COMPSA executive debate recap

Candidates look to increase student engagement and awareness

The COMPSA debate took place on Jan. 24.
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On Thursday night, every candidate in the Computing Students’ Association executive election called for increased student participation.

President

Three candidates—Melanie Crasta, Caitlin Ying, and Nana Boateng, all CompSci ’21—are aiming to be COMPSA’s next president.

Crasta’s platform proposes a peer tutoring program and easier access to academic advisement and grievance resources. During the debate, she prioritized putting a greater emphasis on health promotion within CompSci.

“I volunteer with Queen’s Be Well, a health promotion service, and I would love to see if COMPSA could partner up with Queen’s Be Well to see if we can focus on some sort of health-related activities, be it mental health or otherwise,” Crasta said.

Ying, the Association’s equity relations officer, wants to increase communication between students and COMPSA by furthering equity and mental health support. She aims to promote the executive office as a safe, supportive space for the whole computing student body through open office hours.

The final candidate, Boateng, proposed recruiting high-school students to the computing program and creating pre- and post-Orientation Week events to smooth first-year students’ transition into CompSci.

“For the pre-orientation, [I want to] set up a buddy system for pairs of students before Orientation week,” he said. “Creating roles for people for personal interactions, and for people to directly answer [first-years’] questions to help them feel more comfortable.”

Vice-President (Student Affairs)

The vice-president (student affairs) position is the only uncontested position in the COMPSA election.

Taylor Brooks, CompSci ’21, aims to market COMPSA’s services and its representative role within the AMS to increase student engagement.

“The biggest issue is that [Computing is] small, and that means we do not have the biggest sway—we need to push awareness for computing students,” Brooks said during the debate. “If we get the numbers […] we can create bigger events: we will grow as a faculty and be able to push these bigger tasks.”

“We have to take steps to get there, so long as someone is there to start taking those steps, things [will change],” he said.

Vice-President (Operations)

Two candidates—Shreyansh Anand and Danielle Edward, both CompSci ’21— are running for vice-president (operations).

During the debate, Edward expressed a desire to “rebuild COMPSA from the ground up” and gain trust through better communication.

“COMPSA is a student association and right now we don’t have all our student’s trust,” she said. “I want to rebuild our communication with the students and regain their trust so that they can rely on us as a service for them, because that’s what we are.”

Meanwhile, Anand’s priority is creating a mentorship program to pair first-years with upper-years in the same computing specializations. The idea is modelled after the buddy program in the Concurrent Education department.

He also hopes to remove barriers CompSci students face when accessing information about finances and course resources.

“I feel one of the biggest problems within Queen’s and COMPSA is just that there are so many resources out there and so many amazing things, but they’re not all easily accessible by people,” Anand said during the debate.

“Not everyone knows about them,” he added. “There needs to be more connection between there, between the resources which we provide and between students themselves.”

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