September 29, 2020

BY LAURIE SNELL

If you’re passionate about the college community and eager to represent the student body, running for Conestoga Students Inc. president might be for you.

Nominations for the election opened Jan. 10, and application packages need to be submitted by Jan. 31.

With the selection meeting Feb. 8, students interested in running are required to meet with primary electoral officer Sheena Witzel before the application deadline.

“In the pre-candidate meeting we’re going to go over what happens during the selection meeting. So I’m going to tell them how many students and how many board members will be asking questions and what to prepare for their 15-minute speech. I just want to make sure they have a good understanding of what will happen the day of, on Feb. 8,” Witzel said.

“I do have four applications handed in so far … most of them are completely random students from the student body.”

This one-year, full-time paid position provides the successful candidate with leadership experience as he or she acts as the spokesperson for the student body. The position pays about $40,000 and begins this May.

The president is responsible for attending meetings and joining committees as a representative of students.

While there was some uncertainty as to whether or not current CSI president Jason Wright would run, he confirmed last week, “I have submitted a package – whether or not that package will be followed through with at this point in time – we’ll see. My intent at this point in time is to run as CSI president, but I am weighing out some options – but it is something I want to pursue again.” Wright said he planned on finalizing his decision by Jan. 26 (which was after Spoke’s press deadline).

Two candidates who have already thrown their hat into the ring are Hayley Press and Zoey Ross. Press is the current vice chair on the CSI board of directors and is currently completing a public relations program at Conestoga.

“I’m on the board of directors right now – I love it. I love what CSI does, and I think that we definitely try to make student life better and improve it the best we can. We really try to get student feedback … I like that there’s a voice for the students and I like that students are able to be that voice for themselves,” Press said.

“I like to interact with students and really get their voice heard … generally, communication is key – whether it’s internally or externally, with the students it’s obviously very important that they know what’s going on … I’m putting a lot of work into this, so I’m hoping that CSI gets the president they deserve, who will do the right thing for the organization and for the students … I have such a passion for this and leadership as a whole. I’m inspired by students on a daily basis and the organization.”

Ross has been busy making presentations about his candidacy in classrooms and has been seen wearing sandwich boards as part of his campaign. Ross, a former board member and follower of CSI events, said he plans on bringing greater accountability and transparency to CSI, and is excited about this election.

“I think I could be the change this college needs … I have both educational and leadership training outside this. I have experience with customer service, and a lot of people will point to my experience on the board of directors in 2011-2012 as sustainability director,” Ross said, as he walked the hallways wearing a sign urging students to ask him anything.

“I want to hear what (the students) have to say … every time someone tells me what they want me to change, I write it down.”

So who determines the winner? You – sort of.

Current students who pay fees and can commit to attending the selection meeting that will determine the winner, are invited to join the democratic process. Students who participate as a member of the presidential selection committee will hear speeches and campaign platforms on Feb. 8 and determine the next CSI president.

For more information on getting involved, contact presidential electoral officer Sheena Witzel at switzel@conestogac.on.ca or stop by the CSI office.

Leave a Reply