The St. Thomas University Students’ Union election ended on Feb. 23. The president, vice-president education and vice-president student life positions have been elected, but vice-president administration remains vacant. Another election will take place after the spring reading week. Executives begin their term on May 1, 2019. This is the STUSU executive team so far.
Husoni Raymond, the first black president-elect, wanted to be alone when he heard the election results on Feb. 23. He almost didn’t go to the Cellar Pub for the news, a STUSU election tradition.
“When it comes to results viewing … the environment gets very anxious and then being in that environment can really impact you emotionally, so being alone so you can just take a breather and process,” he said.
“I did end up going down there, because the results were a little bit late. I just convinced myself to go.”
Raymond is the 2018-19 vice-president administration for STUSU. He balances the union’s budget and looks after the clubs and societies on campus. He’s a third-year communications and public policy and criminology major from Kingston, Jamaica.
Raymond has been involved at STU since he stepped foot on campus. He was on the house committee as vice-president external for Harrington Hall in his first year. He’s been on the moot court team as a captain and will be the student coach next year. He founded the debate society and served as its president. He’s been involved with the St. Thomas University International Student Association, been on the board of governors, worked in student employment, has planned Black History Month events and founded the first black students’ association.
Raymond even re-worked his degree to allow for his extracurricular and advocacy work to continue.
“I decided to drop my honours [in criminology] and sacrifice it to be the STUSU president and the moot court student coach,” he said.
Raymond is looking forward to fulfilling his platform points: innovation and collaboration, increasing student pride, transparency and accountability.
When asked how he juggles his busy schedule, he said he practices good time management and lets his passion drive his work.
“Once it’s something that you’re passionate about, that will really drive you to go the extra mile. So it’s just balancing your schedule and practicing open communication with the people you work with,” he said.
“Also, having fun.”
STUSU vice-president education-elect
Second-year human rights major Ailish MacKenzie-Foley was with fellow STUSU executive candidate Sarah Kohut when she got the news she’d been elected.
“It was a celebratory jump. [Sarah and I] were hugging and laughing and almost crying. It was a really exciting and memorable moment.”
MacKenzie-Foley’s seven campaign points included building a website for the national Get Out the Vote campaign, amending policies, continuing transparency of the union, growing mental health resources on campus by working with the New Brunswick Student Alliance and the Canadian Association of Student Alliances, continuing experiential learning opportunities, creating a sustainability policy and removing work restrictions for international students.
Both her and Kohut left Kohut’s dorm in Harrington Hall and went to the Cellar Pub to celebrate.
MacKenzie-Foley was hired as the STUSU activities coordinator earlier this semester. She’s been planning a potential formal, a physical and mental wellness week and activities for International Women’s Day before the school year wraps up.
She’s been involved with advocacy since she attended Cole Harbour District High School in Nova Scotia.
She was on student council for three years, played rugby and lacrosse and even helped organize her senior prom during a teacher strike, where she had to fundraise to cover the costs. She planned a walk-out at her high school and was part of a group called Students for Teachers, which rallied for better working conditions for teachers and better learning conditions for students.
MacKenzie-Foley wanted to continue advocating for students and their education, so she thought the vice-president education position was a great fit for her.
“I think that’s where the switch kind of flipped for me, because I’ve always been interested in helping others and making a difference in their lives. That was one of the ways I could do that,” she said.
“I hope that the role of vice-president education can also further that.”
She is excited to work with the student representative council, learn more about her role during the general meeting for the New Brunswick Student Alliance and working with administration on policy.
“I’m just really excited for the role as a whole. It’s been something that I’ve kind of dreamed about since I came to STU and found out what it was.”
STUSU vice-president student life-elect
Second-year criminology and psychology student Sarah Kohut found out she was the only candidate vice-president student life an hour before the debate on Feb. 20. Simon Wassef was running but dropped out before the debate. Despite being the only vice-president student life candidate, she felt it was more nerve-wracking because all the attention was on her. She didn’t feel like she officially won until she checked the results.
“I was over scrambling looking at the ballot box to see if I won. Once I looked a the ballot and saw that I won, I turned around and was like ‘I won’ and then [Ailish] gave me a hug,” she said.
“I still had like a subconscious fear that people would vote no, because that’s a possibility.”
Kohut’s campaign points revolved around mental health awareness, fostering relationships at STU, the safety and security of students, increasing support for clubs and societies, improving the quality of food in meal hall, creating a designated time for first-time gym-users and establishing composting on campus.
Kohut has been involved in extracurriculars like student council since her time at Ridley College in St. Catharines, Ont. She moved to Fredericton from Smithville, Ont. two years ago and has continued her student involvement. She was a wing representative in Harrington Hall in her first year and is a residence advisor this year.
She’s also the social inclusion representative for STUSU. Part of her work includes sitting in on meetings with the UNB Women’s Centre in the Student Union Building and reporting back to STU’s student representative council.
Kohut chose to run for the student life position because she likes engaging with others and making people happy.
“You get the most direct student contact … the whole role is based off students and what students need directly on campus … To me, this is the position that directly allowed me to do that.”
She would like to start a social inclusion committee and amend bylaws for her the newly-elected social inclusion representative, Dorcas Tshimenga, so he can start that in the next fiscal year.
She also hopes to take over current vice-president student life Wasiimah Joomun’s efforts in officially naming the trail connecting STU and the University of New Brunswick’s campuses. She also wants to improve the lighting to ensure safety for students.
“I’m super passionate about all my campaign points and I can’t wait to do each and every one of them.”