Sydona Chandon ran unopposed and won the vice-president education seat on the St. Thomas University Students’ Union executive board. She said her passion for advocacy and wanting to make a change motivated her to run.
“I have learned to never give up on things that I’m passionate about,” Chandon said. “That’s where my true dedication comes from.”
The position remained vacant during the original spring election when Chandon was running for president, but in order to fill the spot, there was a by-election which allowed her to run.
She said anyone would feel emotional after losing an election. Tyler MaGee won the presidential position, but she said she knows he was a great candidate. Chandon said she is happy for him and believes he’ll fit the position well.
She said she wants to continue to understand student needs and what students want in post-secondary education.
“In order to do that, I would have to understand what students are looking for next year,” she said.
She said in terms of lobbying externally, she thinks it’s important to hear from other voices on boards like the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations and the New Brunswick Student Alliance.
While running for the position unopposed, Chandon said she thinks the position isn’t becoming unpopular but believes online learning has affected it. She said because students have less free time due to online learning, they maybe didn’t realize it was time to run in the election or didn’t have time to prepare a campaign.
“I think the vice-president of education position is quite a bit of work,” said Chandon.
Tina Iannarilli, who’s been STUSU’s general manager for the last 24 years, had similar thoughts about why the vice-president education position lacked popularity this year.
“I would suspect it might have to do with the times we are living in currently with students being fatigued with online learning and the added stress of the pandemic,” said Iannarilli.
She said this hasn’t been an issue in the past with the vice-president education position but she has seen it happen with other positions. Something she noticed is when someone is running for an executive position, they may find out that a friend is also running, influencing them to switch their focus.
“And then for whatever reason, neither do [run],” she said. “I believe the nature of the STU tight knit community lends itself to such instances happening.”
While last year the vice-president education position was the most popular, with four candidates running for it, this year saw a complete switch. Iannarilli said the only thing she could think of was the effect of online learning.
If in-person classes make a return in the 2021-22 academic year, Chandon said STUSU will take a similar approach as previous years when it comes to advertising positions next winter. Students will be more aware and excited, Chandon said.
She thanked multiple people for her success, such as former STUSU president Husoni Raymond and MaGee. She said MaGee is supportive of her and excited for their chance to work together.
“I’ve decided to put the majority of my time into the vice-president education role,” said Chandon. “Next year, I do not have any set plans right now in terms of sitting on other boards.”