students. It’s time for increased study and club space, expanded food options, and a place to call your own on campus.

Sustainable mental health funding: Provincial funding expires this year, and the demand for these services is increasing. Our students need consistent, front-line, professional services.

Negotiating for an affordable U-Pass: Students are beginning to pay more and receive less. We demand quality in our transit. I’ve spent the past 10 months advocating for better, and I intend to continue if elected.

Ethan Spenrath: As I have already mentioned, I would love the implementation of school dances to bring our “smaller university” community together, similar to current events like Fall Fest. I would also like to increase the frequency of the Breakfast Club program to once a week, in the same location, at the same time. Our students only have so much money, so it is crucial to be transparent, so we can see exactly where our money is going. Also, Luis Ruiz, candidate for VPO, and I are campaigning for the Health & Dental program to be available for part-time students as well.


Who are three leaders that have influenced you?


Danika McConnell: Romy Garrido:
 Throughout my term, I have been able to work beside Romy, the VPX of the University of Calgary’s Students’ Union and chair of the Council of Alberta University Students. Her leadership has taught me how to trust the work I do, and to never fear speaking up in a crowded room. Too often, young female leaders feel pushback against their ideas — Romy has taught me to defy that.

Kathleen Hanna: Everyone needs a little Rebel Grrrl in them — and mine isn’t very quiet.

 Setting and reaching goals isn’t easy. It takes time and dedication. “Patience you must have, my young Padawan.”

Ethan Spenrath: The first leader that has influenced me is Clint Galloway, director of MacEwan Residence. Since my first day as a front desk agent, he told me that we would be a dynamic team, and always improving — a mindset I think is very important. He also taught me to own up to mistakes, rather than talking my way out of them. The second leader I’ve admired was my former vice principal, Bob Plowman; he would always try to brighten students’ moods with his contagious enthusiasm. The third set of leaders I admire were my parents, as they were simply amazing when I was growing up.


What separates you from the rest of the candidates vying for your position? 


Danika McConnell: As your first-ever Vice President External, I have spent the past year developing a role in a political climate that was flipped on its head both provincially and federally. The university environment can be just as unpredictable. I am prepared to adapt to any and all issues that our students are facing on a day-to-day and long-term level. This role should not be taken lightly — students deserve experience and accountability. At the end of the day, I am prepared to work with a team that is driving SAMU and the student movement forward.

Ethan Spenrath: I firmly believe that both myself and the other candidate are very qualified for the position, but not a day goes by when I am not trying to help out a fellow student. As a front desk agent at Residence, I am constantly helping the student body with an abundance of issues, from work orders to handling complaints in a respectful manner. I am also a very approachable person and am very good at remembering names. If I’ve learned your name once, I will remember it 10 years down the road.

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

 Check out our other candidate Q&As: VPA, VPO, VPX, VPSL 

Editor -in-chief

The Griff


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