STUSU spring elections are around the corner, meet some of the candidates

    Still of Lucia Pavon managing the Global Connections' event, held this past November 15th, 2023. (Daniel Salas/AQ)

    The St. Thomas University Student Union (STUSU) will hold spring general elections on Feb. 29. Eligible students will be able to vote online from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. through a link on their student email. 

    Unlike the previous elections, which saw low engagement from voters and candidates, this time 12 students are running, including competing candidates for two executive positions.  

    Related: Students elects new representatives in fall election, leave almost half vacant

    President candidates

    Ellie Namit and Boulwatise Oduntan are the two students running for president.

    Namit, a third-year sociology and human rights student and current Chair of STUSU, said  there is “a lot of change that [they] want to see happen.”

    “I want [the executive team] to meet independently with representatives, make sure that we can have more consistent communication outside of the meetings,” said Namit. 

    Namit said that they want to provide students with more funding for independent student projects besides promoting on-campus jobs for students. 

    “What I’m noticing a lot is a lot of people don’t hear about job positions until it’s already filled. I want to make sure that everyone has equal access to those available jobs,” said Namit. 

    When asked what is the biggest issue that the students are facing, Namit said that many off-campus students at St. Thomas University have experienced moderate food insecurity. 

    “Community smart food bags are a big thing that the student union does, which I don’t think are advertised well enough,” said Namit.

    Oduntan, a third-year communications and public policy student and vice president of the St. Thomas University International Students’ Association, said she wants campus to be an “open ground” for everybody where every concern is heard. 

    “Using my experiences and keeping everything approachable, these are people you could talk to,” said Oduntan. 

    Among her ambitions, she proposed a section on the STUSU website dedicated to helping international students look for housing and roommates before moving. 

    “[Students] don’t know where to start when they’re looking for accommodation, especially since most students coming in are spending their first year moving off campus as well,” said Oduntan. 

    Similar to Namit, Oduntan said that the biggest issue that students are facing right now is food insecurity and inflation. 

    “It’s not just getting support from the university itself, but also looking for support from the community, the government, seeing what they could do to help us,” said Oduntan. “If the government doesn’t work, we try organizations and if that doesn’t work, we could come together.”

    Vice president education candidates

    Tyler Dupuis, a third-year student running for vice president of education, said that he has shaped the priorities around students “because students are the priority.”

    “I plan on bringing in a collaborative approach, I want to reach out to different clubs and societies, students, senators and governors to effectively advocate because otherwise, you’re just alone in the greater fight of advocacy,” said Dupuis. 

    Dupuis said that he would re-examine the bylaws of STUSU to find the deficiencies that the current structure has. 

    “Considering that the Sustainability and Environmental Awareness Committee has not met this year, I would consider inserting a mandate for that committee to either meet once a semester or once a month,” said Dupuis. 

    Ana Lucía Pavón, a second-year student who is also running for vice president of education, said that she wants to increase the efficiency of the committees. 

    “I’ve noticed that a lot of people don’t even know what campus has to offer, what services we do and what student union even is,” Pavón said. “There’s a barrier in between what we’re doing and how it’s getting to students.”

    Looking forward

    Even though these elections have more candidates running and competing, there are currently no candidates for one of the executive positions, vice president administration. 

    The candidates for executive positions will meet on Feb. 26 at 4 p.m. for a debate. This is the first time since the pandemic that the event will happen in-person at the Dawn Russell Lounge. Students are welcome to ask questions to their possible representatives.