Candidate Soapbox Desperately Needs Recycling
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Candidate Soapbox Desperately Needs Recycling

Candidate Soapbox Desperately Needs Recycling

The soapbox is intended to give the candidates a chance to sell themselves to a room full of undecided voters. Given that all of the attendees were campaign shirt wearers, the event can best be described as #QandA-esque democracy. This is what your candidates for Union board had to say.

Tiff Alexander was short, sharp and to the point, Tiff presented herself as a student who struggled socially until becoming involved with C&S. Now, she wants to give that experience to other students. Likeable and well-connected, she is a viable candidate.

Marco Avena is a more typical student activist, would use his position on Board to pursue environmental justice. He also articulated his passion for making student housing affordable. Mon Droit questions whether someone who has been arrested and publicly boasts of this fact is an appropriate leader and representative of the general student body.

Eden Caceda pitched himself as the candidate with the most experience with the Union and claimed to be politically unaffiliated (as SASS has never been used for political gain). He sold himself as a progressive, independent leader. When approached by Mon Droit, Eden expressed frustration at the lack of interest in the union, although anyone could have told you that looking at the dissipating crowd at Manning. Eden’s affiliation with the Arts faculty has led to an almost exclusive focus upon them, drawing his campaign efforts into question.

Jermaine Craig is the most ‘normal’ student of the cohort, with actually no political affiliation and a genuine interest in improving the C&S program. He floated the idea of free breakfast on campus. While his normality gives him legitimacy, we are yet to see ‘Big J’ out on the hustings.

Kerrod Gream appeared at the podium with a beer in-hand. Kerrod advocates for entrepreneurial incentives and business partnering, wanting to ‘launch’ students into life after university as effectively as possible. However, these sensible policies were neutralised by the beer skolling. We are not sure that his 2am beer video is yet to win over many voters.

Lamisse Hamouda is the typical diversity candidate that wants to serve as a voice for minority groups on campus. In her own words, she has a broader vision than the typical role of a Board director; her aim is to encourage cultural change on campus. Whether this is the first priority of most students on campus is debatable, but then again, ‘most students’ don’t vote. Tailoring her campaign towards minority groups raises questions as to whether she would be truly acting in the interest of all students when most progressive candidates and Board directors are already advocating for this.

Shannon Potter is the resident Taylor Swift fangirl. She stated she wants to pursue progressive change (even though, technically speaking, that’s not much of a change) while on Union board. She has previously been involved with events for women and has contributed to on-campus magazines. She particularly struggled when faced with questions surrounding her newfound devotion to SLS, however she claims that her agenda was already in-line with theirs – this smells a bit too much like factional opportunism to us. Poor Jack.

Atia Rahim’s speech was rather vague and less coherent than the other candidates. Like Eden, she wants the board to engage with more students. Her main pitch was to have a healthier campus, including free sexual health check-ups and healthy food. Regarding the union’s finances, Atia says that since there is more money, now is the time to make big ideas happen. Kevin Rudd said similar things in 2007 and look how that turned out.

Michael Rees, Honi Soit editor last year, spoke engagingly and intelligibly. His main focus points are bike hire on campus and revamping the international student program, both of which would have tangible impacts on student life. The “Harry Potter” of the election will fair well with his popular shirt designs and cross-faculty support.

George Tamm says he owes a lot to the Union and appears determined that the Union should help everyone. His ideas are aimed at student well-being. Whether these ideas will manifest into solid policy remains to be seen. He promoted ideas such as a USU Cookbook and 24/7 Coffee on Campus. Georg’s ideas seem to be further away from realism than his perception of his campaigners as monkeys. The broad and vague policy platform for people to get “curious” coupled with his previous failure makes his candidacy questionable.

Chris Waugh seems to be the engineer who’s in it for a good laugh. While entertaining, Chris doesn’t really have policies to speak of. The way his care-free campaign differs to his twelve competitors is inversely proportional to how many students give a shit about student elections.

Jack Whitney came to the podium with a standard feel-good, student-well-being-focused-with-sustainability-thrown-in message. He emphasised that the Union is not for profit and should act accordingly. Policies such as courtesy bus for drunk students and cheaper groceries featured. Environment and student welfare were his target issues. Jack’s seemingly ambitious agenda is quite run of the mill for the USU and puts Jack two steps back.

Jen Zin said in her speech that the Union was already progressive and inclusive and that it now needs to focus on being responsible and representative. She also seems to know that life exists on the other side of City Road, so a Science Week was her big pitch. Jen was thrown a question on VSU and how that would interplay with her political affiliation. She made a point of her main objective being empowering student choice and fostering an overall better experience for students at Uni.

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