ResSoc executive candidates outline engagement, wellness priorities

Team NOM to focus on the ‘how’ of platform pillars

Team NOM (from left to right): Oliver Flis, Madison Scott, and Natasha Sharma. 
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As executive candidates in this year’s Residence Society (ResSoc) election, members of Team NOM say their diverse leadership experience can bring change in residence halls.

The team consists of Presidential candidate Madison Scott, ArtSci ’20, Vice-President of Residence Affairs candidate Natasha Sharma, Con-Ed ’20, and Vice-President of Judicial Affairs candidate Oliver Flis, Comm ’20. According to the team, their current positions in ResSoc have prepared them to identify and address students’ needs.

“I think that all of us, [working] with ResSoc, bring something unique because we see the discrepancies with [the Society] and where the change really needs to occur,” Scott told The Journal. “We see the issues and we want to help.”

Scott said her experience as the House President of Victoria Hall encouraged strong relationships with Residence Life (ResLife) and students, making engagement a focus of the platform.

If elected, the three candidates plan to increase the Society’s visibility on campus. They hope to accomplish this through collaboration with ResLife, other student-run organizations, and the broader Kingston community.

“At the end of the day, ResSoc’s fee is the largest student fee that you pay and, unfortunately, so many students don’t even know what ResSoc is,” Scott said. “Increasing that awareness from day one through Frosh Week is really important to us.”

NOM’s platform is also oriented towards student health and wellness. The team aims to remove barriers by providing fitness equipment and peer support within residence. Moreover, they hope a potential partnership with the Peer Support Centre will make it easier for students to seek counselling, providing an outlet beyond Dons.

The team also aims to revise aspects of the conduct system. Drawing on Flis’ experience as a Residence Facilitator, they plan to better reward outstanding students through the StAR program, give Residence Facilitators more discretion with educational sanctions, and review community standards to ensure transparency.   

“I saw the potential to make our residence conduct system a lot more positive,” Flis told The Journal. “[Our team wants] to focus on […] the remedial nature of [student conduct], and [to] provide an incentive for cooperation and self-reflection—making it more of a learning experience for students.”

Going green will be similar a focus, according to Sharma, the current house president of Smith House and chair of ResSoc’s Sustainability Committee.

“Because I’m in Environmental Science, I think sustainability is something I’ve always been passionate about,” Sharma said. “I want that to translate [to] my role, as well as our roles as executives.”

Whether it’s increasing compost bins in residence, better labelling garbage containers, or reducing tray usage in cafeterias, Sharma hopes to make sustainability “accessible to students.”

Meanwhile, NOM has promised to listen to students and implement their feedback. Although the team formed quickly, Scott said they “all mesh well together,” and have the ability to deliver on what she believes is a “solid campaign and platform.” 

“I genuinely feel like this platform may be very similar to past years,” Scott said. “But I feel we have the ideas on how we’re going to [achieve] it—that’s what’s been missing from ResSoc for a very long time.” 

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