If elected, would you change anything about the Health and Dental plan next year?
Al Turnbull, president: The big thing we’d like to change, and improve upon, is we want to increase the speed, and expedite the process for students that want to get out of the plan. We’re definitely not changing the plan, it’s a better plan for sure, we just want to improve upon it with easier opt-outs.
What do you see as UMSU’s primary role or responsibility within the university?
Rebecca Kunzman, VP advocacy: Obviously given that UMSU regulates a good majority of the student activities on campus, improving the student experience I think is one of the largest roles of UMSU, as well as advocating on students’ behalf both within the university and three levels of government.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing U of M students today?
Christian Pierce, VP external: I think the top reason most people go to university is to get employment, to get a career. So I think that would be the biggest thing. That’s part of my policy platform; I do intend to hold workshops, I want people to know how to write a resume, I want people to know how to be prepared for an interview. Maybe you need to prepare in your first year, for that job at the end of the fourth year. We think students need to get involved earlier and start thinking about the job market and how that will affect the decisions they make when they go to school.
Are you happy with the $260 U-Pass the city of Winnipeg has approved? How would you approach U-Pass dealings next year?
CP: I would like to see it happen, but only if the students want it and only when the students are informed about each side. I’m going to say it’s a lot cheaper than buying a monthly bus pass, but there won’t be any opt-outs and I want the students to decide. I would like to have some online voting for it, too. If only 20 per cent of people are voting on it, it could all just be the transit riders, so I want to make sure everyone has a chance to read the information and vote.
If you were to find yourself having to work with members from other slates in the upcoming year, how would you handle that?
Jeremiah Kopp, VP internal: We’ve had great interactions with the other teams in this election. I’ve got a lot of respect for the other slates and they bring great ideas to the table. It’s always easier to work with people who you already have a working relationship with. I’m running with this team because I believe in the excellence and the effectiveness of each of the Refresh candidates, but I think if there was a split, which I don’t think there would be, but if there was, I would look forward to working with whoever the students elect.
How would you ensure that you were aware of students’ concerns, and responsive to them?
JK: Being engaged with the student population is crucial for any executive, as a whole and individually. It’s all of our jobs to make sure that we’re interacting with students as much as possible. All of us are very involved with every aspect of the university: we go to every event possible, every student group meeting possible, we interact with the various faculties, so I would say there are very few people who have a better sense of what the students want and have their finger on the pulse quite the way that we do.
What would you do for orientation Week next fall?
Daria Lukie, VP student services: I couldn’t imagine coming to school and not having a significant Orientation Week, or a Frosh Festival [ . . . ] Making it more of a week-long orientation with events and a nice big concert at the end. So Orientation Week would be more active, with more events going on throughout the week.
What kind of leadership should a president bring to UMSU?
AT: I think that they need to be non-partisan in the sense that they’re servicing all the members. I think they do need to have some experience: I was the arts senior stick before this; I was also the athletic [inaudible] senior stick before this. They have to be approachable to all students, and they have to be able to put in the time. I think it’s a huge time commitment, and you have to want to do it, too. You legitimately want to have to work for students. I think those are qualities that an UMSU president needs to have: a lot of time, a lot of passion, and accessibility to all students.
UMSU businesses have done very well in the last month. what would you like to see done with those revenues?
JK: The students union exists to service the students, in whatever way that may be. So money that results from the profits we’re seeing at the Hub and Degrees, and other student businesses, it needs to be reinvested for the students in the businesses and in student services.
How would you ensure that the u of m is a safe, accessible, and welcoming place for all students?
RK: I think with anything that is to be accomplished at the university, for it to have a large scale and noticeable effect, there need to be partnerships made and partnerships with other offices on campus that are already doing a great job of working towards that. Making sure we work with those bodies to not only help expand and sponsor their resources, and promote our resources to them so everyone knows what’s going on, everyone is on the same page when it comes to improving the accessibility of the university, making sure it’s an inclusive space. As well as making sure students are aware of them and know that they exist and they can use them.
What kinds of events and activities would you like to see more of campus next year? Less of?
CP: We want to introduce Frost Week. We’ll do Celebration Week, but we’ll call it Frost Week. We’ll keep the speakers, but it’ll be a little more Festival du Voyageur-like, and embrace the Winterpeg [moniker]. We don’t really have a winter orientation. By the time you have Celebration Week you’re already three weeks in, and you already have exams. I want students to feel welcome back to campus, and students who are just arriving to feel welcome to campus.
How would you communicate UMSU campaigns to students?
DL: Promotions and networking, that’s my specialty. So the biggest thing is more collaboration with
student groups. That’s my mantra for next year. The biggest one would be getting the U of M app more traffic and having general events posted on it so people would know what’s going down on campus. So having one place to go for every event and you can find out what events are going on.