Engineering Society debate addresses financial sustainability

Candidates discussed finances, improving opportunities for students

Image supplied by: By Nicole Langfield
EngSoc VPSA candidate Emily Wiersma

The Engineering Society (EngSoc) saw its executive candidates gather in the ILC atrium on Jan. 23 to respond to student questions about their experience, platform and vision for the society if elected.

Out of all the executive positions — President, Vice President (Student Affairs) and Vice President (Operations) — only the VPOPs position is being contested in the 2018-19 EngSoc elections.


Carson Cook, Sci ’19 — the sole candidate running for President — delivered opening statements focused on the experiences separating Engineering students from the rest of the student body.

He said he was interested in preserving the traditions at Queen’s that give EngSoc its reputation. Specifically, he wanted to continue the Orientation Week activities which have come to be defining moments for many Engineering students.

“They’re an issue as a whole in the Engineering Society, [and] that yearly turnover is probably our biggest weakness,” he said.

Cook said he would prioritize improving training programs so that new employees could start the year off better prepared. As a result, he wants people to be equipped to make each year’s transition easier.

Vice President (Operations)

As the only contested position, the VPOPS candidates received the most questions at the debate, ranging from the expansion of Clark Hall to the best quality of each service in EngSoc.

Behshid Behrouzi, Sci ’20, said she would focus on making the society as financially sustainable as possible.            

“We need to make sure that we don’t go into the red for any of our services over the next year,” she said.

She also highlighted the need for the society to remain as profitable as possible while remaining a not-for-profit.

Behrouzi’s opponent – Liam Tharpe, Sci ’19 –  said despite bringing less EngSoc experience to the position than Behrouzi, his summers spent in the private sector at engineering firms have prepared him for the role.

He highlighted his experience working on accounts with budgets of over a million dollars, which would translate well to the nature of the position.

Tharpe’s statements focused on the need for the position to remain as accountable as possible in order to be transparent for the students in Engineering.

He added he wants to enable students to get as much real world experience before they graduate as possible. Tharpe believes an expansion of the EngLinks services – which provide free educational workshops and resources to students – would be a great way to start doing this.

Vice President (Student Affairs)

Emily Wiersma, Sci ’19, is the sole candidate running for VPSA. She said her experience in the society stretches back to her first year at school, and has continued in her position as current Director of Human Resources. This position has helped her to understand the wants and needs of Engineering students, Wiersma said.

Her main goal is to ensure that the students in Engineering always have representation in broader issues on campus. A priority of hers, too, is to continue to give students the academic and extracurricular opportunities that make the Engineering experience at Queen’s as one-of-a-kind as possible.

The voting for the Engineering Society elections happens from Jan. 29 to 30, with the results announced Jan. 30 in Clark Hall.


debate, Engineering, EngSoc

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