Recap: EngSoc VP Debate

Candidates discuss mental health, faculty culture and ping pong balls

From left to right: Evan Dressel, Nicholas Rupar, Tyler Bennett, and Alex Cavaliere at Monday's debate.
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Engineering Society (EngSoc) Vice President candidates discussed topics ranging from engineering traditions to their mental math skills at a debate on Monday night.  

The debate was held in the Integrated Learning Centre (ILC) atrium. Attended by an audience of about 50 people, the crowd dwindled to around 20 as the night wore on and free pizza grew scant.

The candidates for vice president of student affairs, Alexander Cavaliere, Sci ’17, and Evan Dressel, Sci ’18, faced questions from the audience on a range of topics.

The questions included what their most important objective would be if they were elected to what they most admired about their opponent.

In terms of objectives, Cavaliere said he would focus on improving the culture of the EngSoc by communicating with design teams and discipline clubs.

He also stressed the importance of reducing the stigma around issues of mental health, using his personal experience with depression as an example.

Dressel, meanwhile, emphasized the importance of ensuring that all engineering students participate in EngSoc without being discouraged by the hiring process.

He also said he would work to open up equity training that’s currently only available to certain positions in EngSoc to every member of the Society.   

The candidates’ responses to the latter question — what they most admired about each other — led to a warm hug as they passed each other on the way to the podium and elicited an “awwww” from the audience.

The candidates also faced questions on contentious issues, such as whether a secular student society should continue to support the annual tradition of the Carol Service. 

They were also asked how to physically make space for design teams, and how they would ensure that first years stay involved in the Society.

Both candidates talked about the importance of environmental sustainability and increasing the opportunities for engineering students to get involved in EngSoc.

Dressel said Clark Hall could be turned into a Haunted House, while Cavaliere discussed a potential “How to Get your Group Ratified” package to simplify a complex process.

Vice President (Operations) candidates Tyler Bennett, Sci ’17, and Nicholas Rupar, Sci ’18, were also asked what their most important goal would be once elected.

Bennett said his main objective really “goes back to teamwork” and that the Vice President (Operations) position is part of a support system for managers and directors.

Rupar also talked about building a dynamic team and operating as a support for others.

“Ultimately it comes down to really getting things done,” he said.

Bennet and Rupar both said they would increase managers’ accessibility to account information and continue the Capital Fund — a fund that receives the surpluses or pays for the deficits of the service’s operating budgets — despite a comment from an audience member that the fund lessens incentive for services to balance their budgets.

Both candidates also said they would maintain the momentum of the Better Education Donation (BED) Fund, which raises around $65,000 for new equipment each year.

One audience member nearly succeeded in stumping both candidates by asking Bennett how many ping pong balls could fit in a squash court, and then asking Rupar the square root of 21. Neither the candidates, nor the audience members, were confident about the correct answers. 

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