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The polls are now open for VIU Students’ Union Fall 2020 General Election! Even though we’re not in typical class settings this year, VIUSU is still working hard to ensure students have the best year possible.

The candidates are from diverse backgrounds and programs, and promise to serve students as best they can both online and on campus.

The voting deadline is this Thursday, October 15 at midnight PST. Students should have received an email with the access key and voting link on Tuesday morning.

Some categories have more than one candidate running, so students will have to vote on who they think is best suited for the job, while some categories have just one running candidate, so students simply have to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no.’

Here is a quick roundup of the student candidates running for 2020/21:

There are two students running for the Arts and Humanities Faculty Representative position—Michaela Grondin and Claire Stewart.

Grondin is a second-year student studying visual arts and history who is passionate about sailing and making the VIU campus as inclusive as possible. She plans to foster a sense of community by connecting students on multiple platforms and by promoting campus clubs and events.

Stewart is a third-year graphic design student who already has two years of experience working with the Students’ Union as the Faculty of Arts and Humanities Representative. Her plan is to use her experience to help students connect with the university and each other this year despite the hardships of 2020.

There is one student running for the Education Faculty Representative, and that is Omar Espinoza.

Espinoza is a third-year kinesiology student who is extremely passionate about leadership and collaborating with other students to achieve common goals. In his bio he states, “Running for this position, I believe we could still impact the quality of student life despite the obstacles. More than ever we need to stay connected and still realize that there is still hope.”

Fernando Moreno is the only student running for the Management Faculty Representative position.

Moreno is in his second year at VIU, and promises to represent students’ concerns and push the boundaries of what the school community represents. One of his main goals is to ensure students feel supported when navigating university and that everyone feels involved.

There are three students running for the Social Sciences Faculty Representative position—Olivia Dean-Falys, Kaila Wilkinson, and Nicole Congdon.

Dean-Falys promises to represent the social sciences with pride, honour, and success, and believes that understanding our own society and the disciplines within the social sciences begins with well-rounded, well-educated, and diverse individuals from a strong faculty, representing a strong school.

Wilkinson is a second-year student at VIU majoring in philosophy. Her main goal is to ensure students’ voices are heard and that the university environment is a safe and inclusive place for everyone.

Congdon is a third-year criminology major with a creative writing minor. Her goal is to help foster a sense of community between students and faculty/administration to make sure everyone has the information they need. In this new unprecedented learning environment, Congdon says it is more important than ever to ensure all students are included in the community and offered opportunities in ways that work best for everyone.

Jamie Johnstone is the only student running for the Trades and Applied Technology Representative position.

Johnstone hopes to help students and their programs reach their full potential, and has extensive representation experience as he competed on Team Canada in 2019.

There are four students running for the Members at Large position, which is a position that represents everyone. Students can elect up to two students. The candidates are Seth Recalma, Kurtis Johnstone, Brianna Hepner, and Mandii Hopkins.

Recalma is a fifth-year student who recently graduated from the Bachelor of Business Administration program at VIU. Recalma is an Indigenous youth with ties to the Namgis, Hesquiaht, and Qualicum First Nations, and through his time at VIU has acquired a passion for student engagement and co-curricular activities to enhance the student experience. “Being an advocate for our students is first and foremost for me, and the ability to create real change on our campuses for students is what I plan to do.”

Johnstone is a second-year exploratory studies student who is passionate about co-curricular, out-of-classroom learning and says he will strive to get students involved on campus whenever possible. “I really want to see change on our beautiful campus for the better, whether that be in the digital space through various campus community channels, or the physical space once we are back in person.”

Hepner is an English major in her first year of university at VIU, with the hopes of becoming a high school English teacher. As someone who was never involved in the high school community, she wants to change that in her first year at VIU. “I have always wanted to be a part of something, and this is the perfect opportunity for me to do so … I feel as though it will give me an opportunity to meet my peers and develop new relationships.”

Hopkins is a fourth-year criminology major, who has a desire to understand how VIUSU operates, and hopes to create an environment that allows students to feel welcome and comfortable. “For the past three years VIU has been like a second home for me, and I have been looking for a way to help others feel the same kind of connections that I feel when I am here.”

Francis Racy is the only student running for the Powell River Campus Representative position.

Racy is a second-year early childhood education and care student whose future goal is to bridge into a Bachelor of Social Work degree. “I would love to represent our wonderful campus and work to having us feel more connected to the other campuses. I know for myself I yearned for more of the feeling of university life and found not many opportunities to connect. Over the years I have learned to advocate for myself and would love to be an advocate for my fellow students here in Powell River.”

Emma Hender is the only student running for the Cowichan Campus Representative position.

Hender is in the Bachelor of Arts program and has been attending the Cowichan campus for the past two years. Hender says, “I am a hard worker, have a strong work ethic, positive and a team player … I will represent you 150 percent of the time.”

For a full bio of each candidate, visit the link in the email from VIU sent on Tuesday morning.

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