Compiled by Leah Ching and Rob Furlong
Harly Di Bundu
What qualifies you for the position of President? My experience as a student. I’ve been here four years, I know what students like and don’t like. I also think I can utilize my strengths and skills to create a mutually beneficial environment between the students and the faculty.
What is your experience working in an organization such as LUSU? What have your contributions been to the student union in the past? I’ve worked with AFCASA a number of times, so I’ve gained some experience through that. Although I haven’t worked directly with LUSU and may not have as much experience as my competition through being a part of the student community, I do participate in events and I have had a chance to see the ups and downs of what students want to see in terms of change. I want to make Lakehead a better environment.
If elected, what are three things you’d like to accomplish during your term? I surveyed some women on campus and one concern among women who go to the gym is that they don’t feel welcome in that environment. It is a male dominated space and there are some who would prefer a time where it allows just women to go to the gym, workout, and feel safe in that space. Another concern is better organization and resources for first years. Many first years don’t know how to pick courses and may be afraid to ask for help. I would like to put together a first year course pack so they don’t need to worry about what courses they need to take and don’t accidently take the wrong courses. The third thing is transparency. Not many people know what’s going on with LUSU and students want to know where our money is going. LUSU has almost $2 million dollars they haven’t spent. Those funds came from students and it’s not being spent on students. LUSU is a not-for-profit organization and that money needs to be spent on students. We can put more funding towards events and activities that will support all students. More money could be put into bursaries for international students whose fees are extremely high, so I want a program to support them. We also need to put more funding into the food bank. Some students can’t afford to feed themselves between books and other expenses. The food bank already offers a free meal once in a while but if we have it on a more regular basis it could bring the students together and create a better sense of community. Who wants to learn on an empty stomach? As students, we want services that will support us when we’re down, which is what LUSU is all about. It’s by students, for students, to help make school an easier route.
Any further remarks? I want to wish everyone good luck. They are all very strong and intelligent individuals and I’m sure whoever wins is going to do a good job and I wish them the best of luck.
What qualifies you for the position for which you are running? I am the current President of LUSU and my experience as President will be incredibly valuable if I am elected for a second term. It takes approximately six months to learn how to do this job well. I’ve been through that already. Instead of spending time learning how to do this job, I will be able to focus on delivering results. My background is in leadership and team-building. The Union is a large and complex organization. No President can do it on their own, you need to recruit talented people and listen to them. A lot of people come into these roles and they think they have to know everything; an effective leader is someone who has the courage to ask for help. Building strong relationships is important to me, within the organization and outside of it. I’ve built trust all over the place.
What is your experience working in LUSU? What have your contributions been to the student union?
The entire team has accomplished a lot this year, it has been non-stop action. When you have a one year term, you feel the pressure to get things done and deliver results for students. Some highlights are:
- a plan to get an additional $280,000 into student financial aid.
- initiating the first brand review in the history of LUSU.
- Assistance from the President of the University on student lead initiatives.
- Negotiating the price of the Upass from $276 to $102, and a strategy for a long term deal to keep our Upass plan the best in Canada, with Transit users saving approximately $800 a year.
- Pushing the Ontario Minister of Finance and the Minister of Training, Colleges, and Universities to put International Students back on OHIP, a move that would save international students $700-$2000 per year.
- a plan to improve student representation in University decision by opening up professional development opportunities for students through a course called 3519: Students in University Governance to give student representatives training and a half-credit for their work.
If elected, what are three things you’d like to accomplish during your term?
Way more than three things, but here are three issues I think are important.
- Orillia and Thunder Bay must work together to improve student input in University decision making. The 3519 class would not exist without Orillia. I’ve been to Orillia twice this year and it is really great, better communication between the campuses is needed.
- We need a breakfast program at Lakehead. Food bank usage is up 25%. We have students who cannot afford to eat. We need to address food insecurity on campus.
- The Student Union needs to work with clubs and student organizations to help them achieve their objectives. We need to break down the barriers that exist between faculties and different groups, and build community.
Any further remarks? Don’t be shy! I really love hearing from students. If you want to know more, find me on Facebook. I think we have done a really good job this year and with another term I think we can knock it out of the park. Thank you for taking the time to read this and engage with the election process. These are the biggest LUSU elections I’ve seen, we are building a movement and our entire campus is becoming more politically active than ever.
What qualifies you for the position of President? I have spent the last four years working as a Varsity Marketing Development Officer for Lakehead University Athletics. Through this position I have created contacts among members of university administration, and members of the community.
What is your experience working in an organization such as LUSU? What have your contributions been to the student union in the past? While I haven’t been directly involved with LUSU, I have worked alongside the organization in regards to getting students out to Athletics events and in organizing and directing Varsity Madness.
If elected, what are three things you’d like to accomplish during your term?
Over the past four years as a student at Lakehead University, I have watched as LUSU has repeatedly failed to put students first. This is why I believe change is needed. I believe in creating a Student Union that works for you, the students.
- Student Dialogue: As a student, I know that there are many issues that you may encounter throughout the school year. These issues can add unnecessary stress to one’s life, and lead to further problems down the road. If elected as president, I promise that I will operate with an “open-door” policy. No matter the student’s problem, big or small, I promise that I will make time to sit down with you and see how LUSU can help. I want to make sure that your voice is heard.
- LUSU Operated Facilities: I have heard from many of you personally that The Outpost fails to be the pub that it has the potential to be. We have all seen this scenario unfold on numerous occasions; you and your friends go out on Tuesday to enjoy a few cold tankards, and to your dismay the Outpost has run out of beer by 11:30pm. This is unacceptable for any pub, much less one run by LUSU. It is disappointing that this has become a reoccurring situation at The Outpost. If elected, I promise that a full-scale review will be undertaken, and by September 2016 you will no longer be let down by The Outpost Campus Pub.
- Athletics: Throughout the last year, I have been performing information sessions as part of the student committee for ‘Building Lakehead’s Future’. Through my time on the committee I have heard from you, my fellow students, that you strongly believe in athletics and that Lakehead University’s current facilities are failing to meet your needs. If elected as president, I will continue to work with the ‘Building Lakehead’s Future’ committee to bring a new state-of-the-art Student Recreation Facility to Lakehead.
Any further remarks? The great thing about LU is the atmosphere. I’ve never been to another university in which there is such a level of familiarity amongst students. To be able to walk down a hallway and simply have other students recognize you and give you a smile is wondrous, and truly unprecedented thing at a university.
I’m from Cambridge originally but have become very happy with my life here in Thunder Bay. I’m 24 years old and will be graduating with a major in Earth Sciences soon. Since my first year, I’ve enjoyed being involved with the student union as a volunteer.
After volunteering for four years I was elected to the position of Vice-President of Advocacy for two years. Volunteering was a great stepping stone to becoming the VPA. I have been the VPA for the past two years. I have attended meetings of the Canadian Federation of Students and contributed greatly to the policy coming out of those meetings. All this has given me a great deal of knowledge and institutional memory.
As the VPA I was able to help student in need. It’s confidential work and often goes unnoticed, but rewarding nonetheless. I oversaw the implementation of a new club application as a resource to our many student clubs. I encouraged collaboration wherever possible; with clubs, centers, residence, athletics, departments, faculties, other student unions and within the city of Thunder Bay. I have organized events that have been very well received, such as orientation, club days, community controllers, Easter egg hunts, etc…
The VPA position has given me a clear understanding of what can and cannot be accomplished within a year. Now that I see exactly what LUSU needs to succeed I want to be in a position that allows me to direct LUSU there. LUSU needs to look internally at the services it offers to students and make changes that will allow us to offer more.
To avoid sounding like a politician with empty and ambiguous promises I’ll go into some details. I’ll be looking at the President’s and Vice-President’s positions at LUSU and making changes to the roles and responsibilities so that we can do more to serve students effectively. I’ll be going out into the community and bringing opportunities back to the students. I will be using the connections that I have made with other student unions to address the issue of high tuition together.
When students go to the polls they should consider voting for a president that leads from experience and brings the change we need.