Four vie for Engineering Society spot

Presidential candidates Sean Abraham, Mackenzie Dixon, Robert Lee and Victoria Pleavin kick off campaigning week

Sean Abraham
Sean Abraham
Mackenzie Dixon
Mackenzie Dixon
Robert Lee
Robert Lee
Victoria Pleavin
Victoria Pleavin

Four students are running for Engineering Society (EngSoc) president in next week’s election.

As someone who’s been involved with all things EngSoc, presidential candidate and Sci ’11, Robert Lee said he’s passionate about his faculty.

“I care a lot about all aspects of EngSoc from conferences to clubs,” he said. “My passion for all aspects and not just the position makes me a good candidate.”

Lee said there are four main points to his platform. He said he wants to make EngSoc more accessible by making the cultural aspects, such as Frosh Week and buying engineering jackets, more affordable through bursaries and other measures.

He said he also wants to connect EngSoc with its constituents through an updated website which can serve as a hub of information.

Lee said he plans to improve communications between students and the EngSoc vice-president (academic) by creating an anonymous online drop box so students can bypass the intimidation factor of airing their concerns.

Finally, Lee said he plans on increasing student-alumni events to capitalize on alumni success and experience.

Lee said his biggest strength as a candidate is the different perspectives he’s able to bring to the table.

“In first year I wasn’t involved so I know what it’s like to be uniformed and have a bad impression of the cliquey student government,” he said, adding that his experience with EngSoc has enabled him to see the Society from all angles.

Presidential candidate Sean Abraham, Sci ’10, said he only got involved at the government level last year.

“I started going to council and I enjoyed it, so I kept going,” he said. “I got elected as AMS Rep and sat on AMS Assembly.... It was a really good experience for me.”

Abraham said his campaign focuses on three platforms: tradition, external reputation and internal relations.

“I feel that student council doesn’t really represent the student body at large,” he said. “My opponents are more on the inside than I am ... I want to reach out to the general student population.”

Abraham said his goals include a more unified and transparent EngSoc. He said he would like to see EngSoc more receptive to new ideas and finding out what each student thinks and wants.

“I listen to people’s ideas and build off their suggestions,” he said. “I want to try and bring people into the decision-making process.”

Victoria Pleavin, Sci’11 said she had originally only planned to run for vice-president (society affairs) before deciding she was more suited to the role of president.

“As I thought of stuff that I wanted to do, my ideas were too big for that position and they encompassed other VP jobs and the pres job,” she said. “I was kind of like, I could either be a really big toe stepper or I could be the big boss and I think being the big boss is a better place to be than, you know, stepping on everyone’s toes everywhere I go.” Pleavin said making EngSoc more recognizable is one of her major campaign ideas.

“I want to brand ourselves better because there’s a lot of things we do that simply people don’t know,” she said.  “I think by putting our name on things we make things more recognizable … by linking everything and making people want to come to your website, people actually see some of the stuff we do.” Pleavin said helping students find jobs is another major platform point.

“I’d really like to get into communication with some of the other universities and put our director of professional development in communication with them to start maybe some sort of bigger job fair with lots of other engineering schools.”

EngSoc presidential candidate Mackenzie Dixon, Sci ’11, said he liked the way this year’s EngSoc was run but sees a few ways he can improve it.

“We’ve grown so fast as a society, that unfortunately threw a few cracks in operations,” he said. “By hiring a bookkeeper and a general manager we’ve made steps to correct these.”

Dixon said looking at the way managers are paid would be an important thing to examine.

As EngSoc senator for two years, Dixon said he has a solid grasp on the internal structure of the society. He said this experience has prepared him to make tough decisions. “All the candidates are strong, experienced people,” he said. “What sets me apart is my ability to make decisions. I’m the kind of person that can make a decision and not look back.”

—With files from Kelly Loeper and Holly Tousignant

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