The Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS) is holding its annual elections for executive, representative, and senator positions. The online polling period for this election began on February 18. Below is a summary of the campaign platforms for each of the executive candidates.
Jamal Tarrabain is the current AUS Vice President Communications and is now running unopposed for President of AUS. One major part of Tarrabain’s campaign includes a commitment to transparency, with a promise to submit monthly reports of AUS activities to the major campus publications. He is also pledging to improve the sustainability of AUS by increasing the purview of the Arts Undergraduate Society Environmental Council (AUSec) and by working alongside the McGill administration to implement a more functional recycling program in the Leacock and Arts buildings. Tarrabain also promises accountability within the AUS, expressing that he wants to hear and address the concerns of all Arts departmental organizations. Tarrabain assures that if elected, he will work to make the AUS more supportive of all marginalized students, and his online platform promises to “prioritize solid team-dynamics and properly support my team to ensure that they can best represent you.”
Vice President Academic Candidates
Ananya Nair is running for VP Academic on a platform emphasizing accessibility, opportunity, inclusivity, mental health and well-being. She plans to push for professors to undergo training in order to create more accessible spaces on McGill campus. Nair also pledges to establish a mentoring program through the AUS to connect students with internship opportunities, as well as organizing a fair for jobs and summer internships available to all students. In terms of inclusivity, Nair plans to work with the First-Year Events, Academic, and Representative Council (FEARC) to implement programs to help incoming students adjust to life at McGill and get academic support. Her online platform also shows a commitment to improving student mental health, specifically in the exam period. She expresses a desire to help more students qualify for exam conflicts, stating: “renegotiating what constitutes as an academic conflict … would be one of my top priorities.”
Wing Wong is also a candidate for AUS VP Academic. In anticipation of the coming closure of the Schulich library, Wong’s online platform includes plans to potentially rearrange or reserve areas of the McLennan/Redpath Library complex in order to ensure maximum capacity. He is also committed to advocating for further changes in the McLennan library itself, including expanding areas that allow food, as well as those that allow audible conversation. If elected as VP Academic, Wong is interested in exploring alternatives to final exams that are worth very large portions of a student’s mark, stating “it is unreasonable to have a single evaluation that determines a student’s final grade, as even the best student makes mistakes sometimes.” Wong is also promising to appoint a diverse group of students to the various committees under the VP Academic’s portfolio.
Vice President Communications Candidate
Yoana Pehlyova is running unopposed for the position of VP Communications. One of Pehlyova’s main priorities outlined in her online platform is to use Arts Listservs and social media posts to try and foster community. She explained: “I see social media as a powerful tool in garnering greater outreach, exposure, and connectedness for groups within our faculty.” Part of this outreach includes a plan to grow the following of the AUS Instagram account, and use it for advertising opportunities and events relevant to Arts students. Pehlyova also pledges to work with groups on campus to keep Arts students in the know about any events related to career development or networking opportunities. Finally, she is interested in using the AUS’ social media platforms to entertain McGill students by showcasing fun or interesting individuals on campus, to help to boost morale among Arts students.
Vice President External Candidate
Darshan Daryanani is running for VP External of the AUS on a platform of “represent[ing] all McGill students in the Faculty of Arts; to promote our welfare and interests, and provide activities and services to enhance our educational, cultural, environmental and social conditions.” His main goals include increasing funding and resources for mental health services and fostering inclusivity within the faculty. Daryanani seeks to “enhance career and post-graduate prospects” for Arts students; encourage sponsorships and funding for things like bursaries, enhancing study-spaces, and mental health; and foster relationships between the AUS and across departments, faculties, and the broader community. Daryanani is passionate about extending the reach of the annual Career Planning Service (CaPS) event “Work Your BA,” and aims to add follow-up sessions where students can learn about graduate schools, work on their CVs, and practice for interviews.
Vice President Finance Candidate
Stefan Suvajac’s platform consists of improvements to the Arts Undergraduate Improvement Fund and innovations in Internal Financial Management. He plans to solicit feedback from various Arts departments and organizations to improve and encourage using the AUIF. Suvajac also aims to improve energy efficiency in future AUIF projects and promote carbon footprint reducing projects with the McGill Sustainability Fund. Further, he intends to promote Fine Arts at McGill by increasing funding allocation and promoting commissioning local artists. To improve Internal Financial Management, Suvajac aims to maximize prudence by ensuring AUS budgets fulfill their priorities, and that they are constructed with approved funds. He aims to use surplus funds more efficiently, reduce pollution by revising Frosh events, and prioritize pollution reduction in McGill’s Ethical Business Practices By-law. Suvajac hopes to draw on experiences as a CFO and Student Trustee of student organizations, as well as being an Associate Senator in the SSMU.
Vice President Internal Candidate
Maheen Akter’s platform encompasses four changes she hopes to make within the AUS. First, she aspires to provide greater support to departmental associations by making information about AUS services easily accessible, maintaining communication between departments, and giving guidance for sustainable and equitable event planning. Next, Akter aims to make more spaces available for the AUS and find cost-effective ways to revitalize and maintain the AUS lounge. Akter also wants to ensure that there is equity in AUS’ hiring practices. She hopes to work with stakeholders so that the AUS hires qualified and diverse candidates for important positions. Finally, she wants to build stronger AUSec and FEARC committees by helping them connect with other groups on campus. Akter believes that her previous experiences, including as an AUS Equity Commissioner and Residence Life Facilitator, have provided her with a framework that she can apply to the VP Internal position.
Vice President Social Candidate
Kim Yang’s platform aims to improve social life by reforming Frosh, BDA, the Events Planning and Involvement Committee (EPIC), and the Grad Ball. Yang’s plans for reforming frosh aim to improve staff training and hiring processes, promote sustainability, and reduce the price. She also plans to improve Frosh-oriented communication prior to registration and to promote Forum and Plage, two unexpectedly popular events this past summer. Yang’s proposed changes for BDA include exploring new partnerships, phasing out plastic cups, and promoting new methods for coat check and line efficiency. Through EPIC, Yang plans to introduce care packages for exam season, a Frosh-like Boat Cruise during the academic year, and events with non-profit organizations. She intends to improve the Grad Ball by making ticket selling efficient and accessible for graduating Arts and Science students. Finally, she plans to work with other executives to expand the events bursary and unite AUS departments with faculty networking events.
Candidates for Arts Representative and Arts Senator
The students running for the three Arts Representative positions are Andrew Chase, Adin Chan, Ariana Kaye, Gabriel Ahmad, Ruofan Wang, and Shreya Dandamudi.
There are also two Arts Senator positions, and the students on the ballot will be Chloe Kemeni, Chlöe Shahinian, Henrique Mecabô, Iyanu Soyege, and Lauren Jelinek.
The AUS Elections campaign period ended on February 15, and polling is from February 18-20.