Mary-Dan Johnston, a candidate for VP Administration in the upcoming students’ union by-election, has not held a position on the STUSU before, but she believes that if elected, she can bring something to the table that the union is currently lacking.
“I’ve never been involved in the union before, but I feel like this is a time where there can be some renewal,” said Johnston. “There has been some division already this year and I feel like in order to get anything done, we really need to be unified”.
“So I hope that this can be a fresh start and I might be able to affect some positive change.”
The third-year student is a Halifax native honouring in Inequality Studies. She spent last year away from school working with people with developmental disorders in Cape Breton.
Her involvement in the STU community is vast, including her current position as a residence advisor in Rigby Hall.
“I’m pretty attached to the residence community, but I also understand the concerns of off-campus students,” said Johnston of her position as an RA.
A big part of her platform is to focus her energy on the financial aspect of the position rather than governance.
“They’ve dealt a lot with governance and they re-worked the constitution, and put a lot of hard work and money into that,” said Johnston of her predecessors. “I think they have done a really good job so I’d be happy to focus on something new this year.
“I’d really like to look at where the union’s money is going and make sure that students know that the money is there and available to them.”
Johnston said many students might not be aware of what funds are at their disposal.
“A lot of students, especially those that are involved in clubs and societies, may have been at STU for three years already but still don’t know how to get support from the union.”
Her solution to this is to draft a new clubs and societies guide and to have more consultation between clubs and societies and the VP Administration.
“[I would] make sure the VP Admin has meetings with representatives from each club and society twice a semester to make sure that people know what’s going on,” said Johnston.
She thinks the difference between her and the other candidate for the job, Mitchell Messom, lies in what they stand for.
“The things that I stand for, transparency and the accountability of the union to the students, are things I’m not sure that he stands for”.
“He doesn’t really have much information out so far,” she said, in regard to Messom’s platform.
Regardless of who students choose to vote for, Johnston stresses that students find their way to the polls.
“You should get out and vote because it’s time to get engaged. You can look at the rest of the world as an example and you can start here on our small campus in Fredericton,” she said.
“You can get out there and have your say, because you can’t complain if you haven’t done anything about it.”