Six candidates vie for EngSoc executive

Carolyn Fisher, Robert Thomson, Peter Davidson, Janeil Johnston, Eric McElroy, Alexander Savides run in election

Carolyn Fisher, Sci ‘16, is running for EngSoc president.
Carolyn Fisher, Sci ‘15, is running for EngSoc president.
Photo: 
Robert Thomson, Sc’ 15, is also running for EngSoc president.
Robert Thomson, Sc’ 15, is also running for EngSoc president.

If elected, the two candidates for Engineering Society (EngSoc) president will have to oversee the society’s transition into a new institutional structure.

Presidential candidate Carolyn Fisher, Sci ’15, wants to improve relations between the engineering faculty and the broader Kingston community. A Kingstonian herself, she said she’s wary of the reputation that Queen’s students have in Kingston and hopes to improve it by outreach programs using EngSoc’s External Relations Committee. Fisher said she also thinks that EngSoc’s recent restructuring calls for fresh leadership.

“The thing that really sets me apart is that I haven’t had many of the huge powerful positions in EngSoc and so I’m bringing a much more fresh and unbiased approach with our new structure,” she said.

Fisher also touts her approachable and easygoing demeanour as a benefit, as she is wary of EngSoc’s somewhat distant reputation among students.

“As I’ve said, I haven’t had these positions so it’s a lot easier for just general students to be like ‘hey Caroline, I heard this,’” she said.

Robert Thomson, Sci ’15, said he’s passionate about improving the experiences of his peers. After being turned down for several roles within EngSoc last year, Thomson said that he’s gained valuable experience at the AMS where he saw EngSoc from an external perspective.

“I got a different view than most students got when I started to be external. I saw a lot of the issues that people in my faculty had with the society,” he said. “That’s kind of my drive behind this campaign.”

One of Thomson’s central focuses for EngSoc president is professional development. He wants to establish more engineer-specific online resources — like those he said exist at other universities — for engineers at Queen’s thinking about their future careers, and work with the alumni association to connect students with alumni mentors.

In general, Thomson said he’s concerned about a diminishing student experience. Growing class sizes and the slow erosion of engineering traditions are two things he points to in this regard. He said he’s capable of protecting student traditions and pointed to his time as Chief FREC where he was able to oversee the reintroduction of some move-in day traditions.

Thomson said he wants to explore new options for the society. In that vein, he claimed the upper hand on his competition.

“[Fisher] has very good ideas about how we can better things that already exist, I’m in a position where I can see where things can be created,” he said.

***

The candidates for Engineering Society (EngSoc) vice-president of operations both want to increase consultation with society members about how their student fees are spent.

Peter Davidson, Sci ’16, has been the faculty board representative for Sci ’16 for two years, but it was his experience as the financial chair of the Engineering Orientation Committee that made him realize his love for the operations side of student services. The three “pillars” of Davidson’s platform are accountability, sustainability and approachability.

“The overarching theme that is found in all these pillars is stability. This past year there has been a lot of change in the society,” he said.

Davidson said he hopes to return stability to a society that is undergoing extensive restructuring. Executive positions have different responsibilities than in the past. To make EngSoc more accountable, Davidson wants to consult students about the society’s finances. He also wants to institute a mandatory 48 hour turnaround for emails sent to directors.

As for sustainability, Davidson wants to ensure the EngSoc’s “self-sufficiency” going forward. Davidson said he has had a lot of experience with EngSoc that is suited to the role.

Janeil Johnston, Sci ’15, wants more student input into the budgeting process.

“I think that at the end of the day we should all know where our money goes because if we don’t like where our money is going, we should have the opportunity to oppose that and make our views known,” she said.

Johnston said her main initiative if elected would be to create opportunities for dialogue between students and the society.

“The biggest thing that I want to do is an open forum discussion at the beginning of the year between [EngSoc] and students,” she said. Johnston cites her personal experience working in an EngSoc service as an asset.

“I can actually say that it has made me grow exponentially as a person,” she said. “That experience alone has sort of opened my eyes and now I want to do that for other people.”

***

If elected, the two candidates for Engineering Society (EngSoc) vice-president of Student Affairs (VPSA) will oversee the work of five directors: the Director of Communications, the Director of Events, the Director of Internal Affairs, the Director of Design and the Director of IT.

Both candidates believe that engineering design teams need more attention. Eric McElroy, Sci ’16, said he’s running for VPSA because he wants to be directly involved in decision making so he can enact positive change. McElroy pointed to his experience in EngSoc and student politics, as webmaster for the Sci ’16 executive and an AMS representative, and his love for the campus community as the basis for his bid for this position.

“I feel that the role of VPSA is somewhere where I could really apply the stuff I have learned,” he said. While McElroy said that EngSoc is making an attempt to reach out to its members, he said that he would make it a priority, if elected, to improve on these efforts.

Specifically, he points to the society’s website and “general communication” as areas he intends to work on. The design teams’ projects that allow Queen’s engineers to “apply their budding academic and practical knowledge” portfolio would be another priority for McElroy, he said.

He said he wants to see the new director for design teams — a position added during this year’s society restructure — and the society as a whole dedicated to communicating effectively with design teams: an area that he said needs improvement. McElroy said his professional versatility, enthusiasm and varied work experience — both within EngSoc and outside of it — are his greatest assets.

Alexander Savides, Sci ’15, also hopes to become next year’s VPSA. He said that he has seen the Engineering Society make “huge strides” during his time at Queen’s in the areas of inclusivity and communication, but that the coming year is critical for the society’s future.

“We have this opportunity with this restructure, it’s not business as usual, we have this thing and we have to define what it means for years and years and years to come,” he said.

Savides said he would also prioritize design teams if he were to become VPSA. He said that the student initiatives are the face of the society in Canada as a whole and that they should be offered as many services and resources as possible.

Savides said that he would introduce marketing seminars that would help smaller clubs “get more established” and focus the passion of students who wanted to start new clubs. In addition, Savides said he hopes to spend his summer searching for solutions to the “growing space problem” facing clubs as they are squeezed for space on an increasingly crowded campus.

In general, Savides said that his work experiences with the society and his own experience of struggling trying to found a design team qualify him for the position.

“I think that I have the skills and knowledge to go forth and make everyone else’s years much better,” he said.

This story has been updated to reflect the following correction: Carolyn Fisher is Sci ‘15, not ‘16.

Tags: 

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to journal_editors@ams.queensu.ca.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.