EngSoc candidates compete for vice-presidential position

Jinho Lee and Melissa Young sit down with The Journal

EngSoc Vice-President (Operations) candidates pictured left to right: Melissa Young, Jinho Lee.

EngSoc’s only contested election this year will see Jinho Lee, Sci ’21, and Melissa Young, Sci ’20, campaign for the vice-president (operations).

The Journal sat down with both candidates to discuss their qualifications, reasons for running, and plans for the position.

Melissa Young

Melissa Young is running on improving office efficiency, club accountability, and transparency between students and the Society.

Young, Sci ’20, also plans on a digital component: moving all internal paperwork online to help run the office more efficiently. Additionally, she plans on re-designing the website for easier financial inquiry. That includes publishing a general budget outline so students can see where their society fees go.

In terms of financial improvement, she wants to “hold more clubs accountable for overspending.”

When asked about possible budget cuts from Ontario allowing students to opt out of non-essential fees, Young was unsure what her role would be.

If financial decisions were her responsibility, she said, “It will come down to cuts; essential services like mental health support will stay, and some clubs and conferences will face the chopping block.”

Young has been indirectly involved in EngSoc for the past three years.  As the co-head executive on the Aero design team as well as EngiQueers, her peers’ work and involvement inspired her to run.

“I love engineering. I have felt super welcome here since frosh week. Doing something more direct for EngSoc was the next step,” she said.

Jinho Lee

Jinho Lee, Sci ’21, aspired to the vice-president (operations) position after seeing the potential for change while working in EngSoc.

“From being an assistant manager [for tutoring program EngLinks], I got to see a lot of the behind-the-scenes of operations in EngSoc, and I believe that there were a lot of things that could be better and improved upon,” Lee told The Journal.

Lee’s platform is based on one central theme: improve students’ and the Society’s financial literacy. Lee plans to achieve this goal by increasing student engagement with the finance team, holding workshops, and starting financial training programs for all positions in EngSoc.

“By giving the proper financial literacy training and improving everyone’s understanding of finance and business in Engineering, that’ll improve our financial transparency,” Lee said.

With these systems in place, Lee believes the operations team will be able to maximize the use of its $1.9-million budget and create opportunities to expand engineering programming.

“When we talk about money and finance, people tend to get scared and think it’s something that they can’t approach,” Lee said on his unorthodox campaign strategy. “Even though we’re talking about money […] I wanted to be that person with whom people can relate and I thought the best strategy to do that is to […] make my campaign more accessible.”

While Lee feels confident managing EngSoc’s finances, backed by his experiences working at an accounting firm and as a service manager, he also wants to be an effective manager.

“The vice president role is 20 per cent finance, 80 per cent people management,” Lee said. “In order to manage people well, you need to have the proper [knowledge] […] and because I [know] finance and business really well, it won’t be a problem for me to develop business management skills.”

If elected, Lee believes he’d work very well with the president and vice-president (student affairs) candidates, noting they all advocate for more support with voluntary positions.

However, above all, Lee believes his prime qualifier for the role is his willingness to learn.

“I’m not perfect, and I know I still have a lot to work on,” Lee said. “I’m willing to learn […] and I think that’s what makes me the [most] qualified candidate, because I’m passionate about [it].”

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