Engineering Society (EngSoc) executive candidates congregated in the ILC Atrium on Jan. 25 to debate for elected positions with Engineering students watching.
Candidates for president, vice-president (student affairs) (VPSA) and new vice-president (finance and administration) (VPFA) are running uncontested. Candidates for vice-president (operations) (VPOPS) and junior senator are running contested.
All the candidates discussed their platforms and took questions. The main theme was improving engagement and moving the Society forward.
Students can vote in the EngSoc election from Jan. 30 to 31.
Presidential candidate Aidan Shimizu, Sci ’23, opened by presenting his platform, experiences, and passion for the EngSoc presidency.
Shimizu began by painting the audience a picture of his experiences at Queen’s and within EngSoc, through multiple leadership opportunities, charity endeavors, and recovery from a brain injury.
“EngSoc—I truly believe this—helped me recover from [my] brain injury. My directorship gave me a purpose, a raîson d’être, which is essential to concussion recovery,” Shimizu said.
His platform largely revolves around giving back to EngSoc.
Shimizu’s campaign pillars are accelerated involvement, maximize retention, effective academic advocacy, evaluate and optimize the structure of EngSoc, and inspire innovation.
Shimizu believes Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigeneity (EDII) should be a component of every pillar, not separate from other presidential responsibilities.
Shimizu embedded a foundation of communication to his platform, where he said he values personal connection with everyone at Queen’s, not just within EngSoc.
When asked about dealing with team management and conflict, Shimizu emphasized his commitment to communication and valuing personal connections with the student body and his colleagues. Shimizu outlined a model where he forms personal connection and communication lines with everyone to create a welcoming atmosphere.
When asked about the time commitment and qualifications for the role, Shimizu did not hesitate to outline multiple forms of involvement in EngSoc. He highlighted the skills those experiences have given him, which includes time management.
Shimizu emphasized building connections and external relations, and letting people know they can approach him with anything, even unrelated to EngSoc.
“To me, engineers are problem solvers, innovators, [and] planners, but most importantly, engineers are leaders, and these are the qualities I want to bring forth as your next [EngSoc] President.”
Vice-president (finance and administration)
Vice-presidential (finance and administration) candidate Monique Wun, Sci ’25, was second to outline her platform and give opening remarks.
She highlighted key points in her campaign and said she wants to leave a lasting impact on EngSoc and its financial structure.
“The financial system is the basis for all operations for clubs, conferences, design teams, as well as regular events in [EngSoc],” Wun said.
With a background taking Commerce courses, Wun feels she is the best candidate for the job. She said she has plans to improve systems across the Society, including increasing accessibility by receiving student input on hiring, IT, and the EngSoc experience.
“Having a diverse group of individuals influences positive change.”
Wun is willing to listen to the student body so she can work on the side of things that’s not seen in the public eye. Her hope is the front-facing services can focus on the Engineering experience.
To close, Wun emphasized wanting to unite the Engineering community as one.
Vice-president (student affairs)
Vice-presidential (student affairs) candidate Sophia Thurston, Sci ’25, started off the night with her opening statements. Her platform encompasses social events, networking, accessibility, and information consolidation.
She emphasized information consolidation to streamline information for Engineering students and alleviate stress, particularly within the transition from first to second year.
“I haven’t really seen anything quite like that, arguably anywhere at Queen’s. It will entail what to send to landlords when booking a showing, what to look for in roommates, red flags in landlords,” Thurston said
According to her, these documents will include other hard-to-find information such as finances, taxes, insurance, and medical information.
When asked about experiences relevant to the position, Thurston outlined roles she felt would help her in this position.
When asked about how EDII will fit into her portfolio, Thurston said it should be embedded into every role within EngSoc.
After being asked about conflict resolution by the audience, Thurston said she would settle on a plan of action, doing her best to see the plan through.
Vying for one of the contested positions, candidates Jacob Badali, Sci ’25, and David Atchison, Sci ’25, engaged in debate for the vice-president (operations) position.
Atchison opened the debate by outlining his passion for analytics and efficiency, stating his overarching goal is to streamline processes and purchasing within EngSoc. He’s excited to improve accessibility to services and optimize many of the products.
Badali outlined his goals to streamline some of the processes and services. He included experiences he’s had within EngSoc, including super-section head and Sci ’25 president.
His platform outlines increasing student engagement through visibility and increasing services, and opportunities for marginalized groups in the Engineering community.
The first question candidates received surrounded time management. Both candidates expressed experience in other roles both in and outside of school, which have helped them develop time-management skills.
Badali said he will be diligent to not overcommit, and to lean on support to ensure responsibilities are being met. Later in the debate, Badali said he will aim to work alongside the engagement committee to best use his time.
Atchison credits calendar apps, along with his experiences as a TA, and other outside working experience which he said helped develop necessary time-management skills.
Both candidates emphasized strong hiring, hoping to increase engagement and build community through the portfolio. They also both described a commitment to EDII, claiming it should be embedded into all the work in which EngSoc facilitates.
Atchison believes EngSoc should be a home for everyone and will strive to create a welcoming environment. He believes everyone should have someone to look up to within EngSoc.
Badali outlined his belief in having as many ideas and opinions represented as possible to obtain the best result. He proposed increasing networking events for marginalized students throughout Orientation.
“The best opinions and the best decisions come from the most diverse team,” Badali said.
Bruce Cao’s, Sci ’26, platform has two pillars: updating traditions for Engineering students and ensuring mental health is always on the docket.
“I believe that it’s really important for all of us to not only maintain our mental health, but also nurture it,” Cao said.
Cao claimed his time management skills make him a good fit for the role and promised to cover meeting agendas ahead of time to be up to date.
“[I will] plan ahead what I’m going to cover in a meeting, as well as organize with other members, so everyone is on the same page and won’t waste time going over anything.”
If chosen as a Senate representative, Cao wants to make academic changes, and encourages professors to record their lectures to improve the accessibility of course content to students who are unwell and do not attend class.
Candidate Lucas Balog, Sci ’26, promised to put politics aside to prioritize the needs of Engineering students.
“I am a leader, first and foremost—politician second, but leader first. It’s my job to stand up for all of Engineering and say, no, this is what students want,” Balog said.
Advocating for the improvement of academic portfolios are key issues for Balog, and he plans to bring the EngSoc executive team into the conversation.
Specifically, he wants to change university policy to increase course flexibility and allow students more control over their degree.
“I think coming out of the pandemic, we’re in a good spot to re-evaluate what university looks like. I think there needs to be more flexible options so students with different mental health concerns can look into different options.”
Bolag addressed the financial position of the Engineering faculty and the domestic tuition freeze initiated in response to the pandemic.
“As we move into a post pandemic world, [I’ll make] sure that there’s advocacy to keep those domestic students and international [tuition] increases as low as possible.”
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