Uncontested EngSoc vice-presidential candidates are student-focused

Alex Koch-Fitsialos and Ben Zarichny sit down with The Journal

EngSoc Vice-Presidential (Student Affairs) candidate Alex Koch-Fitsialos.
EngSoc Vice-Presidential (Operations) candidate Ben Zarichny. 

The uncontested candidates vying for each of the two vice-presidential roles in the Engineering Society sat down with The Journal to lay out their visions for the Society.

Vice-President (Student Affairs): Alex Koch-Fitsialos

Alex Koch-Fitsialos, Sci ’21, wants to bridge the gap between the Engineering Society and engineering students at large.

As the sole candidate for Engineering Society Vice-President (Student Affairs), Koch-Fitsialos hopes to change the culture within the program and redefine the Society’s public image both for students within the Faculty of Engineering and with the Queen’s community at large.

“There is a student perspective and it’s not the same as within [the Engineering Society],” Koch-Fitsialos said. “Those two [groups] are sometimes not seen as one.”

Koch-Fitsialos first became involved with the Engineering Society as a FREC and took on her first leadership position in the Society this year as marketing coordinator underneath the Professional Development directorship.

She believes her experiences both inside and outside of the Engineering Society have helped her gain a nuanced understanding of the different student perspectives within the program.

Koch-Fitsialos’ platform focuses on utilizing marketing and outreach to increase awareness of the Engineering Society’s role within the faculty, and of the opportunities students have to get involved.

She also wants to advocate for top-down change by modifying hiring and training for leadership positions, putting a greater emphasis on inclusivity, mental health, and healthy time management.

By changing the culture within the Engineering Society, she said she hopes to emphasize a side to the program that focuses less on exclusivity. This involves not only opening up the Engineering Society offices as an approachable resource for students, but also increasing interfaculty collaboration and emphasizing that small acts of kindness and community can have a large impact on student experience.

She said she believes these changes will help address issues of student involvement and estrangement from the Engineering Society.

“If you're in engineering, you’re also in the Engineering Society,” Koch-Fitsialos said. “That's something people forget.”

Vice-President (Operations): Ben Zarichny

As the only candidate running in this year’s Engineering Society elections with upper-level management experience in the Society, Ben Zarichny (Sci ‘21) hopes to encourage communication and collaboration as vice-president (Operations).

Currently the director of internal affairs for the Society, Zarichny has spent the past year overseeing matters of governance for the Engineering Society. With experience working closely with the current executive, he said he’ll bring valuable management experience and Society knowledge to the next executive.

His platform focuses on collaborating with, and learning from, the head managers of establishments like Clark Hall Pub, the Tea Room and EngLinks to inform his approach to overseeing the services.

“So as a consumer, it's hard to see the effort head managers and assistant managers put into the services,” Zarichny said. “I think the most important thing for next year is that they feel their feedback is valued and they feel appreciated.”

He emphasized the role these services play in attracting incoming students to Queen’s Engineering, and the central position they occupy in engineering student life. If elected, Zarichny hopes to collaborate with these services to keep improving operations and develop new traditions to engage the engineering student community.

Zarichny also feels that maintaining the new financial structure developed by the current vice-president (Operations) is crucial to increasing transparency in the Society’s budgeting.

“It's important that students know how we're using their money to enhance student life.”


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