On January 29, candidates for the Management Undergraduate Society’s (MUS) incoming Board of Directors convened to share their platforms. In addition, candidates also had the opportunity to field questions from the two moderators, MUS President Brooke Callaghan and MUS Vice-President Communications Amanda Beaumont. Below are the candidates for each position along with summaries of their platform highlights.
Minalou Kunze-Roelens believes that she is an ideal candidate to represent the MUS on the SSMU Legislative Council. Her campaign is based on three pillars: interdisciplinary opportunity and involvement; transparency, collaboration, and alignment; and mental health. On the importance of working with other faculties at McGill, Kunze-Roelens emphasized that “in a world where we are kind of expected to be jacks-of-all-trades, there is tremendous value in learning from other faculties.” If elected, she would work to bring inter-faculty opportunities to the MUS, keep the Desautels community informed on matters relevant to all McGill students, and build on already-existing mental health initiatives that serve the MUS.
Michael Di Georgio would use the SSMU representative role to improve resources for vulnerable groups within the MUS, specifically students who rely on notes from the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) and those who seek help from the McGill Wellness Hub. Citing the OSD’s decision to no longer reimburse note-takers and the long wait times for counseling appointments, Di Georgio stressed that these obstacles unfairly prevent students who use these services from succeeding. To mitigate these problems, he first aims to have the SSMU reinstate compensation for note-takers. He also hopes to encourage the SSMU to enlist social workers during stressful exam seasons so that “at the end of the day, people can get an appointment with someone who can help them in some way.”
Noah Gundermann emphasized reasonable SSMU student fees as one of his campaign points. If elected, he would support SSMU fees that benefit students, while working to combat “nonsensical” or non-opt-outable fees and fee increases. He also wants to promote SSMU opportunities to the MUS, acknowledging that “there’s a stereotype that the MUS is pretty much detached from the SSMU.” To this point, Gundermann feels that “it would be a shame if you spent your three or four years at McGill without knowing that you could expand your horizons and try new things” outside of Desautels. Gundermann would therefore use the Representative role to help Management students better understand what the SSMU can offer them and voice their concerns to the SSMU.
Tianshi Yuan promises to prioritize listening to students’ voices if elected as SSMU Representative. He prefaced his platform by asking: “What do the students need to know, what do the students want, and what are their needs?” In regards to transparency and communication, Yuan would make sure to inquire about how SSMU policies specifically affect Management students and communicate this information to his constituents. He also wants to engage MUS students in person and through social media in order to gauge what Management students actually want. Finally, he plans to fight for Management students’ needs by voicing their opinions and advocating for them on both the MUS and SSMU levels.
Joshua Levy believes that his previous involvement in the MUS has given him an awareness of students’ concerns and the skills necessary to support the Bronfman community. If elected as MUS senator, Levy wants to be an approachable presence on campus with whom students feel comfortable sharing ideas. When asked what he thinks is the biggest problem facing the MUS, Levy responded that students have valuable opinions, but are often complacent when it comes to finding solutions; according to Levy, this is because students do not see that there are avenues available for creating change. He therefore aims to “make sure that [students] really know that there is someone there to actually voice their opinions, and there are actually ways and people to change things.”
Krishna Uttamchandani outlined his plan to improve the Management faculty, starting with stronger inter-faculty cooperation. He asserted his belief that “the best way for our faculty to prosper is by making sure that McGill as a whole prospers.” As MUS senator, he would advocate for ideas that would benefit McGill as a whole, in order to establish mutual respect among faculties and help push the MUS agenda. Uttamchandani would also propose more leisure and dining options near Bronfman as well as a fall reading week, and would seek the Senate’s support to make these initiatives a reality. Overall, he is excited about the possibility of representing Management students as an agent of change.
Elan Eisner presented a three-pronged platform that encompasses mental health and wellness, financial responsibility, and improvements to career services. Having spearheaded the MUS Wellness Week campaign, Eisner’s main priority would be mental health. He believes that mental wellness is crucial for dealing with the specific stresses that Management students face, such as balancing career recruitment with academics and extracurriculars. If elected, Eisner would work with the faculty to ensure that its wellness services are impactful and would push for the SSMU to implement online counseling. He maintained that “if we want to be talking about involvement and making sure that students are able to get involved, we need to make sure that they’re okay first.”
Jonathan Gurvey is campaigning on three pillars: creating institutional memory, increasing organizational transparency, and increasing financial flexibility. To Gurvey, establishing institutional memory is necessary for implementing long-term change within an organization. Addressing the turnover within governing bodies as the biggest problem facing the MUS, he seeks to create a Vice-President Sustainability position. This Executive would ensure the fulfillment of the MUS’ long-term goals, because “there’s always that learning gap that we have to deal with every year, and implementing this position would be great for overcoming that gap.” This Executive’s efforts would allow the MUS to establish precedent, learn from the past, and benefit future Management students.
Arielle Lok is hoping to get re-elected to the Board of Directors after serving as the U0 Representative this past year, with a focus on mental health support, communication, and advocacy. She cited her familiarity with the MUS and the SSMU policies as a strength when it comes to her ongoing advocacy and communication. As for support, Lok would push for the Board to create a wellness program not only for those affected by mental illness, but also those who want to learn how to best support others. She concluded, “honestly, it’s hard for people to reach out to others when they need help, but it’s not hard to reach out to people by yourself and take the first step.”
David Fishman noted that his top priority as U1 Representative would be first-year involvement. He sees his time on the First Year Involvement Team as incredibly impactful, but acknowledges that many first-year students are unable to get involved. As for the second-year students that he may represent, Fishman reflected, “a big issue that I discovered is that people who are not involved in their first year lose hope in ever having an active role in the MUS. This is a belief that needs to be changed in order to have a stronger and more diverse faculty.” If elected, Fishman would avidly promote involvement opportunities for first and second year U1 students.
Sonam Levasseur is running on a platform that includes more microwaves, additional food options in Bronfman, and a fall reading week. When asked about what problems he believes the MUS faces, he stated that “the main concern I have for the MUS is mental health… so this is why one point on my platform is a fall study break week, because it would actually help students to relax and de-stress.” Despite the challenges of implementing a fall reading week, Levasseur aims to continue exploring this possibility. In terms of student engagement, Levasseur expressed that he is an approachable person that his constituents can reach out to with any concerns.
Will Wang plans to focus on attainable goals if elected as U2 Representative, such as contributing to Wellness Week and legitimizing open positions within the MUS. He addressed the difficulties of getting involved in the MUS, as there are few positions available in groups like the First Year Involvement Team for large incoming classes. Those who are not accepted for these limited positions “end up getting demoralized. They come in to Desautels, get cut off from this right away, and they get discouraged from applying later on.” Wang asserts that giving students more opportunities at the outset will encourage them to remain involved in the MUS.
Matthieu Kamwa believes that he embodies the characteristics needed to excel as U3 Representative, particularly given his extensive prior involvement in the MUS Finance, Events, and Corporate Relations portfolios. If elected, he would maintain a strong commitment to fiscal responsibility by combating issues pertaining to reimbursements, budgeting, and financial support for clubs. When it comes to student life, Kamwa wants to increase mental health training and promote channels for communication to drive discussion, especially between constituents and the Board. He concluded, “I will always represent my year, inside and outside of Bronfman.”
Tim Radzhapov broke his platform into short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals. For the short-term, Radzhapov wants to increase awareness and outreach by improving communication channels on social media. Next, he plans to foster transparency and accountability within the MUS if he is elected. He acknowledged that there is a lot of gray area in regards to MUS governance, so he would make sure that constituents know who their representatives are and who to contact with particular concerns. Lastly, Radzhapov’s long-term goal is to work with IT Services to introduce an online system for room bookings.
Elections will be held from January 30 to February 3, and all undergraduate Desautels students are encouraged to vote for their MUS Board of Directors.