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Q&A with SAMU Students’ Council candidates

by | Oct 28, 2015 | Campus | 0 comments

SAMU Students’ Council elections are taking place today and tomorrow. Before you vote, learn more about the students running for positions in the highest governing body of the Students’ Association of MacEwan University.


Tinbite Bekele, Samantha Colvin, Kimberly Gargus, Katelyn Garlough, Cassandra Kleefman, Robbie Lepp, Cody Lord, Bryan MacNeill, Sarah Moon, Ciorstaidh Reid, Luis Ruiz, Parvin Sedighi, Amanda Seymour-Skinner, Kristen Stoik, Andrew Desaulniers, Ethan Spenrath


Why do you want to get into student politics?

  • Tinbite Bekele: I am passionate about what is happening around my school and want to be a contributing individual to improving the overall university experience for the student body and myself.
  • Cassandra Kleefman: I have a genuine care for the students’ needs and desires, and I took it upon myself to channel that care into a position that could potentially enact change.
  • Robbie Lepp: I think it is a great way to get involved and be a part of the future of MacEwan.
  • Cody Lord: I feel like I could really make a difference. I want to do everything in my power to ensure that Grant Macewan [University] is a great place to learn.
  • Ciorstaidh Reid: Turns out complaining about the school all the time doesn’t make any changes — getting involved and sharing your voice does, though. Hopefully we can make a difference for everyone.
  • Luis Ruiz: I had various people approaching and telling me that I would make a great councillor, [and] I like helping others.
  • Parvin Sedighi: Student politics is the most direct way that we, as students, can take the reigns when it comes to our education. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?
  • Amanda Seymour-Skinner: I have always had a keen interest in student politics. I thought I would give this election a go, since it’s my last opportunity before I graduate in June 2016.
  • Ethan Spenrath: I would like to get into student politics because I have met so many amazing MacEwan students [during my time here] and would love to make . . . the best possible university experience for everyone.

What skills do you have that would make you a good student councillor?

  • TB: I helped organize events to empower and bring students together, such as Ballots with a Beat, and I want to bring this [skill] to council to give a unified voice for students to be heard loud and clear.
  • CK: I like to think I am well-versed in empathy and understanding, so discussing and debating on issues within the students’ council itself would come naturally.
  • CL: I’m a great listener and I’m fascinated with people. I think every person at this institution has an opinion to share, and I would like nothing more than to listen to each one.
  • RL: I have sat on councils before and am willing to speak up and offer my opinion. Sometimes my [ability to] think outside the box can be put to good use.
  • CR: I am a very outgoing, confident, friendly person who loves to hear from new voices. Plus, I always like to leave people with a smile on their face.
  • LR: I am a great listener . . . I like to help others, and my work experience at SAMU with clubs [would be an asset], [as well as] my skills to work well with others.
  • PS: I have years of experience with students’ council at a high school level, as well as an unwavering enthusiasm and passion for bettering the lives of students here at MacEwan.
  • AS: As a communications student, I have an extensive background in studying and applying communication theories and skills. I love being engaged at MacEwan and meeting new people.
  • ES: I have great interpersonal skills. I will try my absolute hardest to think in everyone’s best interest, and I will always give my 110%, except in my Spanish class.

If you could make anything at MacEwan better, what would it be?

  • TB: Something I would like to change is raising the awareness about what is going on around the school — to engage the student body, which in turn will shape the university as a whole.
  • CK: More awareness about mental health issues. We are students, [and] we have so much stress and other environmental factors weighing on us; I would hate to have something unfortunate happen because a student didn’t have anyone to go to.
  • CL: I would like to have more diverse dining options on campus — preferably, something local that could cater to all diet types.
  • RL: I would increase the awareness of what SAMU is doing for the student body. This includes programs, services, and how the executive committee is advocating on their behalf.
  • CR: Space is a huge issue I would like to improve at MacEwan. Hopefully we can have more study space, seating areas and eating areas in the new SAMU building.
  • LR: I would have more study spaces, as well as longer hours and more food options (with better prices).
  • PS: I love the sense of community that MacEwan fosters; I’d like to see that grow by providing more collaborative spaces for students, either for school or social purposes.
  • AS: [I would like] to improve what we’ve already accomplished. I want to make sure MacEwan is exactly what the students want. Academics, events, food — everything should always be student-oriented.
  • ES: I would bring back school dances, because MacEwan has an awesome, friendly community, and everyone [strives] for the perfect opportunity to ask out their crush. This is it.

How do you plan to advocate on behalf of students while also balancing your classes and other responsibilities?

  • TB: I plan to reach out and make myself available for one-on-one conversation[s] with the student body to get direct feedback on issues and their thought process on [them].
  • CK: Time management skills are always a bonus! It’s important to prioritise everything you do and stick to the plans you make in terms of what you need to accomplish.
  • CL: I make time for all the important things in life. Also, I literally have a giant calendar that I use to keep track of events.
  • RL: There is generally [plenty of] time in a week to advocate. It might mean less time spent on Netflix, but that’s probably for the best. It will require good time management.
  • CR: Balancing classes and advocating for students goes hand in hand, as [being] a student and being constantly surrounded [by] fellow students, you understand the needs and issues that everyone expresses.
  • LR: I’m a great organizer and I keep good track of time management, as I [have] done in the past when I volunteer[ed] [and] worked as the clubs coordinator at SAMU.
  • PR: I’ve balanced five clubs, two sports teams, as well as [high school] students’ council with a full course load before. My time management skills and my ability to prioritize are in peak shape.
  • AS: As a fourth-year student, I’ve conquered my time management skills. In order to advocate for students, I will be scheduling visits at [City Centre Campus] and CFAC . . . throughout the year.
  • ES: Time management . . . A great student experience is important, and we don’t find time for it — we make time for it.
Responses were edited for clarity. Some candidates didn’t respond by our press deadline. To learn more about the council election and the candidates, check out the SAMU website.

Thai Sirikoone

The Griff


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