EngSoc presidential hopefuls debate tradition

Candidates consider incorporation, Orientation Week

The EngSoc presidential debate took place in the atrium of the ILC on Wednesday night.
The EngSoc presidential debate took place in the atrium of the ILC on Wednesday night.
Photo: 
Logan Bell speaking at the Engineering Society's presidential debate.
Logan Bell speaking at the Engineering Society's presidential debate.
Photo: 
Kristy Tu.
Kristy Tu.
Photo: 
Julie Tseng.
Julie Tseng.
Photo: 

Three candidates debated engineering traditions and the possibility of incorporating the society at yesterday’s Engineering Society (EngSoc) presidential debate.

The three candidates for EngSoc president are Logan Bell, Julie Tseng and Kristy Tu, all Sci ’16. The election will take place Jan. 27-28.

The debate was held in the atrium at the Integrated Learning Centre at 6 p.m. Approximately 30 students attended the event.

In her opening statement, Tu said she’d aim to increase the opportunities for getting involved in EngSoc.

During the debate, she said EngSoc should provide more support to “discipline clubs”is clubs for each engineering department — to bring students closer to the society.

"Civil [engineering] as a discipline club showed apathy towards EngSoc as a whole,” Tu said, and added that it only saw EngSoc as a financial support when she was a member.

In response to a question about the most pressing long-term issue for the society, Tu said rising enrolment was her most urgent concern. Increasing numbers of engineering students has made it difficult to fit everyone into Grant Hall for Sci Formal, she said.

She also said incorporation of the society should happen eventually, but it’s not the most pressing issue.

If EngSoc became a corporation, it would take on liabilities that are currently assumed by the society’s executives. The AMS incorporated in 1969.

“Incorporation has been looked at for many years past,” Tu said. She added that while it will become necessary as the services grow, the society should avoid making another major change so soon after the restructuring of the society’s executive team last year.

Bell, meanwhile, said incorporation was the most pressing issue to be dealt with this year, since liability is a “huge issue”.

"This is not an easy undertaking — it will take a while,” he said.

In his opening statement, Bell said he wants to keep the society’s traditions strong and engage with other faculties “like Commerce”.

In response to a question about his thoughts on the probation of the Commerce Society’s (ComSoc) Orientation Week this year, Bell said he didn’t feel that EngSoc’s Orientation Week is under any threat.

“I took a look at why ComSoc Orientation Week is under heat from SOARB, and our Orientation Week is very different,” he said. EngSoc’s Orientation Week has been under more scrutiny, he added, and has more safety measures in place.

Bell also said students traveling to conferences should have their event expenses covered by EngSoc, but not travel expenses, and that he would increase outreach to discipline clubs.

In her opening statement, Tseng said she has been “constantly amazed by the passion of everyone I've met” in engineering, which inspired her to run for president.

She added that the society should incorporate this year to protect volunteers from being liable for the society’s activities.

In response to a question on a divide between students and the society, she said EngSoc needs to be friendly and approachable, and she’d work with Orientation Week leaders to keep the society accessible.

Like Bell, she said the society’s Orientation Week is under scrutiny, but she doesn’t see any major threats.

Tseng also said she supports career development workshops to expose engineering students to careers other than engineering, and expanding EngLinks to help students who are struggling.

EngLinks is an EngSoc service that provides academic resources to students, such as tutoring, workshops and educational materials.

In response to a question on disagreements between colleagues, she said student politics shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

“At the end of the day, it's student politics — we're all doing our best,” she said.

Get to know the EngSoc presidential candidates

Read the Journal's profiles of Logan Bell, Julie Tseng and Kristy Tu here.

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.