Engineering Society Vice-Presidential candidate debate recap

Candidates touched on plans for EngLinks, the Tea Room, equity and leadership

Liam Tharp (left) and Jillian Reid, candidates for EngSoc's Vice President (Operations) at their debate.

On Tuesday night, the candidates in the race to be next year’s Engineering Society (EngSoc) Vice Presidents hashed out their perspectives on general issues and platforms in the EngSoc VP debate.

Jillian Reid, Sci ’18 and Liam Tharp, Sci ’19 are currently vying for the VP Operations (VPOPS) role, and answered questions concerning existing services and the feasibility of converting EngLinks – a tutoring service overseen by the Director of Academics – into a new service. 

Reid explained her platform points, which include making transitions with service staff more efficient by implementing year in review documents and utilizing Office 365. Reid also stressed that the EngSoc Apply and EngSoc websites need to be fast tracked to utilize student talent.

She plans to transition EngLinks into the Director of Service’s portfolio, and laid out what the project would take financially. The size of EngLinks, she said, warrants it to be switched from the Director of Academics – under the EngSoc President’s oversight – to a service under the VPOPS.

Tharp detailed in his answers how EngSoc has become an exclusive “bubble” and he believes that, in not holding an official position on EngSoc prior to running, he would bring a fresh insight.

His platform isn’t too technical, Tharp said, and – if elected – he would get rid of the aforementioned EngSoc bubble and implement service metrics for EngSoc services that would be shared via social media.

Tharp said that if he could fix the Tea Room’s long lineup, it would be a quantifiable goal he accomplished for students. As well, he believes that the Engineering Wellness Center has lost its relevancy and that EngSoc needs a refocus on mental health and wellness.

After the VPOPS debate, the Vice President of Student Affairs (VPSA) debate kicked off with the two candidates, Julianna Jeans, Sci ’18, and Kody Becker, Sci ’19. The pair fielded questions concerning matters like Fall Reading Week, advocacy at AMS assembly and directorial management.

Jeans drew from her prior experiences serving on EngSoc to answer questions. From her experience as Director of Internal Affairs, and dealing with the AMS in interfaculty assemblies, Jeans was able to refer to her experience as proof of what worked and didn’t in student governance.

To execute her proposed platform of increased equity training and accessibility – both physical and social – Jeans stressed that communication between the directors and executive team was necessary.

Before hiring directors, Jeans said that the executive needs to establish the team dynamics and hiring criteria for the directors in order to create a successful team. Jeans cited the current year’s directors as one of the strongest teams she’s ever seen.

Becker was able to incorporate his platform of empowering students, creating opportunity and fostering community throughout every one of his answers.

When it came to questions regarding management of discipline clubs or the conferences available through EngSoc, Becker said that communication was the key to actualize anything.

Like Tharp, Becker said that his lack of formal EngSoc leadership positions was an asset. However, he said that his work with design teams, working with EngSoc communications and his work as a Constitutional Guru will also be valuable for the VPSA position.

The EngSoc election voting period will be from Jan. 30 to 31, with results announced at Clark Hall Pub on the night of Jan. 31.

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