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Q & A with ASFA candidates

by Archives February 17, 2009

For the first time in three years, several executive positions on the Arts and Sciences Federation of Associations are being contested. While previous years have seen all the candidates running unopposed, this year the positions of president, VP finance, VP internal, VP social, and independent councillor will face competition.

Purple team:

President Leah Del Vecchio

Experience:

2006-2007 ASFA VP social
– total budget $45,000
– New York trip: three buses of students
– organized frosh, spring ball, hockey nights, wine and cheeses, pub crawls
2006-2007 CSU councillor
2006-2007 University senator
– helped with New Student Academic Code of Conduct
2007-2008 VP student life CSU
– $200,000 budget
– K-OS and metric at orientation, movie nights, winter carnival
2008-2009 ASFA independent councillor
Other team members:

Dane Perera, VP academic
-ASFA frosh leader volunteer for two years
-involved with Concordia Undergrad Psychology Association

Audrey Depault, VP finance
– President Political Science Students Association
– 2007-08 VP external Political Science Students Association
– 2007 Concordia Volunteer Abroad Program volunteer

Heather Lucas, VP internal
– Involved with sorority
– chairperson of Inter-Fraternity Council
– president American Student Association

Adrien Severyn, VP external
– member of ASFA external/Communications Oversight Committee
– involved with ASFA social events and initiatives for past two years

Arndell LeBlanc, VP communications
– ASFA councillor, Journalism Students Association
– Concordia Volunteer Abroad Program volunteer

Amir Sheth, VP social
– Involved with Concordia fraternities
– ASFA frosh leader for two years

Aaron Green, independent
-first year, eager to get involved, brings new perspective to table and unbiased perspective

Stephanie Siriwardhana, Independent
– ASFA VP communications

What’s the biggest issue facing ASFA?
Arts and Science students don’t know what ASFA is and they don’t feel any sense of belonging to the Arts and Science community. We need a strong communication strategy that includes an outreach program so more students are able to interact with ASFA. That’s why we want to plan a job and career fair. Students need the program and it would be a great way for them to interact with their faculty association. I want to make more of a connection with students by providing more services and allowing them to see what ASFA really is.

What changes do you want to see?
I feel that ASFA isn’t currently representing Arts and Science students to the best of its ability. There are transparency issues within the association and I want to rectify that. The first thing we’ll do if we’re elected is make ASFA’s closing year audit available online to students. Our approved budget would also be available online. We also want to provide students with a progress report in December and a final report in May.
We also need more programming and creative events, like career fairs, more sustainability initiatives like the ASFA Green Week, more funding for student projects and more social events at Loyola.
ASFA has a budget of $400,000. There is so much it can be doing for students.
I want to make sure the money is being used properly.

How will you implement them?
My experience, combined with the experience of the rest of my teammates, will ensure our promises are implemented. We’re very dedicated, with very strong and detailed campaign points. We know what we want to do for students.
Once we’re elected, I think our experience and fresh ideas will ensure a great year for ASFA, where we will fulfil the promises we made to students.
I don’t settle for anything less than the best. I know my teammates and I are the most qualified candidates.
As president, I’ll make sure we all work together to make and approve an action plan in June so that our councillors will be able to provide advice and take part and help us implement the changes.
Once our action plan is approved, we’ll start working to implement it and use it as our measuring stick for success.

Yellow team:

Anna Goldfinch

Experience:

2007-2008 President, Champlain College Students’ Association
– Budget $80,000
– Got representation on decision making committees for students of Champlain, a CEGEP that shares a campus with Bishops University
– Sat on committees of the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec and Coalition of Anglophone CEGEPs
– Helped plan anti-tuition increase protest
– Was first Champlain student to sit on university life committee of Bishops
– Sat on sustainable development action group for Bishops and Champlain
– Was in charge of Champlain orientation

Others experience:

Jocelyn Gilbert, VP finance
– President, Urban Planning Association
2008-2009 Member ASFA Council
2007 – 2008 VP internal, Urban Planning Association

Carolyn Wilson, VP internal
– VP finance, Women’s Studies Student Association
2008-2009 Member ASFA Council
2007-2008 President, Women’s Studies Student Association

Asako Shimantani, VP social
– VP communication, Concordia International Students Association

Catherine Dicaire, independent councillor
– President, Concordia International Students Association
– CSU councillor

Gabriella Foglia, independent councillor
– VP public relations, Concordia International Students Association

Julie Vertzayias, independant councillor
– Involved with Concordia Internatonal Students Association

Biggest issue?
I think it’s really important students know what ASFA is, that students know what ASFA does and what ASFA can do for students. I think through their various programs and services, students can see, it’s a really positive student association. ASFA’s done a lot of great things in the past. And I think students need to know what’s out there for them. I think that’s a big problem for all student associations, it’s really visibility and of course their having some problem with autonomy right now. I think the most important thing is that students know exactly what ASFA is and that’s an autonomous body that officially represents all Arts and Sciences students at Concordia.

Changes you want to see?
I want to see ASFA be more present in the lives of Concordia students, especially Arts and Science students. I want to see more service-based projects, in our platform we talk a lot about career services that we want to create for Arts and Science students, it’s something that’s really important for us and a big issue. We want to make a portal on the ASFA website, that will sort of unite all the services the University and the City of Montreal have to offer. So it’s a one stop shop that untangles the web of resources that are out there. Also this would be combined with workshops and information sessions and different programs that really compliment each other; things like information sessions and workshops by people in the field or who have been accepted into a graduate program, who can give advice to students, so things like tailoring what sort of classes you should be taking. A lot of students they sort of put classes into their schedule because they fit, or they don’t know what to take. What sort of things your C.V. should say, what sort of things to leave off your C.V.
I think instead of having an event here or a guest lecturer there, we could really incorporate learning about sustainability in the classroom setting. We’re all students, we’re all going to university to learn and to acquire knowledge that will help us in the future, this is obviously a huge issue for our generation. I’m not just talking about environmental sustainability, but economic and social as well.

How will you implement them?
If we work with the faculty, to incorporate these for-credit projects that touch on these subjects, people are really going to start to learn about them, get involved and really create a green sustainable culture at Concordia, because it’s in our everyday life, it’s in our classes, it’s in our homework. Obviously we can’t go in and say, this is the project we want you to do, this is all the criteria, of course faculty, they like to design their own classes and there’s regulations by the university. It would more be a negotiation between ASFA and the faculty and the administration, a discussion about implementing a certain amount of sustainable information that goes into classes, and sustainable projects that classes have and it would start off probably on a trial bases.

ASFA elections are Feb. 17, 18 and 19. The president, vice presidents and three independent councillors are elected directly by Arts and Sciences students. Other members of ASFA council are elected by the departmental student associations.

Dimitrios Koulis, independent candidate for president was not reached by press time.

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