EngSoc VP candidates face off over improving communication

Debate discusses long-term planning, zombie apocalypse

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Yesterday’s wide-ranging Engineering Society (EngSoc) vice-presidential debate focused on long-term planning and improving the society’s communications and marketing.

The debate was held in the Integrated Learning Centre (ILC) at 6 p.m. on Tuesday. Around 40 students attended the event.

Jerry Haron, Sci ’17, debated Alex Wood, Sci ’16, for the position of vice-president of student affairs, while Erin Murphy and Andrew Crawford faced off for the position of vice-president of operations.

The Vice-President of Student Affairs oversees the EngSoc Directors of Communications, Events, Internal Affairs, Design and IT and oversees out-of-classroom activities.

The Vice-President of Operations runs the finances and operations of EngSoc, including the services and budgeting for Orientation Week and Science Formal. EngSoc services include Clark Hall Pub and the Tea Room.

Jamil Pirani and Emily Townshend also debated for the position of two-year EngSoc senator. Senators sit on the University Senate, which passes motions to establish or change university policy.

During the debate, Haron said he'd add workshops for staff to help them learn to plan events and an all-ages event for directors to “mix and mingle”.

He said his motivation to apply for the position was his experiences with extra-curricular activities, such as FREC committees and engineering discipline clubs.

“I want to help all engineers have the same incredible extra-curricular experience I’ve had in the last two years,” Haron said.

Haron added that the society could look into purchasing a van or car to transport design teams to conferences, as it may be less expensive than renting vehicles.

Wood, Haron’s opponent, said he’d aim to increase the variety of events and activities run by the society to increase attendance.

“I would like to add more events that have to do with arts and the community, and athletics,” Wood said.

Wood focused on expanding the Communications Team and advertising efforts, which he said would also improve attendance at events.

In response to a question on clubs and design teams that have poor turnout, Wood said the society shouldn’t try to keep a club going only for the sake of keeping it alive.

He added that if a team "refuses to retire with dignity", they’re taking up physical space that could be used for a larger team or club.

After the Vice-President of Student Affairs debate, Crawford and Murphy discussed the finances of the faculty society during the Vice-President of Operations debate.

In his opening statement, Crawford said his history of running high-profile events such as the Grease Pole would help him in the position.

In response to a question on improving the financial performance of services, Crawford said long-term sustainability “means sticking to the founding principles of a service”.

“We need to look at marketing, intentional branding of our services,” he said, adding that he wouldn’t keep a service alive if it wasn’t delivering value to students.

In his closing statement, Crawford said he would also look into liability and insurance issues and ensure that services are aware of any concerns.

Murphy, his opponent, said in her opening statement that she aims to increase accessibility to financial information.

“We have money, but we don't know where it is. I want to let students know where it is and where it is going, how it benefits them,” Murphy said.

During the debate, she said marketing is “a way we will keep the services alive” and that services need to look into cheaper substitutes for products to remain competitive.

She also said she would aim to improve strategic planning and communications between the EngSoc services.

There were also lighter moments during the debate. One student asked the candidates what they would do in the case of a zombie apocalypse.

“I'm big — I can help fight off zombies,” Crawford said. He also said he has First Aid skills.

Murphy said she also has First Aid training, and, due to her studies in mining engineering, she could "make an explosive with normal household items”.

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